What are TRIO Educational Opportunity Centers?

Educational Opportunity Centers can help students get to colleges like York

Flickr user York College of PA

You may have not heard of them, but Educational Opportunity Centers are one part of the Federal TRIO Programs. If you’re from a disadvantaged background or area, they may be something you want to look into to ensure you’re starting your college education off on the right foot. Here is an explanation of TRIO is and what Educational Opportunity Centers provide.

What are the Federal TRIO Programs?

TRIO originally referred to three federal programs: Upward Bound, Talent Search, and Student Support Service. However, over time, TRIO grew to include eight different programs. It now is made up of the original three, as well as Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement, Training Program for Federal TRIO Programs Staff, Upward Bound Math-Science, Veterans Upward Bound, and Educational Opportunity Centers.

All of these programs are dedicated to helping students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds or areas.

What are Educational Opportunity Centers?

Educational Opportunity Centers, or EOC, are one of the eight programs which focuses on providing assistance to those who are interested in attending college or vocational schools. It offers a variety of projects that help adults improve their financial literacy, participate in career workshops, and have access to academic advice.

EOCs also provides assistance to future students when it comes to completing their college applications, applying for financial aid and scholarships, preparing for the SAT and ACT, and studying for subjects. The end goal is to increase the number of adults going after a post secondary education, whether in college, university, or vocational schools. All of the programs within the center are free.

Who Can Use Educational Opportunity Centers?

Most Educational Opportunity Centers are only open to students and potential students who are over 19 years old. If the Talent Search Program is not available in the area, the center can help younger students. Participants can be US citizens, permanent residents, resident aliens, or people who show intent to become a permanent resident.

EOCs are required by law to have at least two thirds of participating students be first generation college students or from low income households, so you will generally be asked to fall into one of these categories to be able to take advantage of the center’s projects. You should be able to prove you are from a low income household through financial aid documents or tax returns.

Even if you don’t fall under one of the two categories, you may still be able to take part in the program. Contact the center to learn more about committing to participate.

Where Are Educational Opportunity Centers Found?

EOCs can be found in areas where there are generally disadvantaged students through colleges and universities. The school or center must have experience helping disadvantaged students or youth. Each Educational Opportunity center is then open to community members and students who qualify.

Educational Opportunity Centers can be a valuable resource if you need assistance applying for college or learning more about your options when it comes to education. Check your local colleges and centers to see if they participate in this part of the Federal TRIO Program.

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