TROY, NY – The Capital District Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) and SUNY Empire recently signed a partnership agreement, giving EOC students access to many of the educational resources available at Empire through its Opportunity Programs.
Executive Director of CDEOC and Vice President at HVCC Lucille Marion and SUNY Empire Officer in Charge Nathan Gonyea met at the EOC building on River Street to make the agreement official. The agreement takes effect immediately, meaning EOC students can sign up right away to take courses at Empire for the summer or fall semesters.
“This is a wonderful partnership that’s transpiring today,” Marion said. “There’s a commonality in terms of purpose between the two institutions.”
“We are both all about opportunities and unlocking student potential,” Gonyea agreed. “Our partnership will provide a lot of opportunities not just for students, but the entire Capital District.”
SUNY Empire’s Opportunity Programs began in the fall of 2000. Its latest model includes a process to retroactively seek students who have applied to SUNY Empire and might not know they qualify for the Promise Program. All three models – the Promise Program, the Empire State Opportunity Program, and the Educational Opportunity Program – provide new and transfer students with some financial assistance, enhanced support services, and a mentor who will help each student get the most out of their SUNY Empire experience.
One of the most valuable services the mentor provides is helping students to identify the life experiences they have that can transfer into college credits for their chosen degree program. Gonyea says on average, mentors help their students to secure around 28 credits, which adds up to a full year’s worth of college study already accounted for. It can greatly speed up the process of earning a Bachelor’s or even Master’s degree.
Enrollment in an Opportunity Program also offers students a great deal of flexibility in their studies. Qualifying students can take their courses online, on campus, by residency, or by independent study, depending on the degree. EOC students who choose to enroll at SUNY Empire will have full access to all 110 of its online programs, both at the undergraduate and graduate degree level.
According to Gonyea, Opportunity Program students have an 84.1% retention rate at SUNY Empire, as opposed to only 67% for comparable students in other colleges. The Programs’ flexibility and high levels of dedication to student needs helps more students to find success as college graduates.
The Capital District EOC, a division of Hudson Valley Community College, serves primarily adult students who are returning to school to either complete their education or find a new path. The average student age is 31, though students can be accepted as young as 16 as long as they are not officially currently enrolled in school. About 1,000 students a year are served at EOC on two primary paths – college preparation or vocational trade preparation. EOC graduation goals are 85% or better for college prep and 55% or better for vocational prep.
“EOC programs work very hard to move towards transitioning students to the next phase of their lives, whether that’s school, work, or both,” explained Marion. “Any opportunity we can get to make that transition easier is great. The agreement with Empire can offer our students more flexibility in that process. “
Lisa Jackson oversees the SUNY University Center for Academic and Workforce Development. She’s in charge of every EOC program in the state, and she’s thrilled to see the Capital District EOC partnering with SUNY Empire.
“Any time there’s an opportunity for students to pursue higher education, it means a lot of excitement for us,” Jackson said. “It 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’s Opportunity Programs, visit https://www.esc.edu/admissions/eop/.