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The Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) is one of the comprehensive academic support services offered by St. Thomas Aquinas College.
This academic support program has an outstanding success and graduation rate for students from low-income families who do not meet the College’s traditional admissions standards at time of first entry into the College.
The College has typically determined academic eligibility for this program using the students high school transcript and standardized test scores. Students who fall below the College’s regular admissions standards and are deemed to be at an academic disadvantage are initially considered for the program. The second, and most important step, is for the student to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The HEOP administrators and the Student Financial Services Office then determine if the student meets the NYS HEOP Program’s definition of economically disadvantaged – typically families must be at or below the NYS Poverty Guideline. Students may have an academic disadvantage but if they are not also deemed economically disadvantaged, the College can not consider the student for this highly selective program.
More than 75 students apply to the program at STAC every year and the College can only accept 20 students. Since the college has recently become a Test Optional School, the SAT or ACT may or may not be used as part of the determination for academic eligibility for the STAC HEOP Program. The HEOP staff reviews those that have met the Economically Disadvantaged definition to determine if their high school transcripts show that they are at an academic disadvantage. The STAC HEOP Program will only further evaluate students for this program who have a high school GPA below a 2.9. The staff will recalulate student GPAs as they have in the past and make a determination based on strength of courses; GPA in core courses; and preparedness for their intended major.
95% of the HEOP students at St. Thomas Aquinas College self identify as African American and/or Latino(a), nearly 100% are first-generation college students, 100% are from poverty-level families as defined by the NYS Office of Budget and Control and, most importantly, 90% have college grade point indices over 2.0.
The Higher Education Opportunity Program at St. Thomas Aquinas College is supported by the College and a competitive grant from the New York State Education Department.
To be eligible for HEOP you must meet all of the following conditions. You must:
- Have been a resident of New York State for one year preceding your term of entry into HEOP.
- Possess a high school diploma or a State-approved equivalency diploma (and determined to be at an academic disadvantage based on high school academic records). This must be earned in the same year that you are applying for the HEOP Program at STAC. Students can not take a semester off between high school graduation and college entrance.
- Must attend and successfully complete the HEOP Summer Program.
- Have the potential and motivation for successful completion of college.
- Be economically disadvantaged. (See the section titled “Economic Eligibility Criteria for Opportunity Programs).
- For specific economic/income guidelines please see the New York website.
Fall 2023 HEOP Application Process
Students must complete a College Application and must meet the non-traditional admissions standard in order to be considered for the College’s HEOP Program. For an application fee waiver, please contact the Admissions Office at 845-398-4100.
For Fall 2023, freshman (and transfer) applicants must provide the following financial information.
- 2023-24 Completed FAFSA Form. (This is the Free Application For Federal Student Aid Form).
- 2021 Federal and 2021 NYS Tax Returns for the person who claims you as a dependent. All tax returns must have signatures.
- 2021 W-2 income forms for the person or persons who are providing the tax returns.
- 2021 Other earned income statements (like Social Security statements or any other earned income).
- 2021 Federal and 2021 NYS Tax Return for the student, if the student worked in 2021 and filed a tax return. Must be signed.
For additional information, call 845-398-4028 or email email@example.com.
Space is limited, early application is encouraged.
During the summer and academic year, supportive services take many forms:
Courses: If you need additional academic assistance to prepare you for college-level work, HEOP can meet your academic needs. Before you begin your classes, the HEOP professional staff will evaluate your academic strengths and weaknesses, and design a specific academic program to help improve your academic deficiencies. You will have be enrolled in a Summer Program that provides you with the opportunity to earn up to 7 credits and enter the fall semester with a strong college GPA. .
Tutorial Services: HEOP provides you with tutorial services to assist you with your academic courses. Tutorial services are conducted on a one-to-one basis or in groups, depending upon your needs. Some tutors are even junior or senior HEOP students who have excelled at STAC.
Counseling Services: Counseling services are provided by the HEOP staff on an individual or group basis to assist you obstacles that may interfere with your academic work. You will receive the following types of counseling:
Academic: The HEOP counselor will assist you in selecting your academic major and courses. You can take a reduced course load during your first semester. You are also given an extra year of eligibility to graduate.
Personal: Adjustment to college life often presents many new problems for HEOP students. Counseling helps you develop your self-confidence, identity, and a positive attitude about learning.
Career: Students are often undecided about what to do after graduation. The HEOP staff will assist you in making career choices. Career counseling will help you in selecting the necessary courses to prepare you for employment or postgraduate study.
Entering students are required to take part in a prefreshman summer program. The summer program is designed to orient the student to college life, build academic skills, and acquaint the student with the services available through HEOP. For the entering class of 2023 the mandatory Summer Program begins Sunday, July 9th and continues through Thursday, August 3rd. Students spend Sunday through Thursday at STAC living in the residence halls. The entire cost of the summer program is estimated at $10,000 per student, but there is no cost to the student. The tuition, fees, books, meals and room are provided at no cost to the students in the Summer Program. All activities are also included in the Summer Program. Prospective Students each year are provided with a Benefit Package that can be viewed by clicking on the link.
