» By ERICKA CONLEY – econley@my.apsu.edu

APSU has helped develop many resources to assist students in overcoming adversity and obstacles associated with starting college.
Entering college can be daunting, especially to non-traditional, low-income or foreign students.

The Educational Opportunity Center provides help to those students fitting the criteria mentioned.

APSU has been awarded a $1.8 million grant for the EOC.

“The EOC received this grant through a grant competition created by the Department of Education,” said John Johnson, director of the EOC. “Grants are funded for five years, called a funding cycle. The fourth year of each cycle, a grant competition is administered to existing grants as well as agencies and schools who wish to apply in the hopes of receiving a grant.”

Established in 1982, the EOC was put in place to help people who wanted to attend college or other training programs.

The EOC program helps low-income adults realize their full potential and not succumb to barriers preventing them from getting an education.

“The funds will be utilized to assist primarily low-income and first-generation adults to further their education. In pursuit of this, we provide funding for General Education Diplomas, if a high school diploma was not earned. Services include information about post-secondary institutions, financial aid and career counseling,” Johnson said.

“Our goal is to increase the number of educated adults in the target area: Montgomery, Houston and Stewart Counties in Tennessee and Christian County in Kentucky,” Johnson said.

From its inception, the program has provided assistance to more than 34,500 adults who had a desire to pursue a college education.

Provost Tristan Denley, said, “The grant will allow the EOC at APSU to continue to provide services for the next five years. Some of the money will be used to provide counselors and advisors to assist the adults who seek service through the center while other funds are used to create awareness of the program in the community. It is one of the ways in which APSU is able to help adults who seek to explore higher education.”

The EOC has also worked with other community agencies and organizations that encourage educational growth.

Along with Montgomery County, the EOC also serves the people of Stewart, Christian and most recently, Houston County.

The funding for the EOC is under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965.

There will be funding for a total of five years, from 2011-16. The amount issued per year will be $373,614.

The EOC is also part of the TRIO Student Support services. The program operates as one of five TRIO programs at APSU. It serves as an encouragement for students to stay in school and graduate, and to also support students who are disabled, low-income or whose parents do not possess a four year college degree.

The other programs connected with TRIO are: High School Upward Bound, Tri-County Upward Bound and Veterans Upward Bound.

Students have many opportunities to become great and overcome adversity with the help of the EOC. Contacting the EOC to discuss eligibility is the first stop on the road to academic success.

Regardless of age, race or socioeconomic status, the EOC can assist current and prospective students. TAS