The Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOP&S) at PCC, has been helping socially and economically disadvantaged students achieve their education goals since it was first implemented in state colleges in the spring of 1970.
Senate bill 164 passed by the state Senate in 1969 addressed some of the educational injustices and inequalities after the Civil Rights movement. The bill created the EOP&S program within the California Community College system. At first, the program was only offered at 46 community colleges, but now 113 community colleges out of 115 in the state offer the program.
“I started two years ago my first semester. I didn’t have nobody and didn’t even know the program existed,” Carlos Vasquez said. “I didn’t have the motivation and failed a couple of my classes. I heard about EOP&S and met Dr. Morales, it’s crazy because I never had support, and these are people who ask if you are ok, it’s like you matter and I never had that.”
Vazquez and other students in the program are grateful for the resources provided by the EOP&S and want to encourage Lancers to seek the resources offered, also to reach out to counselors for help and students who might find themselves in the same situation he was before joining.
The EOP&S provides students with book vouchers, bus passes, parking permits, tutoring and weekly support groups to help students reduce stress and motivate them to continue studying throughout the week.
“EOP&S has helped me stay in school. I think without it I wouldn’t be here. The priority registration, that alone just, you know it’s so hard to [register] for classes here at PCC,” Wendy Bermeo stated. “Also parking permits help when I can get them, and the vouchers for the books help a lot. I’m a single parent, I take my son to school and come to class when he is in school. This semester I had to make adjustments.”
The resources offered help students from different age groups and difficulties complete associate degrees, vocational certificates and guides them through the educational programs at PCC to earn the opportunity of transferring to 4 year universities.
Lancers in the program come from diverse backgrounds and find themselves with a second family that offers the support and motivation to achieve higher education.
“I had a course I was really struggling with and I was referred to the EOP&S tutoring services,” Teresa Camacho said. “Last semester the tutor I had was great, the program also helps me with the learning process. I’ve been part of the EOP&S for about a year. If you are a low-income student try EOP&S [because] it’ll make your life easier.”
The program significantly helps students connect and build a family on campus. It currently serves approximately 846 students and helped 260 students graduate last June, a significant increase from the previous year where approximately 160 graduated.
The application process for the Spring semester is currently open and EOP&S counselor Dr. Maribel Morales is encouraging Lancers to apply if they meet the qualifications. Dr. Morales estimates that the program will help 300 students graduate next June.
To qualify for EOP&S students must be residents of California, receive Board of Governors Waiver (BOGW), be educationally disadvantaged and be enrolled in 12 units the first semester in the program.
“My hope is that we continue to grow with the students, knowing who we are, we have the capacity to [help] up to 1200 students and bring more support to students and faculty as well,” Dr. Morales stated. “We provide the assistance and guidance, our goal is to help students graduate and transfer, depending on their goal, but to finish their graduation.”