FAQ & EDP History

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the history of EDP?EDP ALUMNI REUNION - CAMPUS TOUR - April 2008
The Educational Opportunity Program combines access, academic support and supplemental financial assistance to make higher education possible for students who have the potential to study at the baccalaureate level and beyond, despite poor preparation and limited financial resources.  The Educational Opportunity Program had its origins in the late 1960's, during the Rockefeller Administration. The Master Plan of the State University for 1964 set forth a long-range commitment that “every student capable of completing a program of higher education shall have the opportunity to do so.” This objective was reaffirmed in the 2002-04 Master Plan which states: “As a public institution the University has a strong commitment to ensuring broad access and opportunity for New York State residents.” That commitment was reaffirmed in Mission Review. In 1967, then first-year Assemblyman, Arthur O. Eve, of the 141st Assembly District, gave further force to the principles of access and opportunity by developing the appropriation bill that gave birth to the Educational Opportunity Program. Modeled on the SEEK (Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge) program that had been instituted by Percy Sutton in the City University in the prior year, the first unit of what would become a university-wide opportunity program enrolled 249 students at the State University College in Buffalo, New York. In the following year, Assemblyman Eve was able to obtain sufficient funding to permit expansion to ten campuses. By the 1970-71 academic year, thirty campuses had enrolled more than 4,600 opportunity students and New York State Education Law §6452 had formally established the provisions of SEEK at the City University of New York, the Educational Opportunity Program in the State University of New York and the Higher Educational Opportunity Program at the independent colleges in New York. The Educational Opportunity Program now exists on 43 campuses in the University. Similar programs offer opportunities in the higher education systems of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and California. Today, graduates number more than 60,000 (as of S'12/OOP). Most continue to live in New York, enriching its economic and social fabric. Among their number are physicians, teachers, scientists, engineers, attorneys, artists, entrepreneurs and public servants. And, many have returned to the University as administrators and counselors who provide support to another generation of opportunity students. (Taken from Office of Opportunity Programs' website.)

The Office of OMay 2010 Graduate Artrese Reid and family at commencement.pportunity Programs, located at SUNY Central in Albany, New York,  oversees university-wide opportunity programs, including Fredonia's.  Oversight responsibilities include program leadership, policy development/implementation, fiscal planning and management, performance monitoring, data collection and reporting. For additional information about the Office of Opportunity Programs, visit their website: Office of Opportunity Programs. SUNY EOP celebrated 35 years in the fall of 2002 and EDP at Fredonia celebrated its 35th anniversary in September 2005.  Dr. Jeffrey J. Wallace, EDP director from 1972 - 1981, renamed the Educational Opportunity Program to Educational Development Program "to emphasize the developmental process that students go through to become successful, contributing citizens in society. Opportunity allows access, but what a college does with and for students, is the developmental nature of education."

Graduation and retention rates of Educational Opportunity Program students compare favorably to that of the general student population at many institutions of medium admissions selectivity. First year retention in the senior colleges is 84.5%  percent and the six-year 2008 graduation rate is 54%, respectively.


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Is EDP a minority or race based program?
No.  EDP is very ethnically and racially diverse. Currently, the SUNY Fredonia EDP's student body is composed of 41% African American, 23% Hispanic, 3% Asian, 1% Native American, 32% Caucasian, and 0% Other. Statistics from F'12 reports.

Is EDP a Financial Aid Program?
Although extremely important to the student, the amount of EDP direct aid award is relatively small. Ranging from $250-$900 per semester, the EDP award will not cover the cost for food or housing or any single primary college expense.

The major benefits of EDP are that it provides a vehicle to gain admission to college and then make2008 EDP Distinguished Alumnus Recipient - Shaun Nelmss available the counseling and tutoring support so valuable for students whose economic and educational circumstances have already placed them at a disadvantage.

Is EDP for less talented students?
EDP students have been identified as students who have the talent and ability to succeed in college but have been placed at a disadvantage for access by financial and academic circumstances. In fact, many EDP students have been accepted and/or are currently enrolled in graduate programs on an openly competitive basis. Many others are successfully competing, succeeding and contributing in their careers, families and communities.


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Page modified 2/19/13