Frequently Asked Questions
Students who are interested in the HEOP program must apply through the Admissions Office. Applicants must also complete the current year FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The Office of Student Financial Services reviews applicants who have been accepted to the College and meet the GPA guidelines and then reviews the FAFSA results and refers accepted students who initially meet both the Academic and Financial guidelines of this NYS Program. We encourage students who are inerested in HEOP to apply as soon as possible in their senior year of high school.
Unfortunately no, HEOP can only accept graduating high school seniors seniors to the program.
Yes, all HEOP applicants must have been a New York State resident for at least one year prior to the year of entry into the NYS HEOP Program.
It is not based solely on financial need. That is just one component. The other components include your high school transcript and meeting the HEOP Program academic guidelines; and the third component is your participation in the Interview with the HEOP Staff to determine if you are ready for the HEOP Program at St. Thomas Aquinas College.
As part of the HEOP agreement, all students admitted to the program must successfully complete St. Thomas Aquinas College’s four week summer program. This counts as preparation for the academic and/or fine arts challenges they will encounter during the freshman year. The required intro courses, counseling and workshops help students begin to prepare for and anticipate the demands of college. Upperclassmen are often assigned as mentors to the incoming class and to help structure the students’ summer experience. Various enrichment activities take place throughout the summer to add balance to the academic load.
Students who are currently enrolled in an EOP program at a NYS Community College are encouraged to complete their Associate’s degree requirements at the community college. We can begin the transfer process with an application and transfer request form once you are in your final year at the community college. We will advise you on which courses might benefit both your associate’s degree requirements and the major you plan on selecting for your four year degree.
For students who are not enrolled at a NYS Community College the transfer process is different. First, you must have completed a pre summer HEOP/EOP program just after graduating from high school. NYS requires that you transition from high school to college via the pre freshmen summer program in order to be eligible to enroll in a HEOP/EOP program. The second step is to begin the transfer process by contacting the STAC Transfer Coordinator in the STAC Admissions Office. You may also contact the STAC HEOP Program:
Ms. Elvira Vasquez, Associate Director, The HEOP Program
This is a sample Financial Aid Award Notice for a new Freshmen HEOP Student at St. Thomas Aquinas College. This is not your financial aid award notice. For students who are not eligible for a full Federal PELL Award or a full NYS TAP Award, the family obligation may increase. The loan amount is the only amount that must be repaid.
Prior to accepting our offer, you will receive an actual financial aid award package as a HEOP student. That package will only be valid if you accept our offer and attend our Summer program.
2023-2024 Freshmen Year Financial Aid Estimate Package
FAFSA Results: Family EFC: $0
Tuition & Fees: $38,000
Room & Board: 16,300
Estimated Book Costs: 1,000
Total Estimated Costs: $55,300
STAC HEOP Grant $36,885
Estimated Federal Pell Grant: 7,300
Estimated NYS TAP Grant: 5,600
NYS HEOP Grant: 1,515
STAC/HEOP Book Voucher: 1,000
Student Loan: 3,000
Total College, Federal & State Awards: $55,300
Family obligation: additional costs such as transportation to and from campus; activities; room deposits; and other costs incurred by the student that are outside of the tuition, fees, room, and board costs outlined above. The student loan for a typical freshmen is often less than the $3,000 estimated in this example. 95% of the funding is provided to students each year.
The HEOP TEAM
If you have questions, contact us. We are here to help.
|MS. ELVIRA VASQUEZ (STAC HEOP CLASS OF 2020)|
ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, THE ARTHUR O. EVE HIGHER EDUCATION OPPORTUNITY PROGRAM
EVASQUEZ@STAC.EDU | 845-398-4028
MS. DORIS OSEI (STAC HEOP CLASS OF 2020)
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, THE ARTHUR O. EVE HIGHER EDUCATION OPPORTUNITY PROGRAM
DOSEI@STAC.EDU | 845-398-4060
MRS. MARY VOTA
DIRECTOR, ACADEMIC SUPPORT SERVICES
LEADERSHIP TEAM, THE ARTHUR O. EVE HIGHER EDUCATION OPPORTUNITY PROGRAM
MR. VIN CRAPANZANO
DEAN, THE ARTHUR O. EVE HIGHER EDUCATION OPPORTUNITY PROGRAM
DEAN, THE OFFICE OF STUDENT SUCCESS
ACADEMICSERVICES@STAC.EDU | 845-398-4019
MRS. HELENE MOISEYEV
SENIOR OFFICE ASSISTANT, OFFICE OF ACADEMIC SERVICES
HMOISEYEV@STAC.EDU | 845-398-4028