EOPS offers helping hand with academic success

Samantha Vasquez, Opinion Copy Editor

The following is a Q&A with Yvette Tafoya, assistant director for Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS):

What exactly is EOPS?

Basically, it’s a comprehensive program to help students that come from low-income backgrounds. We help assist first-generation college students, foster youth and students who require basic math or english classes.

Mainly, what we offer is counseling. Our students have to meet with a counselor three times per semester.

What is the program’s goal?

Our goal is to help our students understand that they have the potential to go where they want to go, whether that’s earning a certificate, an A.A. degree or transferring.

About how many students are in the program as of now? 

Right now, we’re at about 800 students, which is less than two percent of the student population.

Do the students receive any incentives?

Yes, definitely.

The big one is our book grant. Our students are eligible for a book grant as long as they are working on their basic math, english and reading skills. Every semester they are required to work on those sequences.

We also offer tutoring. As of now, we offer math tutoring for our students. We also offer more grants, counseling classes, priority registration and learning communities.

When should students start applying?

Now that registration has started for Spring 2015, students should begin applying now.

What are the requirements to get accepted into the program?

The student must be enrolled in at least 12 units for the semester. We’ll make sure that (his) financial aid is complete and (he) meet(s) the financial criteria. Along with that, we need to make sure that the student has less than 40 units, so we have enough time to work with the student. Lastly, we check to see if the student meets one of the eligibility criteria, which is educationally disadvantaged.

What do students need to do in order to stay in the program?

They need to follow through with all of their appointments throughout the semester.

The first appointment in the beginning of the semester is to talk about their goals and learn who the students are. In the middle of the semester, we check in to see how the student is doing. We ask the student to meet with (his) professors to get some feedback on how (he is) doing in (his) classes. Our final appointment is to wrap up the semester and see how the student is doing.

Along with that, a 2.0 G.P.A. must be maintained.

Students also must be active and participate in any workshops we have within the program. The student also has to be progressing toward a goal.

Are there any limitations as far as eligibility goes once a student is in EOPS? 

Once a student has participated in the program for six consecutive semesters, which is equivalent to three years, we have to disqualify (him). Once the student reaches 70 units of degree-applicable course work, we also have to exit (him) from the program for that.

Why would you recommend students to sign up for EOPS?

If a student is financially struggling, we’re here to help. Not everyone is able to get accepted, but we’ll do our best to help students achieve their academic goals.