The very definition of enrichment is to improve something and that’s exactly what the UNM College Enrichment and Outreach Programs do—they improve the odds of students getting into college, as well as making sure those same students graduate. How do they do it? “By meeting the students where they are and helping them to get where they want to go.”

The support can be as simple as directions to a classroom on campus or as complex as finding money to pay for school. But after nearly 50 years of supporting student success, the College Enrichment and Outreach Programs (CEOP) know not all students have the same opportunities.

“Our students come from many different backgrounds. We focus on first generation, low-income, underrepresented or students with disabilities,” says Andrew Gonzalez, director of CEOP. “Many of them have left home for the first time and are coming here in need of support. They are a vulnerable population, so we, the University, feel it critical to have these programs for the students to be successful.”

The CEOP promotes P-20 student success through college awareness and readiness programs, academic support, career exploration, civic engagement and leadership development.

The majority of the programs are federally funded through the US Department of Education under TRiO.

The TRiO programs were created to address the social and cultural barriers to education in response to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty and were the first national college access and retention programs.

At UNM these programs include:

  • Student Support Services (SSS)
    The SSS program draws upon a holistic framework where committed participants receive individualized support by ad­dressing their educational and personal needs. SSS targets around 160 UNM undergraduate students who are first generation to college, low-income and/or have a documented disability.

    The definition of low-income is specific to TRiO programs and “means an individual from a family whose taxable income for the preceding year did not exceed 150 percent of an amount equal to the poverty level determined by using criteria of poverty established by the Bureau of the Census.” The TRiO definition takes into consideration number of family members in the household and is based on ‘taxable’ income. Therefore, SSS may categorize a student as low-income based on taxable income and UNM Financial Aid may not consider them low-income because adjusted gross is used.
  • Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program and the Research Opportunity Program (ROP) 
    Two programs, one mission; to prepare undergraduates for graduate school by providing scholars with a faculty-mentored research experience and support for the graduate school application process. When scholars complete the program, many are successful in gaining admission to graduate programs nationwide and are offered financial support to help pay for their education.
  • ŸEducational Opportunity Center
    This program provides counseling and information on college admissions to qualified adults who want to enter or continue a program of postsecondary education. It also provides services to improve the financial and economic literacy of participants. The goal of the EOC program is to increase the number of adult participants who enroll in postsecondary education institutions.
  • ŸUpward Bound
    The goal of Upward Bound is to offer rigorous academic support to college bound high school students. The program wants to increase the rate at which participants complete secondary education and enroll in and graduate from institutions of postsecondary education.
  • ŸCollege Prep Programs
    The goal of College Prep Programs is to promote student success and post-secondary education from college awareness to college readiness through academics, career exploration, civic engagement, college-life and leadership development for students from low-income and first generation college-attending families in New Mexico and across the country.

Along with the federally funded programs, CEOP also has state and institutional funded programs like the College Enrichment Program (CEP) which is one of the largest components of CEOP.

The program was founded in 1969 by Dan D. Chavez, who served as long-time director for the program. Chavez, who recently passed away and CEP have assisted countless students—for decades—in making the dream of going to college a reality.

CEP students reflect the UNM student population. As every student is eligible to receive their services, CEP focuses on students who are first-generation, low income and come from rural areas.

The program provides guidance and counseling support to students in all areas relevant to their persistence and eventual success on campus. This guidance includes overall adjustment to college, the transition to UNM, academic support, career selection, and financial aid advisement.

“We truly believe all students have the ability to succeed and we sincerely care about their success,” says Jose Villar, program manager for CEOP. “Students in CEP are assigned a professional advisor for academic guidance and support. Advisors not only monitor academic progress, but more importantly they assist with any other issues the student may face. We pride ourselves on meeting the student where they are and helping them get to where they want to go.”