SUNY New Paltz receives funds to expand Educational Opportunity Program by 100 students

EOP imageSUNY New Paltz will receive $290,000 of recurring funding to expand its Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) by 100 students, above the current 517 students in the program. The funding, announced yesterday by SUNY System, will provide stipend support for new students, and add a new EOP counselor.

“This award will allow us to expand our award-winning EOP program to serve even more students across New York,” said L. David Rooney, vice president of Student Affairs. “It is wonderful that the hard work and success of the New Paltz EOP Program has received this recognition and vote of confidence.”

EOP Director Antonio Bonilla added, “The number of applications to our program is indicative of our students’ need for a strong academic support program such as EOP. We are grateful for the continued support that our EOP program receives from the Chancellor and System Administration.”

The second-largest program in the SUNY system, EOP at New Paltz has long been recognized for its success with students. First-year retention rates typically exceed the 89-90 percent rate for all New Paltz students, and six-year graduation rates for EOP students are 65 percent—well above the 57 percent average graduation rate for all students across all U.S. public institutions.

The announcement of the funding was made by SUNY Chairman H. Carl McCall and Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher, as they prepare to join EOP students and New York State legislators at the 45th Annual Caucus Weekend of the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators, Inc. this weekend in Albany.

“The Educational Opportunity Program at SUNY is one of our most successful and sought after programs, with more than 30,000 students applying for 2,500 available seats every year,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “Bringing programs like EOP to more students – that’s what our completion agenda sets out to do, and it is precisely what the Investment and Performance Fund can accomplish. We are thrilled to be sharing these awards with our campuses today in recognition of their excellent work and dedication to student success.”

Currently active on 43 SUNY campuses across New York State, SUNY’s EOP program provides access, academic support, and financial aid to more than 10,000 low-income and academically underprepared students, helping them prepare for and succeed in college.

“We are extremely proud of our Educational Opportunity Program, one of the best in the state at preparing and supporting New York students in overcoming socio-economic and academic challenges to higher education success,” said President Donald P. Christian. “This award-winning program reflects our commitment at SUNY New Paltz to access, quality education, and student completion. Our EOP students consistently graduate well above national averages. At our town hall discussion on diversity and inclusion earlier this week, our students spoke eloquently about what the EOP program means to them. We are excited that this new funding will create opportunity for more deserving students to join this vibrant community.”

About EOP at New Paltz
Founded in 1967, the Educational Opportunity Program provides academic and financial support to New York State residents with a high school diploma or its equivalent, and who do not meet general admission criteria, but have the academic potential to earn a college degree. The program, which is designed to provide students with a two or four-year college education, serves students from a variety of circumstances that may present barriers to academic success. In 2015, the program in collaboration with the Center for International Programs, was awarded the Andrew Heiskell Award by The Institute of International Education. Moreover, in 2004 the program was one of only four institutions to recently receive the Noel-Levitz Retention Excellence Award for its Freshman Year Experience retention program.

More information about EOP at SUNY New Paltz is available online.

About the Investment and Performance Fund
The SUNY Investment and Performance Fund was first established by an $18 million allocation in the 2015-16 New York State Budget. In an effort to grow the Fund and extend eligibility to its community colleges, SUNY also pooled from existing resources – the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), Open SUNY, the Empire Innovation Program, and $55 million from the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program – to create a $100 million Expanded Investment and Performance Fund.

All funding is designed to support commitments campuses have made in their individual Performance Improvement Plans, part of the SUNY Excels performance management system. Information about Investment and Performance Fund awards announced to date can be found online at