The Opportunity Programs at Hamilton College consists of two programs designed to provide access to select, promising high school students whose economic or academic circumstances would otherwise prevent them from attending Hamilton College.
Program Philosophy

The Opportunity Program (OP) provides access to a high quality liberal arts education for talented and motivated students whose academic and financial circumstances would make them otherwise unable to attend our institution. OP consists of students from New York admitted through the state’s Higher Education Opportunity Program and students admitted through Hamilton’s Scholars Program who live outside of New York and/or have a family income that exceeds HEOP guidelines.


The goal of OP is to realize student success pre- and post-graduation through the promotion of academic excellence; development of meaningful and inclusive social engagement; capacity to persist in the face of adversity; cultivation of a strong sense of purpose and meaning; development of trust in one’s agency; and motivation to contribute to the common good.

The overarching philosophy of OP summer program is a student-centered approach to academic and social support that serves the students holistically and helps to onboard them for their experience at Hamilton.

New York State Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program

The New York State Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) was established by the State Legislature in 1969 to provide access to independent colleges and universities for students from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. Economic eligibility is based on state-mandated income guidelines. Academic criteria are determined by each HEOP institution: a student enrolled in HEOP does not meet the institution's traditional admissions profile, but has demonstrated academic competitiveness, leadership, initiative, and the potential for success in a rigorous academic environment with support and is among the top performers in their high schools. There are no compromises in the admission process. HEOP helps to remove academic and financial barriers that may otherwise prevent students from graduating from a four-year private college.

The Hamilton College Scholars Program

The Hamilton College Scholars Program runs parallel to the Higher Education Opportunity Program. Hamilton Scholars are students who are ineligible for HEOP because they do not meet its economic or residential criteria. The College Scholars Program is entirely funded by Hamilton College. Scholars hail from all over the United States and include eligible international students.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Opportunity Program is not a diversity program. This academic program is designed for students, regardless of their ethnic backgrounds, who have demonstrated academic competitiveness, leadership, initiative, and the potential for success in Hamilton's rigorous academic environment with support.

There are approximately 160 students in the Opportunity Program with 35-40 new students enrolling each year.

Opportunity Program students hold leadership roles as teaching assistants, community advisors, EMTs, admission interns, Student Assembly representatives and Honor Court representatives. They also serve on the executive boards of organizations such as: BLSU, Womyn's Center, ACS, MSA, CAB, Feminist of Color Collective, Chess Club and the Voices of Color Lecture Series.

Yes. Your successful completion of the five-week summer course is the beginning of your college experience and also the beginning of your relationship with the Opportunity Programs office. You will continue to work through a program protocol during your four years at Hamilton.

Yes. If a student is interested in studying abroad, Hamilton College as well as the Opportunity Program office will encourage the student to take part in a semester abroad. More than half, 56 percent, of students in the Opportunity Program participate in study-abroad programs.

Despite our backgrounds or other separating factors, we all shared the mission of ensuring the possibility of higher education for those who wanted it most.

Jasmine Murray '18 Reflecting on her participation in New York Student Aid Alliance Advocacy Day


Office / Department Name

Opportunity Program

Contact Name

Aaron Ray

Director of Opportunity Program

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