Skip to main content

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions:

What is the difference between EOP and HEOP?

The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) is for state-contract, public colleges while the Higher Educational Opportunity Program (HEOP) is for endowed, or private, colleges and universities in New York State.

State Contract Colleges (EOP-affiliated) Endowed/Private Colleges (HEOP affiliated)

What is OADI and is it only available for EOP/HEOP student?

OADI is the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives and is an academic and professional resource and support center for students on campus– many of whom are first generation, low-income, and/or students of color. No, OADI is not only available for EOP|HEOP students. OADI is open and available to all students.

EOP/HEOP Community Questions:

What are some of the benefits of being an EOP/HEOP student?

Students find the benefits to them to be very individualized as the EOP/HEOP team is here to support you on your journey, but here are some of the benefits our students may enjoy:

  • A community of peers to work together with and grow and learn from.
  • Access multiple opportunities, including professional staff advisor, financial assistance, and career resources.
  • Connect with an active, alumni network.
  • Join a strong, passionate community of learners comprised of our students, our professional staff and collaborating campus partners.
  • Many of our students view OADI and EOP|HEOP as a home away from home – a supportive environment where they can be themselves. We want you to be you!

What specific services are provided by EOP/HEOP?

EOP/HEOP students will have an advisor assigned to them that will assist along their journey. As an EOP/HEOP student, your advisor will help to answer questions about your academics, financial aid, as well as ask you questions to help maintain your personal well-being and achieve your goals. This is a partnership between you and your advisor to meet regularly and discuss what is going on and how the two of you can work through the situation. To be clear, we are not here to solve problems for you or do your work, but we are here to help you find the answers and connect you with the appropriate resources available.

What do you mean by “academic support?”

Providing academic support can be many different things and is focused on the individual need of the student. First and foremost, EOP/HEOP students must utilize the resources available to them as a student, this includes:

  • Participation in the supplemental instruction provided by the Learning Strategies Center (LSC) for all courses available.
  • Utilization and attendance in faculty and TA office hours and study sessions.
  • Regular meetings and progress updates with college academic advisors.
  • Regular scheduled meetings with your EOP/HEOP advisor.

If further support is needed for an individual course, students may request additional tutoring support through their advisor. We view academic support as a partnership between the student and their advisor. We will help to provide resources in support of your academic goals, but it is the student’s responsibility to assess and communicate with their advisors.

What can I expect from having an EOP/HEOP advisor in addition to my college advisor? How are they different and do I have individual time with my advisor or is it all shared time?

You are required to meet with EOP/HEOP advisors each semester as well as your college academic advisor. These appointments are separate.

EOP/HEOP Advisors will meeting with you on a regular basis throughout your college career. Our work is focused on six many areas advise in a holistic fashion. We will focus on:

  • Academic – discussing academic goals and aspirations and providing academic support.
  • Financial – reviewing financial aid, funding opportunities, and general financial literacy support.
  • Professional – reviewing career opportunities and goals, support of internship and externship opportunities, and aiding in your professional and career development.
  • Personal Well-being – working with you on critical reflection and meaning of your experiences, helping to develop skills that will allow you to set schedules and create balance, providing support and access to resources in line with your own spiritual, physical, and psychological well-being.
  • Social/Community – assisting you in navigating campus and exploring opportunities to find you community and build your sense of belonging.
  • Civic Engagement – encouraging you to be an active and engaged citizen, using your voice to advocate for your needs and the needs of the community, and developing your own sense of agency.

Through each of these areas, your EOP/HEOP advisor will be informed of possible resources and will work with you in partnership to work toward your goals.

Your college academic advisor differs from your EOP/HEOP advisor in that your college advisor will assist in course enrollment, drop/add of classes, registration, and more policy/procedures related to your academic progress.

How would you describe the EOP/HEOP student community? How large is it and how close are the students?

We believe our EOP/HEOP community is a family in which everyone can be their true authentic selves and build long lasting bonds with each other. We have approximately 210 students total each year with about 2000 graduates who have come before. We are strong as a community and provide opportunities for engagement and collaboration.

What types of events are offered through EOP/HEOP?

A wide variety of events are offered through EOP/HEOP. Typically, we offer the following events each year:

  • Two large group meetings, one each semester, to connect and share information (required).
  • Monthly “Family Dinners” where students break bread, celebrate and connect, often with menus planned and developed by students to share things that are important to them.
  • Advocacy Trips to Albany that seek to enhance students’ civic engagement and connection to their elected officials and highlight the impacts of EOP/HEOP.
  • End of the Year Awards banquet. We celebrate, recognize and uplift the good work our students have participated in and/or led.
  • Alumni Workshops that offer the opportunity for current students to connect with alumni to understand their paths and career opportunities.

