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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 eof@ocean.edu for more information or questions!

What is EOF?

The Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) is a state-funded program designed to assist low-income New Jersey residents who are capable and motivated but lack adequate preparation for college study. EOF supports a wide array of campus-based outreach and support services at 41 participating colleges and universities in New Jersey.

Ocean County College is one of 19 participating community colleges.

Our Mission

To provide access to higher education

Students are evaluated for admittance based on a history of poverty, academic readiness, potential, and motivation. An interview is required. Students must register full-time (12 credits or more) and also complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

What the Educational Opportunity Fund Offers

  • Comprehensive service and support
  • A community of like learners
  • A network of support
  • Private professional academic coaching
  • Academic advising
  • A financial grant
  • Opportunities for growth
  • Continued eligibility at your 4-year NJ university/college destination

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.  For additional information, contact the EOF Office

FAQ

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 your other financial aid awards. You must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every October to requalify your eligibility for financial aid and EOF.

Through a selective process, we look for motivated students with potential as well as the interest and ability to work with advisors. The interview serves as an important process in making selections. It offers a chance for applicants to be informed and make an active choice in accepting a possible offer to join EOF.

We document applicants’ history of poverty. Did you grow up poor? Did your family receive government assistance such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), General Assistance (GA), Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), or Work First New Jersey (WFNJ)?

EOF is NOT an entitlement program, applicants are selected. Eligibility does not always result in acceptance and 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.

Once all supporting documents have been supplied, we review your folder and can make an admission decision quickly. You will need 2 years of income documentation, both taxable and non-taxable, as well as other documents that help us understand the financial/economic history of your family.

Be mindful of all communications from our Financial Aid office as well as the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA), documents required by either entity affect our ability to award and process an EOF grant.

No. As long as you remain enrolled, you do not have to reapply. Remember, however, on October 1 to complete your FAFSA for the next academic year. Applying for financial aid is required 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: https://www.nj.gov/highereducation/EOF/EOF_Eligibility.shtml

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 Students Standing in front of the Graduation Sign
If you have completed an application and wish to interview, contact us today at: eof@ocean.edu.

New Students

Interested students are encouraged to fill out an Application! Once completed, contact us to schedule an interview.

*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 2023 – Spring 2024

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

NJ Alterative Financial Aid – Dreamer Application

Presidential Book Award Application – Initial

Presidential Book Award Application – Renewal

Dreamer FAQ’s

For information about requesting tax return documentation, visit the IRS website.

This service will include instructions on how to obtain:

  • A Tax Return Transcript
  • Wage and Income Transcript (If you did not file taxes)
  • Verification of Non-Filing Letter

You will have the option to Request Online or Request by Mail
Please choose the manner in which you will make the request and follow the directions.

Please note:

  • Pay close attention to the required documents needed to make the request including social security and/or individual tax identification number, etc
  • If you get misdirected you can get back to the request page by clicking ‘Tax Record (Transcript) on the left-hand column under the heading, “Your Information”
  • You may find yourself directed to a different site depending upon the server/search engine you use. We recommend using the Google Chrome browser.

For more information, visit the IRS website.

Current EOF Students

Throughout your time with EOF, you will receive individualized support and guidance, which maximizes your opportunities for success and learning. You must complete your requirements each semester to stay in good standing. Communication is most important. If you have challenges, questions, or need some tough love, EOF is here to help!

Requirements

  • Complete your FAFSA, live on October 1 for the next academic year
  • Register for 12 or more credits – if you need to attend part-time, see your Advisor for approval
  • Meet monthly with your advisor – build a working relationship that supports your needs, goals, and dreams
  • Maintain satisfactory progress –  maintain a 2.0 or above
  • Utilize coaching regularly – we have excellent, paid professional academic coaches waiting to work with you
  • Attend a seminar, workshop, or other offered program on or off campus to meet your Life Long Learning requirement
  • Check in with EOF Canvas regularly – read announcements and emails to 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

EOF Advisors & Academic Coaches

Find Your Advisor

Michele Gioxaris

Phone: 732-255-0400 ext. 2340
Email: mgioxaris@ocean.edu

Theresa Skopkowski

Phone: 732-255-0400 ext. 2078
Email: tskopkowski@ocean.edu

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 Honors / Distinctions
Hailey Sadowski
  • 4.0 GPA EOF State Academic Achievement Awardee
  • Valedictorian
  • Distinguished Scholar
Tori Benoit
  • EOF State Academic Achievement Awardee
  • Outstanding Scholar
Leticia Lacerda
  • EOF State Academic Achievement Awardee
  • Academic Scholar
Mattalyn McCaffery
  • 4.0 GPA
  • EOF State Academic Achievement Awardee
  • Distinguished Scholar
Melissa Binoya
  • Outstanding Scholar
  • EOF Exemplar

EOF @ Ocean Graduates

Alexus Anderson Sandra Arias Nicholas D’Elia
Mavan Dossous Meredith Fabozzi Katelynn Kappock
Dmytro Kushka Samantha Sesta Czianell Magbago

Chi Alpha Epsilon Beta Chi Chapter EOF National Honor Society

Chi Alpha Epsilon’s Beta Chi Chapter at Ocean County College recognizes EOF students who have held a 3.0 cumulative GPA for two consecutive full-time semesters or three or four part-time semesters.

Contact Information:

Phone: 732-255-0311 or 732-255-0400 ext. 2026
Email: eof@ocean.edu
Location: Library (Bldg. #3) Room 124
Hours: Mon-Fri 8:00am – 4:30pm

Staff

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

Michele Gioxaris, Program Coordinator & Student Advisor
Educational Opportunity Fund
732-255-0400 ext. 2340
mgioxaris@ocean.edu

Academic Coaches

Theresa Skopkowski, Academic Coach, Advisor
Educational Opportunity Fund
732-255-0400 ext. 2078
tskopkowski@ocean.edu

Jonas Weissbrod, Academic Coach
Educational Opportunity Fund
732-255-0400 ext. 2026
jweissbrod@ocean.edu

Rochelle Blum, Academic Advisor
Educational Opportunity Fund
732-255-0400 ext. 2026
rblum@ocean.edu

Christine Cassidy, Academic Coach
Educational Opportunity Fund
732-255-0400 ext. 2026
ccassidy@ocean.edu

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