September 17, 2021

SUNY Empire State College to Launch Empire Promise Program

Program provides enhanced academic supports to students who show academic promise

Left to right: Nathan Gonyea, officer in charge at SUNY Empire; Dana Brown, sr. director of opportunity programs at SUNY Empire; Lydia Smith '21 (joining via Zoom), former opportunity program student and current MBA student at SUNY Empire
(SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY — September 17, 2021) SUNY Empire State College announced today it will launch the Empire Promise Program, an academic-support system designed to provide enhanced academic supports to students who show promise, but who may have experienced barriers to education in the past.
SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras, who was instrumental in bringing opportunity programs to SUNY Empire when he served as the college's president, attended and spoke at the event.
The Empire Promise Program will join the Empire State Opportunity Program (ESOP) and the SUNY Educational Opportunity Program as the third opportunity program the college has unveiled within the past year.
SUNY Empire’s Empire Promise Program is open to qualified first-time freshmen and transfer students and includes dedicated mentoring, monthly academic programming, increased academic supports, basic-needs assistance and referrals, and an opportunity to participate in the college’s laptop loaner program.
The college aims to enroll 50 eligible students in the program’s first cohort, to begin January 2022. Students do not need to be New York state residents to qualify for the Empire Promise Program.
Data from the college’s Empire State Opportunity Program (ESOP) shows increased academic support results in better retention and course-completion rates. ESOP students had an 83.7 percent one-term retention rate compared to the 67.8 percent retention rate of a matched peer group. In addition, course-completion rates averaged 88.1 percent for ESOP students versus a 78.3 percent course-completion rate for the peer group. The college expects similar results from the Empire Promise Program.
SUNY Empire State College Officer in Charge Nathan Gonyea said, “The Empire Promise Program helps ensure that the college stays true to its mission to provide access to quality academic programs that empower students. It also reaffirms our commitment to developing learning approaches that recognize and adapt to the diverse needs of our learners. We look forward to welcoming and working with our first Empire Promise Program students in 2022.”
SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said, “Higher education needs to constantly change, adapt and grow in order to meet the needs of students—and such innovations are consistently pioneered at SUNY Empire State College. The new Empire Promise Program will build on our important opportunity programs to allow more students to achieve their educational goals. A key component of our new SUNY For All program is that there is a place for everyone to achieve their college dreams — everyone from high-school graduates to working parents or someone in retirement looking for a second act in life. Wherever there is a need, we want to fill it. Thank you to Dr. Gonyea, Dana Brown, and Seana Logsdon and New York State’s legislative investment in opportunity programs like Empire Promise for working hard toward a more inclusive SUNY.”
SUNY Empire State College Sr. Director of Enrichment and Opportunity Programs Dana Brown said, “We want to engage students and help them achieve their goal of degree completion. I am looking forward to expanding our opportunity program family and welcoming this new cohort.” 
SUNY Empire State College Acting Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Tai Arnold, said, “With a strong access mission, SUNY Empire is a leader in innovative programming designed to meet students’ needs. The Empire Promise Program will expand access and success for students with dedicated high-touch care and a coordinated support system. We are excited to welcome more students and to positively impact their lives and the lives of those around them.”
SUNY Empire State College Acting Vice Provost for Student Success Seana Logsdon, said, “The Empire Promise Program expands our ability to integrate those services and supports most needed for success in a model that recognizes the complexity of our students’ lives. We look forward to offering what students need, when they need it.”