Helping students to reach their goals

This year more than 200 students are graduating who may otherwise have been lost between the cracks without the support from one program.

Extended Opportunity Programs and Services offers guidance and assistance to qualified low income students and educationally disadvantaged students.

Whether it’s financial or educational circumstances that prevent a student from reaching success, EOP&S is designed to help qualifying students discover and achieve their academic goals.

Students must submit a formal application and meet the EOP&S requirements. Qualified students will have be eligible for the Board of Governors Fee Waiver A or B, be enrolled in at least 12 units a semester and be a California resident or meet the California Dream Act standards.

Once in the program, students are introduced to different avenues of achievement through the resources distributed by EOP&S.

“Within the EOP&S program, we talk to students a lot about what they’re doing here at Pierce and what they would like to do with their education after Pierce,” said Kalynda McLean, the director of EOP&S. “Whether they are pursuing a certificate, degree and/or a transfer program, it’s incredibly important that we foster long term success.”

Student Services Assistant Latice Gustavis said EOP&S is a valuable service that students should use because of the variety of educational opportunities that are afforded to them through this program.

Resources include: EOP&S counseling with a mentor, tutoring, and access to a computer lab and a book service. These programs are allotted specifically for EOP&S use.

The EOP&S computer lab is available to qualifying students who do not have access to the technologies required to complete a class. Access to a computer lab is meant to help close the digital divide between students who can and cannot afford extra resources such as computers.

EOP&S provides a book service that can help students afford textbooks for class. Gustavis said this service is like a voucher that enables students to receive the required texts for class if students prove that they are enrolled in at least 12 units and have attended three counseling sessions.

Other resources offered under EOP&S are specialized programs such as Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE), which helps single parents in college, and Cooperating Agencies Foster Youth Educational Support (CAFYES), which helps foster youths.

Liz Strother, the assistant director of EOP&S and counselor said the goal of these programs is so that eligible students from all backgrounds have the ability to reach academic achievement with the help of the EOP&S.

“Our students are amazing. We have the highest number of students in our program then we’ve ever had that are graduating this year,” Strother said. “We have about 255 graduating and well over 95 percent are planning to transfer to a four-year university.”

Students interested in EOP&S resources can apply for next semester starting in July.