HCC Central College awarded $272,753 to help displaced and underemployed adults continue path to higher education

Sep 1, 2021

The U.S. Department of Education announced that Houston Community College will receive a federal Educational Opportunities Center (EOC) grant of $272,753 to help unemployed workers, low-wage workers, and returning high school and college students enter or continue a program of postsecondary education.

Houston Community College has administered the EOC for five years and has helped over 5,000 adults find their path to higher education. The program will be housed at Central South Campus.

EOC provides counseling and information on college admissions and services to improve participants’ financial and economic literacy. Among comprehensive services are academic and personal counseling, tutoring, and mentoring, career workshops, information on postsecondary education opportunities, student financial assistance, and help in completing applications for college admissions. EOC programs offer services to a broad range of adult learners, including those who are limited English proficient, from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education, individuals with disabilities, homeless individuals, youth aging out of the foster care system, and other disconnected students.

EOC began in 1972 and is part of a set of federal educational opportunity outreach programs known as “TRIO,” which is authorized by the Higher Education Act to help low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities succeed in higher education. In FY20 there were 139 Educational Opportunity Centers in America serving more than 192,000 adult learners nationwide.

President Dr. Muddassir Siddiqi says “the EOC project is the result of an inclusive College process to provide specific options to better serve the changing needs of the unique adult student population”

“As systemic inequality and financial hardship discourage students from succeeding in college, TRIO programs like EOC take on new importance because they continue to help guide un- and underemployed workers and returning high school and college students towards earning a degree,” said Maureen Hoyler, president of the non-profit Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) in Washington, D.C. COE is dedicated to furthering the expansion of college opportunities for low-income, first-generation students, and students with disabilities nationwide.

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