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Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) FAQs

As a student of ethnic descent, do I automatically qualify for HEOP admission?

No, HEOP is not what is known as a "minority access program," rather, it was established in 1969 by the State Education Department (SED) to provide access, but principally academic support, for any qualifying New York State student - that is, one who meets both academic and economic eligibility standards.


What determines if I'm HEOP eligible?

For HEOP, a student must qualify both academically and financially. Therefore, each college/university that has HEOP will have different academic guidelines. However, each of the schools follow the same financial eligibility format provided by New York State. As a result, if you qualify at one school financially you should qualify financially at every school with HEOP. But, you may not qualify academically for each school.


I heard that HEOP pays for college textbooks, is this true?

It is true for some schools not all schools. For those programs that do assist with he cost of purchasing textbooks, the amount provided to students vary and does not typically cover all of the cost. Know that you may be responsible to put money towards the purchase of textbooks as well.


How is it my brother (sister) qualified for HEOP support but I don't, even though our household size and income have remained constant?

HEOP students must qualify, not only economically, but also academically. The guidelines for HEOP admission may vary from college to college, but are all based on HEOP students being inadmissible under Mercy's regular academic admission guidelines.


Why didn't I receive any financial support from HEOP when I transferred from my other college and was accepted into Mercy?

HEOP acceptance depends upon the availability of both space and funds. You must check with the HEOP office prior to entry to find out if transfer students are being accepted for the semester you plan to enter Mercy.


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

No, unfortunately, there are cases where eligible students were not aware of programs such as HEOP or who did not realize that HEOP is designed for first-time college students. If you have already earned college credits, you are not eligible to receive HEOP support services.


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

Yes, there is a personal contribution expected of each HEOP student. The amount is determined in Mercy's Financial Aid Office by evaluating several factors, including the household's previous year's gross income, the number of students attending college, participation in the college work study program, the students' ability to earn money during the summer or other factors related to the household's financial resources.


If I change my major causing me to have to stay in college for more than four years, will HEOP pay for my courses?

Yes, HEOP funds students up to five years. Therefore, if students change their major, re-take courses they performed poorly in, etc. and need an extra semester of year to graduate, HEOP can provide that support. Students are eligible for ten semesters of HEOP aid; anything past five years, students will have finance on their own.


I would like to graduate early; will HEOP help me pay for summer school?

Yes, there are limited tuition waivers for summer courses.


What does a typical HEOP freshmen financial aid award package look like?

Academically eligible HEOP students whose financial aid forms have been properly filed and approved generally receive the following:

  • TAP Grant
  • Federal PELL Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity grant (SEOG), but limited
  • HEOP Grant
  • Mercy HEOP Institutional Grant
  • Federal Direct Loan
  • Federal Work Study
  • Book Allowance
  • Travel/Stipend Money 

Is this HEOP program a residential program?

No, the HEOP program is primarily a commuter program; however, some spots are reserved for students to live in the residence hall if they live more than 50 miles away from one of the campuses (DF, BX, MT), foster youth, homelessness, or other special circumstances.