What Is the Educational Opportunity Fund?
The Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) is one of the nation's most comprehensive and successful state-supported efforts to provide access to higher education for students who lack the economic resources and academic preparation to attend college. Qualified students receive support services that include counseling, tutoring and academic advisement. A summer program is held annually for incoming EOF students and is designed to prepare students for the challenges of college life.
Rowan College EOF Mission
The EOF program at Rowan College is part of a center for learning that provides access to higher education for students who demonstrate great potential to succeed but lack the economic and academic resources. The program provides funding for comprehensive support services to empower first-generation college students who are underprepared, underrepresented and from diverse backgrounds with the means to earn a degree at Rowan College. The program promotes academic excellence through innovative support services and programs focused on student retention, graduation and transfer.
In November 1967, in the aftermath of the previous summer's riots in Newark, New Jersey's newly appointed Chancellor of Higher Education, Ralph A. Dungan, directed a memorandum to the presidents of all state institutions of higher education. In this document, he outlined a proposed program of special assistance to young men and women from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. The presidents' response was immediate, widespread and overwhelmingly favorable. Administrators were particularly enthusiastic at institutions that participated in the federally supported Upward Bound Program, which sought to help high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds prepare for entry into college.
The following February, the Select Commission on Civil Disorders (the Lilly Commission, established in response to the events in Newark) reported to Governor Richard Hughes, who subsequently submitted his Moral Recommitment message to the New Jersey State Legislature. The message called for the establishment of a broad range of programs to address the basic conditions the commission cited as contributing to the summer's unrest. Among those programs was EOF, established by legislation sponsored by then-freshman legislator Thomas Kean Sr.
EOF set the pace for many initiatives that are widely incorporated into college life today. Among the many powerful EOF strategies are pre-college articulation, basic skills testing and remediation, systematic retention efforts, peer counseling and tutoring, academic support courses, multicultural curricula, human relations programming, student leadership development and outcomes-based program evaluation.
EOF also has been a leader and linchpin in the higher education system's effort to increase diversity. Although participation is not limited to minority students, EOF sponsors more than one-third of the African American and Latino students attending state colleges and New Jersey's independent institutions, and more than one-quarter of the African American and Latino students enrolled at New Jersey colleges and universities participate in the EOF program. EOF enrolls approximately 12.5% of first-time, full-time New Jersey freshmen who enter the state's colleges and universities each fall.
The New Jersey Higher Education website provides more information about the New Jersey EOF program.