TROY, NY – The Capital District Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) and SUNY Empire recently signed a partnership agreement, giving EOC students access to many educational resources available at Empire through its Opportunity programs.
Lucille Marion, Executive Director of the CDEOC and Vice President of the HVCC, and Nathan Gonyea, Officer in Charge of the SUNY Empire, met at the EOC Building on River Street to formalize the agreement. The agreement is effective immediately, which means EOC students can register immediately to take courses at Empire during the summer or fall semesters.
“It’s a wonderful partnership that is happening today,” said Marion. “There is a commonality in terms of purpose between the two institutions.”
“We are both focused on opportunities and unlocking student potential,” Gonyea agreed. “Our partnership will provide many opportunities not just for students, but for the entire Capital District.”
SUNY Empire Opportunity Programs began in the fall of 2000. Its latest model includes a process of retroactively finding students who applied to SUNY Empire who may not know they are eligible for the Promise program. . The three models – the Promise Program, the Empire State Opportunity Program and the Educational Opportunity Program – provide new and transfer students with financial aid, enhanced support services and a mentor who will help each student get the most out of their SUNY Empire live.
One of the most valuable services the mentor provides is helping students identify life experiences they have that can be transferred into college credit for their chosen course of study. Gonyea says that, on average, mentors help their students earn about 28 credits, which is a full year of college already counted. This can significantly speed up the process of earning a bachelor’s or even a master’s degree.
Enrolling in an Opportunity program also offers students great flexibility in their studies. Qualified students can take their courses online, on campus, in residence, or independent study, depending on the degree. EOC students who choose to enroll in SUNY Empire will have full access to all of its 110 online programs, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
According to Gonyea, Opportunity Program students have an 84.1% retention rate at SUNY Empire, compared to just 67% for comparable students at other colleges. Program flexibility and high levels of dedication to student needs help more students succeed as college graduates.
The Capital District EOC, a division of Hudson Valley Community College, primarily serves mature students returning to school to complete their education or find a new path. The average age of students is 31, although students can be accepted as young as 16 as long as they are not officially enrolled in school. Approximately 1,000 students per year are served at EOC on two main tracks – college preparation or professional trades preparation. EOC graduation goals are 85% or higher for college readiness and 55% or higher for career readiness.
“EOC programs work very hard to transition students into the next phase of their lives, whether it’s school, work or both,” explained Marion. “Any opportunity we may have to facilitate this transition is great. The deal with Empire can provide our students with more flexibility in this process.
Lisa Jackson oversees the SUNY University Center for Academic and Workforce Development. She is in charge of all EOC programs in the state and is thrilled to have the Capital District EOC partner with SUNY Empire.
“Whenever there’s an opportunity for students to pursue higher education, it means a lot of excitement for us,” Jackson said. “That means more opportunities for students across the state.”
To learn more about the Capital District EOC, visit https://hvcc.edu/programs/eoc/. To learn more about SUNY Empire opportunity programs, visit https://www.esc.edu/admissions/eop/.