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Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF)

The Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) will temporarily be located in the W. Kable Russell Building (#7), Room #230/231. Contact for more information or questions!

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What is EOF?

The Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) is a state-funded program designed to provide academic and financial support to students economically and educationally affected by a history of poverty. EOF supports students who are capable and motivated, but who may lack adequate preparation for college, and/or may be the first in their families to attend college.

Our Mission

To provide access to higher education

Students are evaluated for admission based on state financial criteria, including a history of poverty, academic readiness, potential, and motivation. An interview is required.

We recommend students register full-time (12 credits or more), as limited part-time opportunities exist. Applicants must also complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) annually.

What the Educational Opportunity Fund Offers

  • A community of like learners
  • Comprehensive service and support
  • Private academic coaching
  • Academic advising
  • A financial grant
  • Continued eligibility at NJ senior institutions

You May Be Eligible

  • Are you the first in your family to attend college?
  • Do you or your family have a low annual income?
  • Do you or your family participate in a government assistance program?
  • Will you register for 12 or more credits?
  • Have you registered for ENGL 151/098, MATH 023 or MATH 161/165?
  • Are you eligible for PELL, TAG, or CCOG grants?

All are welcome to apply, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression.  EOF enrollment is determined by state funding, apply early.

This is a summary of identified eligibility for EOF. Additionally, applicants must have income that falls within the EOF Income Eligibility Scale.                                                                                                     

History of Poverty

Long-term, documented economic hardship, no accumulation of assets, inability to provide more than the basic needs, demonstrated by one of the following:

  • Having attended or graduated from a school district where 40% or more of the enrolled students meet the eligibility criteria for the free/reduced-price lunch program
  • Having resided in a municipality that is a high-distress/labor surplus area, or is considered an eligible urban aid municipality
  • Having resided in an area that historically has been populated by low-income families; such an area, commonly called a “pocket of poverty,” has characteristics of a high-distress/labor surplus area, even if the municipality is not formally so identified
  • Being a first-generation college student who is, or whose family is, eligible for government assistance and/or educational programs targeted toward low-income and disadvantaged populations (TRIO programs, free and reduced breakfast/lunch programs, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly food stamps)
  • Having successfully completed a NJ GEAR UP state project or NJ College Bound grant program
  1. Must demonstrate an educationally and economically disadvantaged background
  2. Must be a New Jersey resident 12 consecutive months prior to receiving the award
  3. Must apply and be accepted to a participating New Jersey college or university
  4. Must meet the academic criteria as set by the institution of choice
  5. Must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the New Jersey Alternative Financial Aid Application.
  6. Gross income and assets must fall within the criteria shown:

Household Size
















































GROSS INCOME: Add $9,440 for each additional family member

GROSS INCOME: Add $10,280 for each additional family member

ASSETS: Add $1,888 for each additional family member

ASSETS: Add $2,056 for each additional family member

Anyone who believes that they may be eligible for EOF is welcome to apply. Our service priorities are as follows:

Renewal students who were funded during the previous academic year.

First-time, full-time freshmen  

Students that have earned 24 or more college credits while in high school or who participated in a dual enrollment program and have earned an associate’s degree as part of their high school graduation requirements and have no prior history of EOF funding support.

EOF transfer students who received an EOF student grant at their previous institution, in the preceding academic year.

Renewal students readmitted or returning who did not receive funding the prior academic year.

Eligible students who do not fall into any of the other four categories listed above.

Waiting List – A waiting list will be established if funds are exhausted before the last date of the grant-awarding period. The waiting list will be in effect until the last day of the spring award cycle.


EOF is an academic support program that makes access to college possible with funding and guidance to students who have grown up in poverty.

If you can answer yes to one or more of these questions, you may be eligible:

  • Are you the first in your family to attend college?
  • Do you or your family have a low annual income?
  • Do you or your family participate in a government assistance program?
  • Will you register for 12 or more credits?
  • Have you registered for ENGL 151/098, MATH 023, or MATH 161/165?
  • Are you eligible for PELL, TAG, or CCOG grants?

YES. EOF will be listed among other financial aid awards. Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) annually to continue eligibility for federal and state aid like EOF.

We seek motivated students with potential, interest, and the ability to partner with an advisor. The interview is important in making admission decisions. It offers EOF an opportunity to get to know applicants and determine if EOF is a good match, and allows applicants to be informed and make an active choice in accepting an offer.

We follow state regulations documenting financial need and review each application with attention, and care. EOF is not an entitlement program – eligibility does not always result in acceptance or an award.

The interview helps us to review your eligibility. It is a chance for us to meet one-on-one and begin relationship-building. Working together with an EOF advisor is  the cornerstone of the work we do.

The interview is from 45 to 60 minutes long. We ask a series of questions. All you need to do is be yourself. We suggest you use the interview to determine if EOF is a good match for you. Does our program support your goals and objectives? Can EOF help you earn your degree? Ask us how we can help.

We are pleased to also offer WebEx videos during this time of social distancing.

NO. As long as you remain enrolled from semester to semester, you do not have to reapply. However, you must complete a FAFSA each year to maintain EOF eligibility.

If eligible at OCC, you may be EOF eligible at a senior institution. We recommend you check with that institution regarding their admission process. Additionally, you may need to complete an EOF application, interview, etc. This link identifies participating institutions and contact information:

Senior institutions will require a Transfer Form. That form identifies you as an EOF recipient and places you higher on the priority funding framework. Once you have completed our exiting process, we will send a transfer form to that institution with a copy to you.

No. Grants are a form of free monies and do not require repayment.

EOF is a vibrant community. We require academic coaching, meeting with your advisor, and being engaged on campus. We want you to grow as a scholar and as an individual. We want you to embrace the concept of lifelong learning.

