SUNY New Paltz opportunity program graduates most students within SUNY

NEW PALTZ — The State University of New York at New Paltz Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) has earned the highest ranking among all SUNY schools in the number of students who have earned baccalaureate degrees.

New Paltz has a 72.26 percent graduation rate for the 1999 student cohort. Recent data in The Chronicle of Higher Education 2006 Almanac lists the national average, six-year graduation rate for four-year institutions as 54.3 percent and 55.9 percent for New York state. Among public master’s institutions, the national average is 43.3 percent.

The six-year EOP graduation rates for the top five SUNY institutions are as follows:
New Paltz, 72.26 percent; Binghamton, 67.53 percent; Geneseo, 64.28 percent; Stony Brook, 60.43 percent; and Albany, 55.14 percent.

In 2004, New Paltz was one of four colleges, nationwide, to receive a Noel-Levitz Retention Excellence Award for its Freshman Year Experience program, a proactive, intensive program for underrepresented students at New Paltz. It serves 120 freshmen per year, selected on financial need and academic eligibility. Eighty percent of the students come from inner-city high schools, 60 percent speak English as a second language or are bilingual, and approximately 98 percent are first-generation college students.

Lisa Chase, director of the EOP said, “While we have long been recognized for our freshman retention rates, the ultimate measure of our success is a high graduation rate. The rest of the good news is that, on average, EOP graduates earn cumulative GPA’s that are on par with their general-admit counterparts. These data serve as the best evidence that the achievement gap of low-income and ethnically underrepresented students can be eliminated during the span of the college years.”