Published February 24, 2021
A new cooperative project between UB’s Educational Opportunity Center and SUNY Empire State College establishes a pipeline for EOC students to access resources and support from SUNY Empire, as well as helping prepare incoming SUNY Empire students for their studies.
The agreement between the two institutions waives SUNY Empire’s $50 initiation fee. It also provides a one-time, $100 Better Together Scholarship to help EOC encourage students to enter college and establish a “foundation of support” for SUNY Empire students.
“SUNY Empire State College is an excellent option for many of our adult learners who would like to utilize their personal and professional experiences to obtain college credit,” says Julius Gregg Adams, EOC executive director.
“This exciting opportunity for Buffalo EOC students, alumni and employees to have the $50 orientation fee waived and the provision of a one-time $100 Better Together Scholarship will allow our students to continue their personal and professional growth by entering college or taking college courses.
“I want to thank Dr. Nathan Gonyea, officer in charge, SUNY Empire State College, and his staff, for helping us create this partnership.”
SUNY Empire will host a virtual signing of the agreement from 6-7 p.m. Feb. 25. Adams and Gonyea will give short speeches during the first part of the event. There will be an information session for the remainder of the hour hosted by Colleen Reedy, assistant director of EOP, student success, in the Office of Academic Affairs at SUNY Empire, and Ciara Johnson, EOC’s supervisor of enrollment management.
The project includes providing EOC students assistance and remedial support, if needed, while they transition from EOC courses to college, including help in earning college credit for work they complete at the EOC. Students accepted into SUNY Empire will be able to enroll in the EOC’s summer College Prep or Academic Review programs before they start their studies at SUNY Empire.
Adams says this collaboration will increase students’ chances of success.
“Eventually,” he says, “this will add to the review of EOC coursework that Empire College may assign college credit to. We see this as a pilot that could lead to the adoption of this approach by all of the EOCs.”
The idea of the collaboration began in the fall of 2019 when EOCs throughout the state began their rebranding campaign. The Buffalo EOC reached out to SUNY Empire to discuss possible ways to partner and pipeline, according to Adams.
“Once the pandemic hit, our attention was refocused on dealing with transitioning classes to remote, safety issues and learning how to live and educate in the new ‘norm’ that included the COVID-19 virus,” he says,
A year later, at Adams’ request, EOC officials reached out to representatives from SUNY Empire, and in the fall of 2020, they found they shared similar goals.
“At the same time, they were interested in following up with us about potential collaborations,” Adams says.
These discussions led to a MOU agreement between the two institutions, resulting in the agreement to waive SUNY Empire’s orientation fee and the $100 scholarship.
Designed to serve more than 1,940 students each year, the Buffalo EOC is one of four Urban Centers created in 1966 under SUNY supervision. Funded by the governor and state legislature, the state’s EOCs provide occupational training and college preparatory programs to disenfranchised populations.
SUNY Empire was established in 1971 as a pioneering, statewide SUNY institution focused on educating students at any stage of life or learning, with faculty mentors working closely with students to design individualized degree programs. Today, the college offers more than 110 online degrees and certificates, and locations in every region of the state and seven international sites so students can pursue their education around the demands of a busy life — whether online, face-to-face or a blend of both.