Educational Opportunity Center
TAHLEQUAH — Northeastern State University was awarded a five-year, $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC) program to assist adults in rural, northeast Oklahoma fulfill their educational goals.
“I am very excited to get to implement the Educational Opportunity Center grant,” Dr. Sheila Self, NSU’s assistant vice president of student Affairs and dean of students, said. “I greatly appreciate the hard work of Sara Barnett who wrote for and was awarded the funding for NSU.”
Barnett, director of the Center for Tribal Studies at NSU, said the grant will assist adults in the region who are interested in furthering their education in some way.
The program will serve 850 people each year from 17 counties in Oklahoma. Two-thirds of those served will be low-income and potential first-generation college students. The program will primarily be located on NSU’s Tahlequah campus with one satellite location on the Muskogee campus.
EOC, which is one of eight Federal TRIO Programs (TRIO), helps participants obtain secondary diploma or equivalency, complete the enrollment process for postsecondary education and apply for federal student financial aid and other scholarships.
Self said the NSU EOC program will offer academic coaching, instruction or remediation in core subject areas, preparation for college entrance exams, financial and economic literacy training and career exploration.
The NSU EOC program will also focus on ensuring service members, veterans and their families have access to high quality, flexible and affordable education options.
Work on the grant proposal also provided some immersive learning opportunities for NSU students. Barnett said NSU alumni Melody Proctor and Randilyn Thompson assisted with the grant proposal as students. Both Proctor and Thompson now work at NSU as full-time employees.
In 1965 the U.S. Congress began creating programs to help students overcome socioeconomic barriers to higher education. The original three programs consisted of Upward Bound, Talent Search and Student Support Services. Today there are a total of eight federal programs serving students including Veterans Upward Bound and Educational Opportunity Centers. To learn more about the programs offered through NSU, visit www.nsuok.edu/TRIO.