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Opportunity programs are programs that help position students to be successful in their application to the Academy. Cornell University hosts several opportunity programs which include but are not limited to Arthur O. Eve Opportunity Programs (HEOP), and the Posse Scholars program. These programs help provide a broad range of services to students who because of academic and economic circumstances, would otherwise be unable to attend a postsecondary educational institution.

In addition, The Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program, funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was established in 1999 to provide outstanding underrepresented students with an opportunity to complete an undergraduate college education in any discipline area of interest. The Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives (OADI) serves as a central hub for the Gates Millennium Scholars who attend Cornell University. OADI offers advising to all Gates Scholars and coordinates quarterly meetings for Scholars to reconnect with one another and to learn about the GMS renewal and funding processes.