Opportunity Programs at Maria College

The Opportunity Program Office oversees resources that support students enrolled in the Arthur O. Eve. Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), HOPE, and the Renaissance Scholar Program.  For more information on each program, please read the following:

Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP)

The Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) at Maria College, in partnership with the New York State Education Department, is designed to enroll first-time; full-time college students who are financially and academically challenged and might not otherwise be accepted into a college degree program.  This unique program is carefully designed to assist eligible and accepted HEOP participants succeed at Maria College.  Typically, accepted HEOP student are individuals from families with low incomes and possess the desire and aptitude for a successful college experience, but have not yet acquired the verbal, mathematical, and other cognitive skills required.

Full-time tuition and fees, books and other expenses will be paid to first time, full-time students meeting the HEOP eligibility requirements for both academic and financial.  In addition, other services to HEOP participants will include counseling, tutoring, a peer network and other resources to achieve academic and personal success at Maria College.

Am I eligible for HEOP?

1. New York State Eligibility Criteria:

    • New York State resident (for one year preceding your term of entry into HEOP).
    • Possess a high school diploma or New York State approved equivalency diploma or its equivalent.
    • Be academically disadvantaged (who would otherwise not be accepted as a matriculated student under Maria College’s normal admission standards in a General Studies degree program).
    • Have the potential and motivation for successful completion of college.
    • Be financially disadvantaged (see financial eligibility requirements).

2. Financial Eligibility Requirements:

For students first entering college between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017 the following criteria apply.  For the purpose of this subdivision, the number of members of a household shall be determined by ascertaining the number of individuals living in the student’s residence who are economically dependent on the income.

Number of Members in Household 
(Including head of household)
2016-17 Opportunity Program Guidelines
1 $ 21,978
2 $ 29,637
3 $ 37,296
4 $ 44,955
5 $ 52,614
6 $ 60,273
7 $ 67,951*
*for each family member in excess of 7, add + $7,696*

Applicants automatically meet the financial eligibility requirements if:

    • Their family receives public assistance.
    • They are living with foster parents who provide no support for college, and no money is provided by the natural parents.
    • They are wards of the state or county.
    • To be eligible for the standard HEOP financial aid package, all applicants must complete the FAFSA and apply for the New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP).

3. Academic Eligibility Requirements:

To be academically eligible, students must submit the following documents and either be inadmissible to college through regular admission standards or be considered in the lower academic range of admissible students.  Required documents include:

    • High School Transcripts
    • Letter of Recommendation
    • Essay
    • SAT or ACT scores

What Are the HEOP Program Benefits?

  • Financial:  The financial aid package will be determined on individual eligibility criteria.  A package designed uniquely for each HEOP student will assist with expenses, such as tuition, fees, and books allowing students to focus on achieving academic excellence and not the financial burden.
  • Personal Mentoring and Coaching:  An experienced group of caring faculty and staff will build a support plan to meet your academic and personal needs to assist you in the transition to successful college student.  Services will include tutoring and counseling for personal, academic and career development.
  • Learning resources:  A variety of tools and services will be provided to help you build skills in identified areas of need that might otherwise block you from achieving academic and personal success.
  • Supportive network:  Activities starting with the summer program will help to develop cohesive bonds with other HEOP students and mentors.  The program's structure thoughtfully includes group experiences to enhance the development of a tightly woven support network for HEOP students. 

HEOP Summer Program

First year HEOP students are required to complete a summer program to acclimate them into college life with academic success tools and strategies.  Specially designed classes in Biology, Math, English and Psychology provide students with a strong start to the fall semester.  Presentations and workshops are included to make the experience relevant and interesting. The HEOP Team  assesses academic strengths and weaknesses and designs personal success plans, that might include remedial and developmental courses and tutorial services.  Career guidance is also an important component to provide insights into how dreams can be connected to academic majors.

Introducing HOPE


Illustration credit: Meagan Masti, Maria College Graphic Designer

Maria's institutionally-funded program that complements the New York State Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), MAPS has been re-branded to HOPE and launched with the slogan "HEOP & HOPE go hand in hand." This new branding is a reflection of the dedication that students receive from Maria's HEOP staff, the interconnection they feel with fellow HEOP students and the family atmosphere that the HEOP program strives to foster. 

It is a bridge between the New York State HEOP program: new birth and a bright future filled with possibility, allowing students to soar to new heights.  Students enrolled in both HEOP and HOPE are paired with an Opportunities Program counselor to ensure support is offered from day one.

Introducing Renaissance Scholars Program

Renaissance means a new beginning. Education that leads to a worthy career helping others get well and stay healthy – as well as self-sufficiency for oneself and one’s family – is the best new beginning anyone can have.  

Renaissance Scholars began in 2004 as a win-win idea. The health care field was facing a shortage of nurses and other skilled professionals. At the same time, there were people on public assistance with great potential to serve in these jobs who needed a way to afford and obtain the required educational credentials. Renaissance Corporation teamed up with Maria College and Albany County Department of Social Services to design a unique scholarship program to connect these needs.

Our program is pleased to offer a package of supports for promising and determined students embarking on their personal journey toward these goals.The Renaissance Scholars Program provides financial assistance and personalized support for selected low-income residents of the Capital District pursuing college level education and training to become a nurse or other health care professional.