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Valley’s EOPS Program Excels at Counseling First-Time Students to Succeed

First generation students are able to receive benefits, counseling and cash through EOPS.

By: Sara Lemon, Staff Writer


EOPS counselor Alma Olivares-Luera, M.S with program participant Yaneth Morales (Emilio Godinez for The Valley Star).

A $450 grant, $600 for textbooks, and a $100 credit at the bookstore are the types of benefits first-generation students receive from EOPS at Valley College.


The EOPS program serves low-income students who are historically underrepresented and the first in their families to attend college. Eligible students need to meet an income requirement, take 12 credits per semester, have less than 50 degree applicable credits, all ages and years may apply. The application process opens in July 2024 and closes in September 2024. The program has been around since the 1960s and was created during the civil rights movement here in California. 


“Sadly, the program is still just as relevant as it was in the sixties,” said Sherri Rodriguez dean of special programs and EOPS director. “We still have underserved students. What is remarkable about Valley is that we have a number of support programs for students. Our goal is to have every student ‘find a home’ here because students that are connected do better in college.”


Program participants benefit from priority class registration, allowing them to register three days before everyone else. Through regular meetings with their counselors, the students determine their educational plan and goals. 


“EOPS at different campuses across California have served a critical role in helping students go to college, especially students that come from low-income backgrounds who may not have a lot of experience with college in their family,” said President Barry Gribbons. “They provide absolutely wonderful support for students, both in terms of counseling as well as financial support, and that’s absolutely true at Valley College as well.”


Students who feel overwhelmed with classes or are underperforming can speak with their counselor for advice and get motivated through their college experience. EOPS students have higher success and retention rates as compared to the general Valley population. 


Dean Rogriguez said, “All of us have had someone help us along the way, including myself as a first-generation student. I would really encourage all students to meet with a counselor to find a support system to help them along the way. I always tell students our sole purpose for being here is to help and serve them. Our faculty are amazing, many of them have had a career in what they are teaching and they have life experience and contacts as well.”


EOPS student participant Yaneth Morales shared her thoughts about how the program serves students, "The endeavor of college is similar to mountains. But the EOPS program can help you reach the top of the mountains step by step without judgment and with a welcoming smile."


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