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Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP)

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The Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) was created in 1969 by the New York State Legislature to help academically and economically disadvantaged New York Residents gain access to the state's private colleges and universities. 

HEOP at Mercy University has been in existence since the program's inception and currently serves more than 125 academically and financially disadvantaged students through an integrated program of support services designed to increase their chances of success. Services include a Pre-Freshmen Summer Program, tutoring, personal and academic counseling, financial aid and a wide range of cultural activities. 

New York State Education Department

HEOP at Mercy University and its activities are supported in part by the New York State Education Department and Mercy University.

The State Education Department does not discriminate on the basis of age, color, religion, creed, disability, marital status, veteran status, national origin, race, gender, genetic predisposition or carrier status, or sexual orientation in its educational programs, services and activities.

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Freshman Admissions Requirements

  • Resident of New York State
  • Possess a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Have not registered for college credit-bearing courses after high school graduation
  • Inadmissible to Mercy under regular admission guidelines
  • Demonstrate the academic potential for satisfactory completion of a degree program
  • Meet New York State income guidelines below
  • Attend mandatory Pre-Freshman Summer Program prior to their first year

Academic Eligibility
To apply, students must first complete an undergraduate admissions application. Once deemed academically eligible, students must complete and submit the forms listed in the Forms for Incoming Students section below.

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Transfer Admissions Requirements

To transfer to Mercy through HEOP, students must currently or previously have been enrolled in an approved HEOP, EOP, SEEK or College Discovery Program. Verification of status is required before final acceptance. Acceptance into the program as a transfer is dependent on space available within HEOP at Mercy University.

Academic Eligibility
Transfer students must be admitted to a Mercy University academic program prior to admission to HEOP. Please contact us at for more information or with any questions.

Note: General admission to Mercy University does not ensure admission through HEOP.

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Program Goals

The goal of HEOP at Mercy University is to increase the college retention and graduation rates of its participants and facilitate the process of transition from one level of higher education to the next. 

All of this is accomplished through: 


A mandatory Pre-Freshmen Summer Program where students take an English and math course 


Developmental/ Supportive/ Remedial coursework 

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Academic advisement and counseling 


Workshops on academic, career and personal topics 


Cultural activities and events 


Additional financial support 

Important Information

Financial Eligibility 

The following chart and guidelines are prescribed by the State of New York and determine financial eligibility for the Mercy University HEOP Program. In addition to these financial parameters, students and their parent(s) or legal guardians must be residents of the State of New York. If the student is considered independent or is a ward of the court, the residence of the parent is not considered. Financial eligibility for the 2024-25 academic year is based on income for the 2022 tax year.

The household income must not exceed the amount shown unless meeting one of the exceptions below. 

Household Size
(including head of household) 
Total Annual Income
in Previous Calendar Year 
1 $26,973
2 $36,482
3 $45,991
4 $55,500
5 $65,009
6 $74,518
7 $84,027
8 $93,536
Additional household members  Add $9,509
  • Students who live with foster parents and receive no support from the biological parents may be eligible irrespective of the foster parents' income.

  • In cases of extreme mismanagement of household income, a student may be eligible

  • In cases of a one-time fluctuation in earnings, a student may be eligible

  • In cases of extremely high medical costs, a student may be eligible

*Students in families who receive SSI or full public assistance, including rent, may be automatically eligible.

Economic Documentation 

Students are required to submit documentation to verify income. This may include:

  • Signed copy of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) application

  • Parent/Legal Guardian and/or student's W2s

  • Copies of full federal and state taxes, signed (including any schedules or forms)

  • Public assistance budget letters, or letters detailing social security benefits

  • Form 1099 - Detailing any social security, unemployment or other income or benefits

  • IRS Transcripts - Official transcripts from the IRS detailing what was filed, or if no tax return was filed

  • Any other documentation requested

Note: Students should apply for both FAFSA and TAP by no later than February 15.

Freshmen must attend a five-week summer academic program. The Pre-Freshman Summer Program is held on the Dobbs Ferry and Bronx campuses. Students commute while taking selected courses including reading, writing, math, study skills and college success strategies. They also attend cultural and social activities sponsored by HEOP at Mercy University and other Westchester-Rockland area colleges.

HEOP counselors meet weekly with each new student. Peer and professional tutors as well as the use of computer labs help students with the completion of classroom assignments. The Pre-Freshman Summer Program is at no cost to the student.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Yes, HEOP funds students up to ten semesters. 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.

Yes, there are limited tuition waivers for summer courses.

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 

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.

Contact Us

If you have any questions please reach out. 

Main University Opportunity Programs Office 
(914) 674-7627 

Eric Arguello 
Phone: (914) 674-7614 

Raynell Webb 
Counselor/Specialist - Dobbs Ferry 
Phone: (914) 674-7210 

Jessica De Jesus 
Counselor/Specialist - Bronx 
Phone: (718) 678-8848 

Caitlin Vasquez
Phone: (212) 968-3272

Heidi Barton
Administrative Assistant
Phone: (914) 674-3075

Office Locations 

We have offices located on the Dobbs Ferry, Bronx and Manhattan Campuses . 

Dobbs Ferry: 
University Opportunities Programs Office - Mercy Hall near SFS area 
555 Broadway 
Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522 

Bronx Office: 
University Opportunities Programs Office - Room 1255
1200 Waters Place 
Bronx, NY 10461 

Manhattan Office: 
Central Station/OES Area 
47 W. 34th Street 
New York, NY 10001