GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — Stockton University’s already popular Educational Opportunity Fund program will grow next year with a focus on Atlantic City, the college announced.
At its Friday meeting at Rider University, the state Educational Opportunity Fund Board approved the new EOF program for 50 students to be housed on the new Atlantic City campus, expected to open in fall 2018.
“The new EOF-AC program will be a gateway to opportunity for the young people who will be our region’s future leaders,” Stockton President Harvey Kesselman said. “Our EOF students enrich our campus, and we look forward to welcoming a new cohort of young men and women who will also be actively involved in revitalizing Atlantic City and South Jersey.”
Stockton’s EOF program has about 350 students enrolled at the main Galloway campus. The program provides financial and educational assistance to eligible individuals pursuing a degree in higher education. They also receive mentoring.
Each year, more than 80 freshmen participate in an EOF summer academy at Stockton, where they take two classes, to prepare them for the school year.
In the spring 2018 semester, New Jersey will provide almost $57,000 to support recruiting and start-up costs for the new program. Then, Stockton will receive $75,000 to fund the program in 2018-19.
Recruitment for Stockton’s new EOF-AC program will focus heavily on Atlantic City and Pleasantville, the university said. An effort will also be made to reach students who are aging out of foster care and need additional support to attend college.
Each year, about 13,000 New Jersey students participate in the EOF program, according to the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education. In 2015, the program had a budget of $40.4 million. Those funds were allocated to 61 programs at 28 public and 13 independent institutions throughout the state.
The EOF program dates to 1968. The six-year graduation rate for low-income EOF students at four-year public schools in New Jersey is 55 percent.