Confirmed victory

Increase budget appropriations and restore $1.9 million into the EOF budget.

This petition made change with 461 supporters!

The December 2010 Report of the Governor’s Task Force on Higher Education stated: “We need to protect those students who have talent and desire for a college degree but who cannot afford one. The state should provide a sufficient investment in the Educational Opportunity Fund, including an increase in funding as soon as possible. The Educational Opportunity Fund is a resounding success, helping thousands of low- income students get a college education.” 

The New Jersey Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) Program is the state’s only comprehensive program designed to provide access to New Jersey’s colleges and universities for low-income, highly motivated students who exhibit the potential for success, but lack the quality educational preparation necessary to attend college. The Fund works in partnership with the Educational Opportunity Fund Professional Association as well as New Jersey colleges and universities to maximize educational opportunities for eligible EOF students by providing direct program services designed to promote persistence through degree completion. EOF supports innovative educational initiatives, supplemental instruction, support services, and leadership development activities to improve the student’s chance of academic success. 

Annually, nearly 13,000 students are impacted by EOF. Since 1968, the Fund has allowed for over 36,000 students to graduate and it continues to give thousands more the hope that they too can attend a college or university here in New Jersey and make their dreams a reality. 

EOF set the pace for many initiatives which today are widely incorporated into college life. Among the many powerful strategies implemented by EOF are precollege articulation, basic skills testing and remediation, systematic retention efforts, peer counseling and peer tutoring, academic support courses, multicultural curricula and human relations programming, student leadership development, and outcomes-based program evaluation. 

EOF has also been a leader and a linchpin in the higher education system's effort to increase diversity. While participation is not limited to minority students, EOF sponsors more than one-third of the African American and Latino students at the state colleges and New Jersey's independent institutions, and over one-quarter of the African American and Latino students enrolled at New Jersey colleges and universities participate in the EOF program. EOF enrolls about 12.5% of the first-time, full-time New Jersey freshmen who enter the state's colleges and universities each fall.

Over the last eight years the Fund has received both a reduction followed by multiple years of level annual appropriations, while the cost of college attendance has continued to increase and the gap between state aid (TAG and EOF) and college costs continues to expand. The last appropriation increase was during fiscal 2006 and later reduced in fiscal 2011. Since FY 2009 total enrollment in the EOF program has been on a downward spiral, with academic year program enrollment dropping by 400 students. 

The time has arrived for New Jersey to make the sufficient re-investment in the EOF program as called for in the Governor’s Task Force report and the following FY 2015 appropriation scenarios for Article III student grants and Article IV program support services are proposed for consideration and recommendation to the Office of Management and Budget. 

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