UNM Equal Opportunity Center Awarded Grant
September 6, 2021 - Dorene DiNaro
The U.S. Department of Education announced that The University of New Mexico will receive a federal Educational Opportunities Center (EOC) grant of $273,793.00 to help unemployed workers, low-wage workers, and returning high school and college students enter or continue a program of postsecondary education. This is the 19th year that UNM has received this grant.
EOC provides counseling and information on college admissions and services to improve participants’ financial and economic literacy. Among comprehensive services are academic and personal counseling, tutoring and mentoring, career workshops, information on postsecondary education opportunities, student financial assistance, and help in completing applications for college admissions. EOC programs offer services to a broad range of adult learners, including those who are limited English proficient, from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education, individuals with disabilities, homeless individuals, youth aging out of the foster care system, and other disconnected students.
EOC began in 1972 and is part of a set of federal educational opportunity outreach programs known as “TRIO,” which is authorized by the Higher Education Act to help low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities succeed in higher education. In FY20 there were 139 Educational Opportunity Centers in America serving more than 192,000 adult learners nationwide.
“The UNM-EOC staff are very excited for the renewal of the EOC Grant for the 2021-2026 cycle,” says Marcial Martinez, EOC Director. “With the proposed grant plan, we aspire to transform the lives of New Mexicans residing in our target Counties of Bernalillo, Socorro, Torrance and Valencia by not only providing them the necessary tools for them to achieve a postsecondary education but also advising, coaching, guiding and mentoring them, as they move forward with their education.”
“As systemic inequality and financial hardship discourage students from succeeding in college, TRIO programs like EOC take on new importance because they continue to help guide un- and underemployed workers and returning high school and college students towards earning a degree,” said Maureen Hoyler, president of the non-profit Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) in Washington, D.C. COE is dedicated to furthering the expansion of college opportunities for low-income, first-generation students, and students with disabilities nationwide.