The dream of earning a college degree is becoming a reality for students, thanks to opportunity programs that include the Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) and the Collegiate Science and Technology Program (CSTEP), both of which are funded by the New York State Education Department (NYSED). Through a partnership with Vaughn College, these programs are giving New York State students a jump-start on their future—a futureproof education that begins at Vaughn.
This month, we are proud to share the amazing educational opportunities these programs offer and spotlight some of the success stories of Vaughn students who are pursuing their dreams because of these programs.
HEOP was designed for New York State residents who, without academic and financial support, might not be able to attend college. This program is an important part of life at Vaughn. The primary objective of HEOP is to help provide a broad range of services to help students enroll and succeed in college, which aligns with Vaughn’s mission and vision – to inspire a diverse community of students to achieve success with a transformational education that creates a lifetime of opportunity. Some of the academic and financial support services HEOP offers include the summer immersion program, tutorial services, counseling services and financial assistance.
Who is eligible for HEOP?
Individuals must meet certain criteria to be eligible for HEOP. These include:
- Being a New York State resident for at least one year prior to enrolling in a post-secondary institution
- Being a first-time freshman student
- Being a graduate of an approved high school, or having obtained a high school equivalency diploma
- Meeting the economic eligibility guidelines established by NYSED
- Meeting the academic eligibility guidelines established by Vaughn College HEOP program
Vaughn students find success through hard work and HEOP
In May 2020, Xylene DeCoteau received her bachelor’s degree in aircraft operations after an impressive academic career at Vaughn. While she was a student, she earned several licenses, which included her private pilot license (PPL), instrument rating (IR) and commercial pilot license (CPL) for both single and multi-engine aircraft. She has also earned her certified flight instructor airplane (CFIA) and certified flight instructor instrument (CFII) certificates, and she currently teaches and supports other students at Vaughn on a part-time basis.
“Everyone at Vaughn has supported my success, and I am happy and honored to have achieved so many of my goals. HEOP and hard work really made a difference. Plus, I get to fly and go to college at the same time. What can be better than that?”
Zarin Tasnim ’21 graduated with a bachelor’s degree in airport management. She overcame many cultural barriers, which included learning to speak English after having moved to New York from the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. After enrolling at Vaughn in 2017, the hard reality of not being able to afford the program forced her to begin the process of withdrawing from the College. HEOP provided Tasnim with the financial assistance she needed to remain a student at Vaughn.
“Without the support and guidance from HEOP and the Vaughn family, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Working as an airport manager will give me the experience that I need—right out of college—to help lay the groundwork for my future.”
Applying for Vaughn’s HEOP Program
If you are interested in applying for Vaughn’s HEOP program, you can start the process by sending an email to Melissa Teixeira at or Lauren Cajade at . They can help you determine if you are eligible and walk you through the various steps for admission.
CSTEP is intended to enable students to apply to college-level academic programs in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. Last fall, Vaughn implemented CSTEP to serve 100 students—at any given time and who are enrolled full-time—in a STEM-focused bachelor’s degree program. Like HEOP, CSTEP provides students with specific services related to the program. Depending on the student’s college level, the program will provide the following services to those enrolled:
- Mentorship by professors at the College
- Free gateway courses designed to increase student academic performance in fundamental courses
- Supporting extracurricular activities, such as participation in student-led clubs and activities
- Priority course registration for each semester the student is in CSTEP
- Opportunities to participate in professional conferences, seminars and networking events
- Opportunities to participate in career development events provided by the engineering department and the career services office
- Eligibility to participate in the summer research program – a paid research program that is supported by CSTEP and Vaughn College under the supervision of faculty members
- Participation in supplemental instructors’ program and tutoring services
Who is eligible for CSTEP?
The eligibility requirements for CSTEP differ from HEOP. A student who is eligible to be part of the CSTEP must be:
- A New York State resident
- In good academic standing (high school cumulative GPA of 3.0, or college cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher)
- Enrolled full-time in an AAS or BS program in engineering or engineering technology at Vaughn
Additionally, the student must be one of the following historically underrepresented minority groups:
- Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian or Alaskan Native
- Meet the economic eligibility guidelines established by NYSED
Applying for Vaughn’s CSTEP Program
If you meet the eligibility requirements and are interested in applying for the CSTEP program, fill out an application. For general inquiries about the program, please send an email to . For specific inquires or assistance, please reach out to Dr. Amir Elzawawy at or Cecelia Izzo at .
In summary, if you have your sights set on attending college – reach out to us and we can help you determine your eligibility for these programs and get you the support you need to achieve your dreams.