The SUNY Student Assembly applauded Speaker Heastie’s promise to restore Educational Opportunity Program funding that was absent from this year’s Executive Budget Proposal. The current proposal cuts nearly six million dollars from EOP, a highly successful program which enables thousands of low income New Yorkers to pursue a college degree. Sufficient EOP funding has been a regular issue on the Student Assembly’s annual legislative agendas.
“We are incredibly proud to stand in support of the Speaker’s promise to restore funding to these critical programs,” said Marc Cohen, SUNY Trustee and President of the Student Assembly. “EOP has been the beginning of tens of thousands of success stories; stories that may not have been possible otherwise. We will continue to work with the Assembly through the duration of the budget process and call upon the Senate to rise to the challenge and ensure the continuity and progress of this indispensable program. We will ensure that SUNY students continue to access an affordable, high quality education.”
“EOP has served as a gateway of opportunity for thousands of SUNY students,” said Jarius Jemmott, Co-Chair of the Student Assembly’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. “As a student leader at the University at Albany, I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside EOP and witness how the program brings out a student’s potential and allowing them to access the vast resources that SUNY has to offer.”
Rey Muniz, the Student Assembly’s Director of Legislative Affairs, also spoke in favor of the Speaker’s proposal. “It has become commonplace for us to rely on our allies in the legislature to ensure the success of tremendous programs like EOP,” said Muniz. “I am incredibly grateful to the Speaker for his unwavering support of students, especially those with the greatest need. I also look forward to working with legislators in both chambers office throughout the critical budget negotiations ahead.”
EOP has successfully graduated more than sixty thousand low income students since its implementation fifty years ago. There are more than ten thousand current beneficiaries enrolled in SUNY programs, making EOP among the most expansive aid programs today.