The Educational Opportunity Center is fully funded through a $26,000 annual grant from the U.S. Department of Education under the Higher Education Act of 1965. The center helps first generation students from low-income families in Bernalillo, Valencia and Torrance counties. To qualify, students must be 19 or older.
Though affiliated with UNM, CEOP staff aren't recruiters. They help people apply to the college of their choice.
Juana Maria De La Cruz, CEOP advisor, works with La Colmena, a private organization that helps with community affairs and services.
"La Colmena, Inc. is a program offering a life skills class for people who receive TANF
CEOP provides outreach activities and presentations that get community groups, veteran organizations and government support service participants involved. Outreach activities close the gap between those involved in the program and those needing assistance. CEOP also meets with UNM student groups to find new ways of reaching out to those in need.
"Our efforts have gotten our name and reputation for excellent service out to the community, and we regularly have people contacting us, looking for support for themselves, their parents or friends," said Ryan Gilbert, CEOP program specialist. "There is a deep desire in the people that come to us. They are pursuing the promise that college offers, the jobs that pay more and the benefits that they can have to support their families. We do what we can to remove roadblocks from their way."
Story Shelby Scheider