The Origin of Opportunity Programs in New York State

The first State-funded opportunity programs were established in New York City. College Discovery (1964) and SEEK (1966) provided college preparation course in high schools, open admissions to colleges (two-year and four-year respectively) in the CUNY (City University of New York) system, and academic and other support services on campus to encourage disadvantaged students to attend college and earn degrees.

In 1966, Assemblyman Arthur O. Eve (Democrat-Buffalo) was elected to the New York State Assembly. During his first term in 1967, Assemblyman Eve spearheaded an effort that secured the initial funding to establish the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) within the SUNY (State University of New York) system. Modeled on the SEEK (Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge) program that has been instituted by Assemblyman Percy Sutton the prior year, the first unit of this program was established at the State University College in Buffalo, New York. In 1969, legislation established the High Education Opportunity Program at independent colleges and universities in New York State. By the 1970-71 academic year, New York State Education Law 86451 and 86452 and formally established to provisions of SEEK in the CUNY system, EOP in the SUNY system, and HEOP in the independent colleges and universities in New York, and provided for their statewide coordination.

Opportunity Programs exist to combine access, academic support and supplemental financial assistance to make higher education possible for students who have the potential to succeed, despite poor academic preparation and limited financial resources. In 1972, The Sage Colleges partnered with the New York State Education Department and instituted Higher Education Opportunity Programs at Russell Sage College and the Sage College of Albany(then the Sage Junior College of Albany). Since that time, the Sage Colleges has maintained its commitment to HEOP and boast numerous graduates as a result.