Academics, Service/Advocacy, HEOP




Students from Siena’s Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) headed to the state Capitol on February 14 for the annual Student Aid Advocacy Day. They were among the many from across New York who participated in a student-alumni speak out and visited legislators and their staff to highlight the critical value of various state tuition assistance programs.

Siena has been making various efforts to lobby state legislators about the potential negative impact on private institutions of Gov. Cuomo's college tuition aid proposals.

“The quality of education, the small, tight-knit community and the assistance provided to so many students, both academically and financially, made Siena just the right fit for me and for many others,” said Wateek Jones ’17, of Port Chester, N.Y. “I’ve also been able to give back by tutoring other students. I’m here at Advocacy Day because I want other students to have the ability to choose a college that is the right fit for them.”

Gov. Cuomo’s “free tuition” proposal would be valid only at state colleges, unlike the well-known Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), which can be used at private colleges as well. If you would like to advocate for college choice and greater funding for higher education in New York, click here.

“The governor’s proposal is trying to do too much with a limited pool of resources,” said Jones. “We would like to see an increase in TAP that could be applied at a student’s college of choice.”

Other Siena HEOP students participating in Advocacy Day were Fabrice Michel ’17; Kwada Bodkin, Darenne Contreras-Sanchez, Leslie Cotrina, Uwaoma Okwu-uwa, Daniel Morales, NawEhKu, Gloria Rosario, Erik Salazar Sanchez and Douglas Hernandez (all Class of ’19) and Edwin Premchan ’20. The trip was coordinated by Melinda Civic, a Siena’s HEOP counselor.

Related: HEOP Networking Event