A course shell in Ocean Connect lists all program requirements. Upon acknowledgment of acceptance, permission to access the course is provided.

EOF Newsletter – A Year In Review

Enjoy our EOF newsletter that celebrates who we are, commending our accomplishments and successes.

View Our Newsletter

New Students

If you have completed an application and wish to interview, contact us today at:

Interested students are encouraged to complete an application. Once completed, schedule your interview.

We offer interviews in person and through WebEx. We want to meet you. We encourage you to get to know us too.

*A Note about interviewing for EOF: Interviews in our new season of social distancing are also offered through WebEx. We want to meet you! We encourage you to take an opportunity to get to know us too!

Apply for Fall 2024 – Spring 2025

Current EOF Students

Throughout your time with EOF, you will receive individualized guidance and support, maximizing opportunities for success and learning.
EOF requires your presence and engagement. Review the EOF@OCEAN program requirements below.


  • Complete your FAFSA annually
  • Utilize academic coaching regularly
  • Check EOF Canvas often – stay in the know

Canvas Description

The EOF Canvas Shell looks just like a traditional course shell. ALL the requirements and activities you should be engaged in during your time at EOF are organized by credit hour and semester to guide you toward your Associate’s Degree.
In Announcements, we share the latest news about EOF and program happenings. You can reach out to academic coaches, advisors, and peers. You can upload documents and find any EOF document needed. Use this as another tool for your success – stay connected!

Canvas log-in

Additional Resources

NJ DREAM Act allows undocumented college students to pay in-state tuition rates. To request exemption from Nonresident Tuition and Fees, charged to non-New Jersey residents, students must complete, sign and submit the Application for In-State Tuition form via mail or bring the completed form with your high school transcript to Registration and Records, Ocean County College, College Drive, PO Box 2001, Toms River, NJ 08754-2001

Dreamer Affidavit

Alternative Financial Aid for NJ Dreamers

Dreamer FAQ’s

Documentation of ALL household income both taxable and non-taxable is required. Only tax transcripts from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are accepted. Whether you worked and filed, worked and did not file, or were not employed, official documentation from IRS is required. is a way you can register and identify yourself once and then access Veterans Association, Social Security, and IRS documents. See is a digital identification platform. A one-time identification allows users to create a profile, account to access government information.


  • Protects user identification
  • Authenticates you as the owner of the account
  • By telephone or by text
  • Verify identity
    • Driver’s License
    • Passport
    • Questions
  • Consent to share information with partner agencies

To create an ID.ME ACCOUNT

  • Email
  • Create password
  • Accept Terms of Service
  • Subscribe to Offers (if desired) OR Sign-in
    • Facebook
    • Google
  • DS Logon
    • Health Vet
    • LinkedIn

Once the account is created you will be able to retrieve from these entities, the following:


  •  Refund Status
  •  Tax Records
  • Apply for ITIN

Find Your Advisor

Laura Rickards

Phone: 732-255-0400 ext. 2400

Michele Gioxaris

Phone: 732-255-0400 ext. 2340

Jordan Mabe

Phone: 732-255-0400 ext. 2981

Jennifer Olah

Phone: 732-255-0400 ext. 2950

Honor Societies & Awards

EOF State Graduate Achievement Awards

Each year graduating EOF students are recognized by the EOF Board of Directors and the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education. To students who have demonstrated exceptional achievement during their college careers.

Name GPA & Honors / Distinctions
Melissa Amador 3.833 – Outstanding Academic Achievement
Victoria Crespo 3.278 – Academic Achievement
Eli Goldman 3.887 – Outstanding Academic Achievement
Pedro Higueros 3.83 – Outstanding Academic Achievement
Ruben Higueros 3.894 – Outstanding Academic Achievement
Trudy Ann Jackson 3.25 – Academic Achievement
Kayla Livolsi 3.875 – Outstanding Academic Achievement
David Morris 3.75 – Outstanding Academic Achievement
Abigail Neri Bruno 3.775- Outstanding Academic Achievement
Cody Parrish 2.992 – Outstanding Achievement
Isabella Pena 3.417 – Academic Achievement
Sadain Siddique 3.867 – Outstanding Academic Achievement
Ian Wheatle 3.727 – Outstanding Academic Achievement

Melissa Amador                                                Victoria Crespo                                 Shana-Kay Earl-Smith

Jaysen Emmons                                                Mariam Ghobrial                              Eli Goldman

Pedro Higueros                                                 Ruben Higueros                                Trudy Ann Jackson

Kayla Livolsi                                                        David Morris                                    Abigail Neri Bruno

Ericka Olsen                                                       Cody Parrish                                      Nichole Paternostro

Isabella Pena                                                      Sadain Siddique                                Karina Watson

Ian Wheatle                                                       Arianna Young


Laura F. Rickards, Director
Educational Opportunity Fund & The Center for Access and Equity
Tikkun Olam ~ Repairing the World
732-255-0400 ext. 2400

Michele Gioxaris, Assistant Director
Educational Opportunity Fund
732-255-0400 ext. 2340

Jordan Mabe, Recruiter / Advisor
Educational Opportunity Fund
732-255-0400 ext. 2981

Jennifer Olah, Office Coordinator
Educational Opportunity Fund
732-255-0400 ext. 2950

Academic Coaches

Renee Gregory, Academic and Study Skills Coach
Educational Opportunity Fund
(732) 255-0311

Jonas Weissbrod, Academic Coach
Educational Opportunity Fund

Rochelle Blum, Academic Advisor
Educational Opportunity Fund

Christine Cassidy, Academic Coach
Educational Opportunity Fund

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