Depending on the year and need, as a team we also offer different workshops as needed or requested.

Can I study abroad as an EOP/HEOP student?

Yes, we strongly encourage students to take the opportunity to study abroad will support you in working with your college to plan when the best time to study abroad would be.

Is there anything I don’t have access to or cannot do as an EOP/HEOP student?

No. You are allowed and encouraged to take full advantage of everything Cornell has to offer including research, study abroad, clubs and organizations, etc.

What are my requirements during the academic year?

  • Participate in the fall and spring semester meetings.
  • Access appropriate tutoring and academic support resources.
  • Meet with your EOP / HEOP advisor on a regular basis:
    • First Year Student: 6 times per semester (minimum required)
    • Sophomore: 4 times per semester (minimum required)
    • Junior and Senior: 2 times per semester (minimum required)
  • Advocacy processes and community service or service-learning activities.

Pre-Collegiate Summer Scholars Program (PSSP) Questions:

What is the Pre-Collegiate Summer Scholars Program (PSSP) and do I have to participate?

PSSP is a summer bridge program that assists incoming EOP/HEOP students in their transition to college. Students will take classes, participate in college and program activities, and get acclimated to Cornell. All incoming EOP/HEOP students must participate in; this is a requirement by SUNY for EOP and by the New York State Education Department.

Do I get credit for the classes I take during PSSP?

Yes, students will get credit for the classes they take during the summer program. Some of the courses will count towards GPA and others will serve as preparatory coursework for which credit is earned, but does not impact GPA.

How are my classes selected for PSSP and can I choose them?

Your classes for PSSP are selected by your college advising team. These courses are based on many factors carefully chosen by the college and therefore you will not be able to select them.

What types of classes will I be taking over the summer?

The types of courses taken over the summer vary greatly based on your intended major and college. They range from writing and study skills to chemistry, art, and engineering. It will all depend on your plan course of study.

Eligibility Questions:

How can I be considered for EOP/HEOP?

You will need to complete and submit these documents in order to be considered for EOP/HEOP -- for either first-year applicants or transfer students.

As a student who identifies as a person of color, do I automatically qualify for EOP/HEOP admission?

No. EOP/HEOP programs were established to provide access for those who meet both academic and financial eligibility standards. The programs are not based on racial or ethnic backgrounds.

Do I have to be first generation to be in EOP/HEOP and what does first generation mean?

No, you do not have to be first-generation to be in EOP/HEOP. First generation, when thinking about college, encompasses those whose parents did not attend and graduate from a four-year institution. Many EOP/HEOP students are first generation students – but not all.

If I decide I want to change my major and college, do I lose my EOP/HEOP status or can I change and still be in the program?

Maintaining your program status is dependent on current program enrollment and availability of spaces. Changing majors is more common than one may think, especially as students are starting to explore their interests and learn more about what they want as students. EOP/HEOP students are allowed to change majors and typically do not lose their status at Cornell. We highly encourage you to talk with your EOP/HEOP advisor about your plans to change major prior to making that change – and especially before changing colleges.

Now that I am an admitted EOP/HEOP student, will I (or my family) have to provide any money in order to attend Cornell?

Yes. A personal, financial contribution is expected from each EOP/HEOP student. The Student Contribution is a combination of a Summer Savings Expectation (SSE) and a Student Contribution from Assets (SCA). The SSE is the amount that Cornell expects you to earn and save during the summer before the academic year. Your expected summer contribution is determined by class year and included in your financial aid award letter. Families may also have a parent contribution also included in the financial aid award letter depending on household income. See Financial Aid Commitment to Access and Affordability for more information.

How is it that my sibling qualified for EOP/HEOP but I didn't, even though our household size and income is the same?

EOP/HEOP students must qualify both economically and academically to be eligible for the programs. The requirements for EOP/HEOP admission at Cornell vary from college to college. Academic eligibility is determined by the college and therefore, siblings may both qualify economically, but have different academic profiles meaning one sibling may be eligible and another may not.

What is the required GPA and SAT scores to be considered for EOP/HEOP

The admissions process for Cornell is a holistic approach. We do not have a standard set of GPA or SAT requirements for our entering class. Applications are reviewed for a variety of factors; GPA and SAT are portions of the review. We encourage students to develop strong essays and submit strong recommendations that can speak to their academic abilities and potential.

