Higher Education Opportunity Program

The Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) is one of the comprehensive academic support services offered by St. Thomas Aquinas College.

This academic support program has an outstanding success and graduation rate for students from low-income families who do not meet the College's traditional admissions standards at time of first entry into the College.

The College has typically determined academic eligibility for this program using the students high school transcript and standardized test scores. Students who fall below the College's regular admissions standards and are deemed to be at an academic disadvantage are initially considered for the program. The second, and most important step, is for the student to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The HEOP administrators and the Student Financial Services Office then determine if the student meets the NYS HEOP Program's definition of economically disadvantaged - typically families must be at or below the NYS Poverty Guideline. Students may have an academic disadvantage but if they are not also deemed economically disadvantaged, the College can not consider the student for this highly selective program.

More than 75 students apply to the program at STAC every year and the College can only accept 20 students. Since the college has recently become a Test Optional School, the SAT or ACT may or may not be used as part of the determination for academic eligibility for the STAC HEOP Program. The HEOP staff reviews those that have met the Economically Disadvantaged definition to determine if their high school transcripts show that they are at an academic disadvantage. The STAC HEOP Program will only further evaluate students for this program who have a high school GPA below a 2.9. The staff will recalulate student GPAs as they have in the past and make a determination based on strength of courses; GPA in core courses; and preparedness for their intended major.

95% of the HEOP students at St. Thomas Aquinas College self identify as African American and/or Latino(a), nearly 100% are first-generation college students, 100% are from poverty-level families as defined by the NYS Office of Budget and Control and, most importantly, 90% have college grade point indices over 2.0.

The Higher Education Opportunity Program at St. Thomas Aquinas College is supported by the College and a competitive grant from the New York State Education Department.

The Fall 2023 STAC Arthur O. Eve HEOP Application Process
Students must complete a College Application and must meet the non-traditional admissions standard in order to be considered for the College's HEOP Program. For an application fee waiver, please contact the Admissions Office at 845-398-4100.

For Fall 2023, freshman (and transfer) applicants must provide the following financial information.

  • 2023-24 Completed FAFSA Form. (This is the Free Application For Federal Student Aid Form).
  • 2021 Federal and 2021 NYS Tax Returns for the person who claims you as a dependent. All tax returns must have signatures.
  • 2021 W-2 income forms for the person or persons who are providing the tax returns.
  • 2021 Other earned income statements (like Social Security statements or any other earned income).
  • 2021 Federal and 2021 NYS Tax Return for the student, if the student worked in 2021 and filed a tax return. Must be signed.

For additional information, call 845-398-4028 or email [email protected].

For directions to campus for a campus visit, please visit this page.

Space is limited, early application is encouraged.