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Equal access to education at all levels has long been an objective of the New York State Board of Regents. Since the mid-1960s the State has supported special programs at the postsecondary level which extend educational opportunity to persons who have been academically and economically disadvantaged.

The first such program, College Discovery, was established in the community colleges of New York City in 1964. In 1966, a corollary program, SEEK (Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge) was started in the four year colleges of The City University of New York (CUNY).

The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) was established in 1967 to provide similar services to disadvantaged students in the two and four-year institutions of the State University.

Finally, in 1969 the State established the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) for disadvantaged students in the independent colleges and universities of New York State. Sections 6451 and 6452 of the Education Law provide the statutory basis for all of the programs and require the statewide coordination of program activities in the three sectors-CUNY, SUNY, and independent - under the Board of Regents.

HEOP has provided nearly 50 years of access, advocacy and academic support for educationally and financially deserving New York State residents who have the ability to succeed at independent colleges such as Rochester Institute of Technology. HEOP also fosters student's individual growth by adding strong programmatic and institutional support.