My guidance counselor told me I am overqualified for EOP/HEOP so why are you calling me and asking for information?

We understand why you may find this to be confusing. We encourage you to have a conversation with the EOP/HEOP staff member who contacts you. Guidance counselors may not always know the nuances of each individual program’s admissions requirements. Many times, through the admissions review, our college admissions teams will identify students that they feel would be a good academic fit for the program and the EOP/HEOP team will follow up to review the financial eligibility.

Will I ever lose my EOP/HEOP status? What GPA do I need to maintain to stay in the program?

Very rarely would a student lose their EOP/HEOP status. However, the circumstances that may cause one to lose their status would include:

  • false information was provided during the eligibility process.
  • a student decides to transfer to a college that does not have EOP/HEOP/SEEK/CD.
  • a student decides to transfer to a college that does not have space in the program at the time of transfer.
  • Unsuccessful completion of PSP.

There is no GPA requirement to remain a part of EOP/HEOP. All students must meet satisfactory academic progress (SAP) to remain in good standing and enrolled at the University. Any EOP/HEOP student that takes a leave of absence, including an academic leave, will retain their EOP/HEOP status and must fulfill any requirements from their respective colleges to return to good standing.

Applying and the Admission Process Questions:

What type of paperwork do I need to submit as part of the EOP/HEOP application review?

There are several forms and types of paperwork applicants will need to complete for the review process. These include:

View our Application Document Checklist and Application Timeline.

All documents are submitted through the IDOC process as outline on Cornell's Financial Aid website.

Note for Independent students: students living with a legal guardian, an orphan or ward of the court, or a student living in foster care, will have different paperwork to provide. We encourage you to contact the EOP/HEOP office and the Office of Financial Aid to make sure you are submitting the appropriate paperwork.

Can I apply early decision?

For Fall of 2024, due to the delay in the new FAFSA, we will not be able to approve anyone during early decision.  We will be reviewing all applicants during the regular decision process when the FAFSA information is available.

Do you have to have an interview for EOP/HEOP and how can I schedule one?

No, Cornell’s EOP/HEOP program does not conduct interviews for the program.

I didn't know about EOP/HEOP when I first started college, and I think I was eligible. Can I apply now?

No. EOP/HEOP is designed for first time college students who have not taken college courses for credit after graduation from high school.

When do I find out if I got into EOP/HEOP?

You will receive your EOP/HEOP decision with your University notification during either the early decision or regular decision process. In your acceptance letter, there will be information about acceptance to the program.

Does EOP/HEOP limit the majors I can choose?

No, EOP/HEOP students can enroll and participate in any of the majors Cornell has to offer.

Financial Aid Questions:

What does a typical EOP/HEOP first year financial aid award package look like?

Eligible EOP/HEOP students whose financial aid forms have been properly filed and approved generally receive monies from the following sources:

  • TAP Grant
  • Federal PELL Grant
  • EOP/HEOP Grant
  • Cornell Grant
  • Federal Work-study
  • Any additional outside scholarships a student may receive

Does Cornell have work-study and how can I find a job?

Work-Study is typically part of our EOP/HEOP financial aid packages for sophomore, junior, and senior years. First Year EOP/HEOP students receive grants so they can better focus on the transition to college and their academics. If you are looking for a work-study position, check out the job listings!  

I am the first in my family to go to college, is there help for me to understand all of the Financial Aid paperwork and what it all means?

Yes, your EOP/HEOP advisor can help explain the process and the paperwork that is needed. We also share a close partnership with the Office of Financial Aid and regularly collaborate with colleagues in the office. You can also connect with the Office of Financial Aid to meet with one of their counselors to help answer questions.

Can I get other scholarships to help pay for my education?

Yes, you can absolutely apply to a variety of scholarships. Students are encouraged to seek outside scholarships to help with costs. Your scholarships may help to provide you with the opportunity to reduce loans, federal work-study amounts, or create space for you to help cover some of your additional education expenses. If you receive a scholarship, you should communicate with your EOP/HEOP advisor and make sure to report your scholarship to Financial Aid, so it is recorded correctly in your package.

What happens if it is going to take me longer than 8 semesters to graduate – will I still have financial aid?

Yes, you will still have financial aid for an additional two semesters as an EOP/HEOP student. You will need to communicate with your advisor and your college advisor to plan appropriately for the additional semesters.