Ithaca College sponsors the New York State Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP). HEOP provides access to college for selected students whose prior academic experiences do not reflect their true potential. HEOP students meet both academic and financial guidelines set by the New York State Education Department and by the College. Educational costs are met through need-based aid programs consisting of the Ithaca/New York State HEOP grant, New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and HEOP grants, and federal aid programs such as Pell grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Stafford loans, and work-study. All entering HEOP first-year students attend a three-week prefreshman summer academic orientation program. Designed to strengthen learning skills, broaden academic background, and familiarize students with Ithaca College resources, the summer program provides a comprehensive preview of college-level academic work.
During the academic year HEOP students receive academic support from professional staff in more than a dozen subject areas. In addition, program counselors assist students with academic issues, financial aid, career planning, and personal concerns. All first-year HEOP students meet weekly with one or more tutors and biweekly with a program counselor. Student success seminars and workshops are also offered. After the freshman year, students may consult the academic support staff as needed and may be assigned regular meetings in order to strengthen academic performance.
In addition, some HEOP participants can benefit from Ithaca's New York State Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP). CSTEP provides academic enrichment and career-oriented experiences for students who want to pursue careers in science- and health-related fields, or in licensed professions such as law and accounting. CSTEP students participate in internships, conduct research, and work with faculty or professional mentors to learn more about their areas of interest. Eligibility for CSTEP depends on a number of factors, including New York residency, ethnicity, and family income levels. Students are selected for participation both during the admissions process and during the school year.
To apply for HEOP, students should do the following:
1. Check the Higher Educational Opportunity Program (HEOP) box on the Ithaca College application.
2. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and send it to the federal processor for analysis. Indicate on the form that information is to be released to Ithaca College. NOTE: The application takes four to six weeks to process before release to the College. The completed FAFSA should be mailed to the federal processor as soon as possible. HEOP-eligible students also must submit a New York State Express TAP Application (ETA) to the address indicated within the form. The FAFSA application is available at local high schools or colleges. The ETA is mailed directly to the student after the processing of the FAFSA. For more information, see "Student Aid."
3. Transfer students eligible for HEOP should submit a transfer application form to verify state eligibility. This form is available through the HEOP program in which the student was last enrolled or New York State public-sponsored Equal Opportunity Program offices at SUNY and CUNY institutions.