EOPS celebrates 50 years

By De’Jon Sylvain, Advocate Staff

Needing a helping hand is commonplace, however, maintaining consistent support over a period of decades is something few systems exist long enough to recognize.

The Extended Opportunity Program and Services (EOPS) 50th anniversary recognized and celebrated the program’s role in helping students achieve academic success.

Students, faculty and staff assembled in Fireside Hall Sept. 12 and enjoyed ice cream sundaes and music in celebration of the EOPS milestone.

Academic-Student Services Manager George Mills highlighted the sense of brotherhood and moving forward, which could be felt by celebration attendees.

“The event was a way for us to break bread with one another and to be supportive of each other,” he said.

EOPS counselor Jeanette McClendon said the event signifies how faculty and staff care about the students at CCC and how they embrace student success.

“The 50th anniversary was our tribute to the legacy, generosity and joy that EOPS is and brings to every institution and to our students,” she said.

The program stemmed from an era of hardship that helped ensure students with economic disadvantages received access to services and programs.

“EOPS is a state-funded program that originated in 1969 and stemmed from the Civil Rights Movement,” McClendon said. “It helps students who are academically or economically disadvantaged obtain a certificate, degree or transfer.”

EOPS provides direction and academic support for low-income and first generation students seeking higher education.

“We are here to help students reach their academic goals by providing comprehensive support and services,” McClendon said.

The services help students acquire access to counseling, supplies and textbooks.

It also assists with priority registration, transfer scholarships, useful workshops and helps with paying for things like parking permits, bus passes, school supplies and transfer applications.

According to program statistics, over 140 students received associate degrees and certificates of completion/achievement during the last academic year and EOPS plans to help that number grow.

As part of its success strategy, EOPS incorporates different workshops and programs such as the summer academy that allows students to visit local landmarks, museums and other universities.

There are requirements students must meet to qualify for EOPS assistance.

CCC students who are interested in the EOPS program must be enrolled in at least 12 units and apply for the California Promise Grant fee waiver. They must also complete and submit an EOPS application.

Students who need help, or have additional questions regarding EOPS, can find information in the EOPS/CARE + CalWORKs Office located in the Student Services Center.