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HEOP Celebrates 50 Years of Helping Students; Receives $9.5 Million in Funding
Kessia Garnett ’19 graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the College of Arts and Sciences. She was a dean’s list student and a HEOP Scholar of Distinction. Garnett says the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) gave her the support she needed to be successful in college.
“Had it not been for HEOP, I probably would not have been able to attend Syracuse University, study abroad in Madrid or graduate in four years, debt free,” she says. “I am forever thankful for the opportunity.”
Charley DeJesus Dominquez Zapata ’19 earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from the Martin J. Whitman School of Management. He says the HEOP program was the foundation and cornerstone of his development as a man and his future career path.
“HEOP provided me with the opportunity to have access to more opportunities and experiences,” says Zapata. “It provided me with the resources and support to overcome any obstacles in life and in academia.”
As a public school student in Massachusetts, Chevon Janczuk thought she had her life all figured out. “It turned out my teenage self was wrong,” she says. Janczuk dropped out of high school her sophomore year, but immediately recognized her mistake. She obtained her GED and, after earning certification as a nursing assistant, went to work in the health care field.
When she discovered she couldn’t make ends meet on the salary she was earning, she called University College, the home of part-time studies at Syracuse University. An advisor told her about HEOP. Today, Janczuk is a sophomore in the Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics with a double major in social work and psychology. She has a 3.9 GPA.
These are just a few students who seized a life-changing opportunity through the Higher Education Opportunity Program. The program was established by the New York State Legislature in 1969 to provide access to independent colleges and universities for economically and educationally disadvantaged students from New York state. Later, it was renamed to honor Assemblyman Arthur O. Eve. His efforts ensure that each year thousands of students have a chance to pursue higher education as a way to a better life.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the state-funded program that provides a broad range of services to New York state residents who would otherwise be unable to attend a postsecondary educational institution.
University College has the only HEOP program for part-time students in New York state. “Our students inspire us every day,” says Michael Frasciello, dean of University College. “It is their desire and commitment to transform their lives with a Syracuse University education that motivates us to do the work that we do. Our part-time HEOP students continually demonstrate that when given an opportunity, anyone with grit, courage and tenacity can change the trajectory of their lives through education. It’s our honor to serve them.”
The HEOP program for full-time SU students has the same philosophy and commitment to student success—to provide them with tailored personal and academic support that will help them build lifelong habits and skills.
“The HEOP program certainly lives up to its mission as a higher education opportunity program,” says Joanna Masingila, dean of the School of Education. “Many students who have graduated from Syracuse University have found academic and social support in the HEOP program. I am very proud of the work that Craig Tucker, director of support services, and his team do every day in supporting student learning and success for students across schools and colleges.”
New York state recently awarded Syracuse University $9.5 million to support both the full-time and part-time HEOP programs for another five years (2019-2024). The funding will make it possible to continue to offer academic support services, tuition assistance, supplemental financial assistance and full-need packaging to enable them to successfully complete the components required for graduation.
“The awarding of the HEOP grant to Syracuse University for the next five years is monumental,” says Tucker. “It reflects a 50-year collaboration between Syracuse University and New York state that allows well-deserving students an exceptional opportunity to study and earn a degree from a top-notch private research institution of higher education.”
Tucker says the grant is a great tribute to Syracuse University’s longstanding legacy of being innovative leaders in higher education.
“Syracuse University’s commitment to providing not only access but also support to those academically and/or financially ineligible is yet another fine example of our commitment to excellence, diversity and inclusion,” he says.