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Higher Education Opportunity Program

The Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP)

About HEOP at Utica College.

HEOP at Utica College

For some students, a college education seems out of reach because of unrealized academic potential and economic challenges. The Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) seeks to provide students with the tools they need to earn their degree.

Being an HEOP student has a number of benefits including:

  • Up to 5 years of financial assistance for college tuition and housing costs;

  • A cap on the amount of loans a student accrues;

  • An HEOP counselor who helps students decide on classes and other important decisions they will face as a college student;

  • A 5-week, all-expenses paid, Summer Institute before the start of the first year of college (to build the skills students need to succeed);

  • And being part of the HEOP student community on campus and throughout New York State!


Utica College has long believed that an education should be available to students who are willing to work hard. The College also believes that students learn by interacting with different cultures. Because of this, Utica College is proud to hold the distinction of being one of the first colleges in the state to offer HEOP. We have over 50 years of experience!

HEOP is funded by a grant from the New York State Education Department.

Program Details:

Established in 1969 by New York State, HEOP is open to New York State residents regardless of age, color, religion, creed, disability, marital status, veteran status, national origin, race, gender, genetic predisposition or carrier status, or sexual orientation. To be eligible for HEOP, prospective students must meet academic and financial eligibility requirements established by the New York State Education Department, and demonstrate potential for academic success.

HEOP is jointly funded by the New York State Education Department and Utica College.

Eligibility Requirements

Guidelines for students entering HEOP on or after July 1, 2021

Household Income

Number of Members in Household (incl. head of household)Total Annual income based on 2019 Tax Year
1$23,606
2$31,894
3$40,182
4$48,470
5$56,758
6$65,046
7$73,334
8$81,622

For family units with more than eight members, add the following amount for each additional family member: $8,288

Academic Guidelines

Below are general academic guidelines for HEOP admission:

CriteriaGradeGrade for students denied entry to PT/OT/Nursing programs
High School AverageBelow 80 or 2.7Below 82 or 3.0
SAT Mathematics400Below 460
SAT Critical Reading420Below 470
SAT Composite Score820Below 930
ACT Composite Score15Below 17

All applicants must adhere to the following procedures before a final decision can be made:

  • Complete the Utica College Application for Admission, which can be obtained from Utica College’s Office of Admissions or on the web at http://www.utica.edu/apply
  • Mark HEOP on the admissions application where appropriate
  • Submit an official HS transcript or a copy of GED scores
  • Submit SAT or ACT test scores
  • Submit two letters of recommendation
  • Complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and list Utica College

    All above information must be forwarded to:

    Utica College Office of Admissions
    1600 Burrstone Road
    Utica, NY 13502

If selected to complete financial verification, students will be contacted by the Opportunity Programs Office. Additional documentation may be required. Please do not submit documentation unless first contacted by our office. A list of the specific documentation required for the process can be found under Eligibility Requirements section of this web page.

Transfer Students

Transfers from an equivalent program, as approved by the New York State Education Department, are welcome to apply. Students receive financial support and related services such as academic and personal counseling, and tutoring up to a maximum of 10 semesters (five years).

Transfer students must submit an official college transcript(s) and a transfer application which verifies EOP, HEOP, SEEK or College Discovery participation at a previous institution and a 3-part Transfer form from your previous institution.

For some students, the transition from high school to college life can be a difficult one. There's a different way of thinking, working, and studying. Add to that living away from home and interacting with students from a variety of backgrounds, and the experience can be overwhelming.

Utica College's Opportunity Programs offers a variety of services to ease that transition. One such effort is the Summer Institute, a five-week program that acquaints incoming students with the campus and campus life. All Higher Education Opportunity Program students are required to attend Summer Institute.

During Summer Institute:

  • All students must take the following courses: English 100, Reading 100, Biology 90, either Math 100 or Math 124, and workshops which are designed to help students adjust to college life both academically and socially.
  • Students participate in a number of off-campus activities. Some of these may include: High Ropes Course, Community Service Day, Bowling, Paintball and Enchanted Forest Water Safari.
  • Students learn from professional staff (director, academic support advisors, and professors).
  • Additionally, three peer tutor mentors live, attend classes with, and tutor all Summer Institute participants.

Summer Institute Student Handbook

Note: You will need a valid UC student login to view the file. If you do not already have one, go to http://password.utica.edu to activate your account or contact Opportunity Programs for more information.


