Senate Honors Education Opportunity Programs

February 09, 2010

Programs Break Cycle of Poverty, Return State’s Investment 10 to 1

Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Queens), Chairwoman of the New York State Senate Committee on Higher Education, today passed a Senate  Resolution honoring the New York Higher Education Opportunity Programs whose achievements and endeavors have enhanced excellence and education in New York state.  These programs are available through the Higher Education Services Corporation, the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities, the State University of New York, and the City University of New York.

The Senator said, “The Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), the Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (C-STEP), and the Liberty Partnerships Program have had an immeasurable effect on the number of minority and low-income students who are prepared for and complete their college degrees.  They have been instrumental in making quality higher education available to all New Yorkers regardless of financial status.”

Millions of New Yorkers have benefitted from higher education opportunity programs that help them attend college in New York State.  This year, the Tuition Assistance Program celebrates its  thirty fifth anniversary.  “We celebrate the transformative power of this exemplary program that offers to students of limited means, the limitless opportunities that a college education provides,” Stavisky noted.  Over 4 million New Yorkers have benefitted from TAP since its inception.

The HEOP program helps students who do not meet the traditional criteria when they are admitted to college but typically earn their degrees at rates that equal or exceed other students.  The Senator pointed out that three in four HEOP students are Black or Hispanic and eighty percent of HEOP freshman come from families earning less than $21,150 annually.

“At this time when fewer students are entering math and science programs, C-STEP focuses on increasing the enrollment and retention of under-represented and economically disadvantaged students in programs leading to scientific, technical and health-related careers.  Twenty percent of C-STEP students enroll in graduate or professional programs,”  Senator Stavisky pointed out.

Realizing that if “at risk” students do not succeed in high school, they will never be able to attend college, the Liberty Partnerships Program was created to decrease New York’s high school drop-out rate. Participating colleges partner with area high schools to provide these students  with tutoring, mentoring, college awareness, academic counseling, and home visits. Senator Stavisky said, “The success of the Liberty Partnerships Program is evidenced by the fact that each year, fifteen hundred Liberty high school graduates go on to college.”

As is the tradition when honorees are present, the members of the Senate were asked to rise and applaud the students who were the beneficiaries of these higher education opportunity programs.  The students were visiting the Senate Chamber when the resolution was passed.  “They have come to Albany today to make sure we know how well these programs have worked and how vital they are to the continued success of empowering New York through higher education,” Senator Stavisky concluded.