RIT Higher Education Opportunity Program Celebrates 40 Years of Serving Students

April 30 event highlights student achievements, program accomplishments

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For many New York state high-school students, the prospect of attending a college like Rochester Institute of Technology appears insurmountable. The cost of higher education today places a barrier in the way of some of our brightest and most dedicated young people. But, thanks to programs like the Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program at RIT, doors have opened for these students leading them to bright futures.

RIT’s HEOP program is celebrating 40 years of service to its students with festivities set for 2 p.m. April 30 in the new Campus Center facility. Keynote speaker at the celebration will be Wade Norwood, director of community engagement for the Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency and newly elected regent-at-large.

The HEOP program is a needs-based access program committed to the recruitment and academic success of students with strong potential and personal initiative. These are students who would otherwise be excluded from higher education due to circumstances of academic and economic disadvantage. Through the program’s financial support and academic services, students benefit from a summer preparatory program, broad-based tutoring, comprehensive counseling and financial support for tuition and living expenses.

The program seems to be making a difference in the success of its students. Of the 113 HEOP students enrolled at RIT during the fall quarter, 50 percent of them earned a quarterly grade point average of 3.0 or higher, and 20 percent made the dean’s list. In addition, the average first-to-second-year retention rate for RIT’s HEOP students for the past three years has been over 94 percent. Nearly 300 students have graduated from RIT since the program’s inception in 1970.

“RIT’s Higher Education Opportunity Program is vital to the success of our students,” says Belinda Bryce, program director. “RIT is proud to be celebrating 40 years of providing access and support to these deserving students, and we hope to continue providing these crucial services for our students for four more decades. We thank our New York state legislators for proving to our students that an RIT education is within their reach, and we hope that funding for this program continues to be high on their priority list.”

For more information about RIT’s HEOP program, visit www.rit.edu/studentaffairs/heop.