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EOPS provides students in need with support for success

The Extended Opportunity Programs and Services at Valley College provide aid to students who have experienced educational and financial challenges.

By Annette M. Lesure, Staff Writer

EOPS Staff L-R: Diego Icute - Valley Alum and CSUN student, Carissa Gonzalez- EOPS supervisor, oversees NextUp and Guardian Scholars, Ernesto Lopez - Valley Alum and CSUN student.

Students who qualify for EOPS can find many resources within the program that offer academic, career and personal counseling.

Established in 1969 by Senate Bill 164, EOPS provides one-on-one tutoring, textbook service, priority registration, transfer assistance, and more. Additionally, the staff provides emotional support to students who may otherwise not remain in college due to adversities.

“We’re working with first-generation students of color, foster youth and students who are eligible for our CARE program. So, this has definitely been the most rewarding job that I’ve had,” said Carissa Gonzalez, EOPS supervisor and student services assistant who also oversees NextUp and Guardian. “My passion is here. I love working with disproportionately impacted students and [I am] really interested in equity and diversity, and that’s exactly what our program stands for.”

EOPS works in conjunction with the Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education to give assistance to single parents, in addition to providing support for current and former foster youth of Guardian Scholars and NextUp.

The program focuses on enabling students to discover and pursue their career goals by guiding them toward their interests and passions. Counselors facilitate in setting students on track by providing well-rounded support, with an emphasis on boosting self-esteem and confidence, in addition to achieving retention and progress.

“We try to create a family environment,” Gonzalez said. “Of course, we’re interested in the students’ academic success. But we want to make sure that they are okay. We know they are adults and managing school and life, but want to make sure they are okay mentally, physically and emotionally.”

Diego Icute, an EOPS staff member and CSUN transfer student, was also a part of the program at Valley.

“I felt a little lost when I first arrived here,” said Icute. “I just knew I wanted to do something but didn’t know how to get there. Sometimes you just need a hand.”

EOPS is located upstairs at the Student Services Center. Fall applications may be filled out in-person or online, and are due by Oct. 25.

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