Morristown, N.J. (August 4, 2015) – This summer, 25 students enjoyed five weeks on campus during an introduction to college life through the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF). Attending classes, staying in the residence halls, being tutored and just relaxing with new friends, these young ladies began to realize that their dreams can become real.
EOF is a state sponsored program that provides students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to attend college. Students apply to both college and EOF on the common application. Once accepted, EOF funds several weeks on campus to help the students transition to college life, help develop skill sets, and earn up to 10 college credits to begin their freshman year. The students are accompanied by peer assistants who are students at the college and have been through the EOF program.
"My mom wanted me to go to a two-year college because we couldn't afford a four-year," says Evalise of Newark, N.J. "My guidance counselor at school urged me to apply to four-year colleges because she wanted me to get my degree, so I applied for EOF. The experience over the last five weeks has been demanding, but I have learned discipline for studying and completing projects on time."
Daylin, also of Newark, echoed Evalise's statement. "I have learned time management, how to prioritize and manage my classes," she says. "I am being tutored so I can be ready for the fall classes."
EOF students remain in the program throughout their years at CSE. Tutoring and support services are part of the program, but as Jonadad '17, or "Jo" to her friends, a peer assistant, says, "EOF offers much more than financial and academic support, it becomes your campus family with spiritual and emotional support."
Iesha of Newark says the five-week experience "calmed me down. I was very nervous about coming to college and the EOF people have made it easier. I'm not anxious anymore about continuing college."
Jamayrah, of Trenton, says, "EOF is teaching me how to become more than a student – to become a scholar and to educate myself outside of the classroom."
The EOF students have their dreams in place and are taking the steps to make them a reality. Among the career goals are sports physician, pediatric cardiologist, Supreme Court justice (she will start out in communication and math and work her way through law school), and prosecutor.
"I've been here a very short time, but it has already become apparent to me that our EOF program, staff, and students are CSE stars," says Dr. Monique Guillory-Winfield, vice president of academic affairs. "EOF truly embodies so much of our mission, ensuring students have every opportunity for success and realizing their higher education goals."
Allexus '17, from Trenton, N.J. who is a business and allied health studies major and a peer assistant, summed it up well. She says, "EOF is like a YouTube tutorial. You can play it over and over and it is always there for you."
Clifford Woodward, EOF director at CSE, sees the program as a holistic approach to learning. "We are empowering our students to become independent learners and thinkers and to have them recognize their full potential," he says. "We follow their progress very closely and encourage them to go beyond a bachelor's degree. We also help them find their own voice academically, socially, and politically so that they can give back to communities and empower others."
EOF alumnae often return to the program as tutors, recognizing the benefit they derived from the program and encouraging the new students. The alumnae act as role models as well, as successful professionals in their chosen fields.