The Opportunity Program staff works very closely with a variety of offices on campus to provide needed services to HEOP students. The offices include:

  • Center Student Success
  • Wellness Center/Counseling Services
  • Career and Professional Development
  • Food Services
  • Registrar
  • Student Living and College Engagement
Q: How do I apply for the Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP)?

A: You may apply for HEOP by indicating your desire to do so on the Utica College admissions application. (There is no separate application for HEOP.) 

  • If you're filling out the online application, you will see a question about HEOP under the heading "Academic Interests" - click "Yes".
  • If you're using the mail-in PDF application, check the option box for HEOP.
  • If you apply through Common Application, you must call UC's Office of Admissions at 1-800-782-8884 and request that your application be reviewed for HEOP.
Q: Is HEOP only for minority students?

A: No. HEOP is not a "minority access program;" rather, it was established in 1969 by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) to provide access and assistance to New York State students that meet both the academic and economic eligibility standards.

Q: What determines if I’m HEOP eligible?

A: For HEOP, a student must qualify both academically and financially. For HEOP eligibility guidelines at Utica College, please see the eligibility section of this page, above.

Q: How is it that my sibling qualified for HEOP support but I don't, even though our household size and income have remained constant?

A: Remember, HEOP students must qualify both financially and academically. Just because you and your sibling applied to the schools does not mean that you both will qualify. The academic guidelines for HEOP admission from college to college vary greatly and are all based on HEOP candidates being inadmissible under regular admission academic guidelines as well as being financially eligible.

Q: When will a decision be made about my application?

A: After all necessary materials have been submitted (application, SAT/ACT scores, recommendations, financial documentation and an interview, if needed - only select students will be invited to complete an interview), you will receive your final decision.

Q: Now that I’ve been accepted HEOP, will I (or my family) have to provide any money in order to attend your College?

A: Yes. There is a personal contribution expected of each HEOP student. The amount is determined by the Financial Aid Office when evaluating several factors, including the household's previous year's gross income, the number of students attending college, and other factors. If there is a contribution, it may typically come in the form of a federal student loan that is not expected to be paid back until a few months after the students graduate from college. Additionally, there may be a small out-of-pocket expense that would be based on household income. Nevertheless, we encourage you to contact the Financial Aid Office with questions and/or concerns.

Q: What does a typical HEOP freshman financial aid award package look like?

A: Eligible HEOP students whose financial aid forms have been properly filed and approved generally receive monies from the following sources:

  • TAP Grant
  • Federal PELL Grant
  • HEOP Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
  • Federal Direct (or other specified student) Loan
  • Federal Work Study
  • HEOP Book Funds
Q: Will I need to be interviewed for acceptance to HEOP?

A: Yes. Students are required to interview with the HEOP Staff in order to be admitted into the program. Only selected candidates will be invited to attend an interview with members of HEOP as one of the requirements of the selection process. Students who fail to attend an interview will not receive an admissions decision from the Program.

Q: If I change my major causing me to have to stay in college for more than four years, will HEOP pay for my courses?

A: Yes. HEOP funds students up to five years. Therefore, if students change their major, re-take courses they performed poorly in, etc. and need an extra semester or year to graduate, HEOP can provide that support. Students are eligible for ten semesters of HEOP aid; anything past five years, students will have to finance on their own.

Note: HEOP funds students for up to five years. If a student completes his/her undergraduate degree in less than five years, he/she is no longer eligible for HEOP.

Q: I would like to graduate early; will HEOP pay for summer school?

A: At Utica College, financial aid awards are based on the fall and spring semesters only. Therefore, students are responsible for covering the cost of summer school even if they need to catch-up on course work in order to graduate within five years to receive HEOP funding.

Q: Why didn't I get into HEOP when I transferred from my other college and was accepted into Utica College?

A: HEOP only has funding for a limited number of students. You must check with the HEOP Office prior to entry to find out if transfer students are being accepted for the semester you plan to enter the College.

Q: When I first started college, I was not aware of HEOP but I know I would have qualified. Can I apply now?

A: No. HEOP is designed for first-time college students who have not matriculated into college after graduating from high school. If you have already matriculated into a college/university and have earned college credits, you are not eligible to receive HEOP support services. However, if you have not matriculated into college and only earned a limited amount of college credit, you may still be eligible for HEOP. Contact the Opportunity Programs to discuss your particular situation.

Q: Do I HAVE to attend Summer Institute?

A: All students are required to attend the entire 5 Week Summer Institute. Summer Institute provides a unique experience to assist students in learning and preparing for college demands.

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