The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) was created in the late 1960s to overcome economic and social barriers that prevented minorities and underrepresented students from attaining a college education. The student-led campaign resulted in the passing of Senate Bill 1072 in April 1969, which established EOP at California state institutions of higher learning.
Today, there is an EOP in all 23 California State University campuses. The program continues to provide access and support services for students from first-generation, historically disadvantaged backgrounds.
As the intensity of the civil rights movement grew in the 1960s, one of the emerging issues was the lack of access to higher education for a segment of the population. These individuals had the motivation and desire to obtain a four-year university degree, but lacked the financial means and academic support to encourage their success. These individuals also came from families whose members had never had a university experience and therefore were unable to provide the proper guidance in seeking opportunities in higher education.
The bill begins with, “The people of the State of California do enact as follows: Chapter 3.4 State College Educational Opportunity Program - There is a state student assistance program which shall be known as the State College Educational Opportunity Program. It shall be the purpose of the program to provide…grants and, where appropriate, educational assistance for students who are economically disadvantaged, but who display potential for success in accredited curricula offered by the California State Colleges….”
The EOP Summer Bridge program is established at the California State University, with all campuses implementing intensive academic summer programs designed to advance student readiness as they enter into college.
With numerous legislative actions rolling back affirmative action in California during the mid 1990’s (Prop 187, 209), EOP directors act in earnest to create unification of EOP programs across all of the CSU campuses. Acting as a unified voice for the needs of EOP students, EOP directors have continued to meet regularly to share best-practices, to create uniformity among EOP programs, and to advocate on behalf of students from low-income and educationally disadvantaged communities in California.
Governor Schwarzenegger proposes the elimination of college outreach programs, which includes funding for EOP and Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) in California. Thousands of protestors fill the Capitol Lawns, hallways, and offices. The proposed cuts are overturned.
The California Dream Act establishes eligibility for undocumented students who meet AB 540 criteria to apply for and receive state-funded financial aid, including EOP grants and services.