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 for students meeting the HEOP eligibility academic and financial requirements. 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.


Opportunity Programs coordinates holistic support services to students who are members of the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), HOPE, and Renaissance Scholars Program. Opportunity Programs staff coordinate services that address academic, personal, and spiritual growth. By offering underrepresented, qualifying students access to higher education, the programs enable students to realize their full potential.

  • Am I eligible?
    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).
    1. Financial Eligibility Requirements:

    For students first entering college between July 1, 2022, and June 30, 2023, 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.

    New York State Education Department HEOP Income Eligibility 
    For students first entering college between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023  

    Household Size

    Annual Income


    $ 23,828


    $ 32,227


    $ 40,626


    $ 49,025


    $ 57,424


    $ 65,823


    $ 74,222



    For each family member more than eight, add:

    + $8,399

    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).
    1. Academic Eligibility Requirements:

    To be academically eligible, students must either be inadmissible to college through regular admission standards or be considered academically qualified due to other qualifiers. Other academic qualifiers include, but are not limited to: attendance in a high needs high school, pre-testing, GED, personal interviews or recommendation letters.

  • What are the HEOP Program benefits?

    Financial Assistance

    • $5,600/year tuition coverage, in addition to any additional grants
    • Laptop bundle and educational supplies
    • $100 personal stipend each month ($1,000/year)
    • $250 book stipend each semester ($500/year)

    Student Support Services

    • Individual OP Advisement –  Academic, Professional, and Personal guidance
    • Referrals – On and off Campus Resources
    • Required College Preparatory  Summer Program (5 weeks)
    • Exclusive OP Tutoring – Individual and Group Tutoring Services
  • Summer Program

    HEOP students are obligated to attend the full length of a 5-week college preparation summer program that will take place Wednesday, July 6th – Friday, August 5th. The Opportunity Programs team designed a program comprised of pre-college preparation classes, academic and professional skill-building workshops, academic tutoring, and academic advising to prepare you for the college environment at Maria. Please see below for more details.    

    Summer Courses 

    • Introduction to Biology 
    • Introduction to Psychology 
    • Basic Mathematics 
    • English Composition 
    • College Preparatory Course  

    Summer Student Support Services 

    • Laptop and Supplies 
    • Textbooks
    • OP Academic Advisement  
    • Individual & Group Tutoring  
    • Opportunity Ambassador Peer Mentorship
  • OP Student Spotlights

    “I decided to come to Maria due to the excellent reputation of the nursing program. I am a first-year student in the ADN program and I plan to continue for my BSN. My desire to care for patients and be part of their support system led me to pursue this career. As an Opportunity Programs student, I have been assisted in reaching my career goals with extra help and a wonderful support system.

    The financial assistance provided by OP has been extremely helpful, especially during the difficulties the pandemic brought. The academic tutoring has also contributed to my success as well. My education from Maria College will allow me to achieve my dream of working as a pediatric nurse taking care of children.”

    – Brianna Marie DeRosa

    “I am a second-year Maria student pursuing my bachelor’s degree in the Liberal Arts, with a focus on science courses. After I graduate, my goal is to continue my education and become a chiropractor. My career path will allow me to use my talents to help other people and work in the healthcare industry.
    The Opportunity Programs staff have supported me and offered helpful advice, assisting me to be successful as a college student. The OP service that I enjoy the most is the advisement support, as the staff helps me strategize and plan as I reach for my educational and personal goals. Something that I really like about Maria College is the focus on helping others through our education.”
    – Blair Moo.
Maria Stories
Devon Garcia, Opportunity Programs Student

Devon Garcia shares about the obstacles of coming here from the Dominican Republic and her inspiration behind nursing.

Click here to watch a video about HserDay Moo, a Liberal Arts student at Maria College.

HserDay Moo, a Liberal Arts student at Maria College, painted a 5-foot landscape mural that was installed in the library. HserDay shares about his journey from Thailand and how he became interested in art.