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, 2021, and June 30, 2022, 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)

    2020-21 Opportunity Program Guidelines


    $ 23,606


    $ 31,894


    $ 40,182


    $ 48,470


    $ 56,758


    $ 65,046


    $ 73,334


    $ 81,622

    For family units with more than eight members, add the following amount for each additional family member:

    + $8,288

    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 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 and assist in the transition to becoming a 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. 
  • 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.

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.