The League supports student financial aid programs


Mr. Editor,

Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) and Student Support Services (SSS) project staff appreciate Feryal Nawaz’s recognition in “SU Should Invest in Being Accessible to Underrepresented Students”. For those unfamiliar with our programs, HEOP is a New York State funded opportunity program and SSS is a federally funded TRIO program. Both programs are aimed at under-represented low-income and / or first-generation students. HEOP celebrates its 50th anniversarye anniversary at the League this year. SSS has been around for over 40 years.

We agree with Feryal Nawaz’s assertion that the League should support under-represented students. There is strength in diversity, and under-represented students have a powerful impact on the university. We are proud of our current students and the thousands of graduates our programs have produced. Their success proves that with the right academic and financial support, underrepresented and / or first generation students can accomplish incredible things; we have had University Fellows, Marshals, Remembrance Fellows, McNair Fellows, Our Time Has Come Fellows plus hundreds of students who have studied abroad, led student organizations, volunteered in the community, conducted research with faculty, and continued to do amazing things in their postgraduate life. We celebrate all the achievements of our students. The value of earning a bachelor’s degree has positive implications for generations to come. Diversity and access to education make the League and our nation stronger.

We would like to clarify that the HEOP and the SSS are both funded by matching agreements between Syracuse University and the state and federal governments; therefore, concerns about program funding revolve around legislation in state and federal budgets. We also want to recognize that the university has supported our programs for the past 50 years; we would not be successful without the many campus offices that support the work we do. The support of Chancellor Kent Syverud to the HEOP and the SSS is also important. We believe that when it comes to issues of social justice and diversity, Chancellor Syverud is sincere in his support. Executing this support through broader university systems and structures is where student-led social justice initiatives identify opportunities for improvement, and we support student efforts to create dialogue and an action.

Once again, we thank Feryal Nawaz for recognizing HEOP and SSS. We stand in solidarity with students, our sister opportunity programs, staff, faculty, fellow members of the university, and friends who believe in a diverse, equal and inclusive community. Let’s continue to work together.

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HEOP and SSS staff

Syracuse University