Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF)
Mission of the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF)
The New Jersey Educational Opportunity Fund was created by law in 1968 to ensure meaningful access to higher education for those who come from backgrounds of economic and educational disadvantage. The Fund assists low-income New Jersey residents who are capable and motivated but lack adequate preparation for college study.
The New Jersey Educational Opportunity Fund program contributes to the development of a college-educated public that reflects the diversity of New Jersey by working in partnership with Rutgers and the K-12 educational system to provide access to higher education for students from families/communities disadvantaged by low income and the lack of access to the quality educational preparation necessary to attend college. The Fund will partner with established pre-college efforts and seek to initiate additional opportunities to identify and prepare students for college at the pre-collegiate level. At the postsecondary level, the access and opportunity provided by the Fund is not limited to simply meeting first-year (or transfer) student enrollment goals but to also focus on student success. In this vein, EOF provides support for educational initiatives, support services, and leadership development activities that assist students to improve their chances of success in specific majors and career fields and prepares them for the changing world of work and to assume leadership in their communities and the state.
Recruitment, improving student success, developing partnerships with pre-college and the K-12 community, connecting education with the world of work, initiating a research agenda, and enhancing the program's image are linked goals related to the EOF mission and are critical elements established as part of the Rutgers EOF program that will increase students' opportunities for success.
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The New Jersey Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) program provides financial assistance and support services (e.g. counseling, tutoring, and developmental coursework) to students from educationally and economically disadvantaged backgrounds who attend institutions of higher education in the state of New Jersey.
To participate in the Rutgers EOF program, students must apply for undergraduate admission to Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) including the NJ state aid grant questions, and meet all "Requirements for Preliminary Eligibility" as listed below including New Jersey residency and citizenship status. Rutgers has multiple but distinct EOF programs operating at various schools within the Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey system. Because EOF is a campus-based program throughout the state of New Jersey, each individual school is responsible for student recruitment, selection, program services, and its own specific criteria for EOF admission and program participation.
EOF grants are generally available to students from families with a background of poverty, whose annual income falls within the EOF Income Eligibility Scale as established by the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education/EOF Board of Directors. Students must also meet academic criteria set by the Rutgers school the applicant selected for undergraduate admission consideration. Families who have accumulated assets or have ownership of corporations do not qualify for financial assistance through the EOF program, but may qualify for other types of financial aid. To be considered for EOF grants, you and your family must have a documented history of educational and economic disadvantage and meet the income guidelines listed.
|EOF Income Eligibility Scale 2017-2018 |
|Household Size (including student) ||Family Gross Income Does Not Exceed |
|1 ||$23,760 |
|2 ||$32,040 |
|3 ||$40,320 |
|4 ||$48,600 |
|5 ||$56,880 |
|6 ||$65,160 |
|7 ||$73,460 |
|8 ||$81,780 |
|** ||For each additional member of the household, add $8,320. |
If your and your family's income fall within the criteria as shown on the EOF Income Eligibility Scale above and you wish to be considered for participation in the Rutgers EOF program, you must also meet the following "Requirements for Preliminary Eligibility":
- You must demonstrate an educationally and economically disadvantaged background.
- You must be a New Jersey resident for at least 12 consecutive months prior to fall semester enrollment.
- You must be U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or eligible noncitizen with a valid Permanent Resident Card, I-94, T-visa, or other qualified status under Title IV federal aid regulations detailed at financialaid.rutgers.edu, indicating that you have been a permanent resident for at least one year prior to fall semester enrollment.
- You must have received a high school diploma or a high school equivalency diploma by the time you register at Rutgers.
- You must be a first-generation college student. (Your parent(s) are not four-year college graduates.)
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Eligible EOF Scholars will receive an EOF grant each semester as part of their financial aid package. EOF Scholars who are program compliant can also apply to receive financial assistance for summer session courses as continuing students and other academic opportunities to enhance their experience. Although the EOF program can provide financial help, you and your family are asked to contribute toward the educational expenses as determined by a federally mandated formula, which uses information you provide on the FAFSA to calculate the amount of your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). EOF Scholars receive both TAG and EOF grants from the state of New Jersey. In addition, qualified students are eligible to receive grant assistance from the federal government and Rutgers. Financial assistance will vary depending upon your need as determined by the FAFSA and the availability of funds. To receive confirmation of eligibility for participation in the Rutgers EOF program and an official offer of financial assistance from Rutgers that includes the EOF grant, TAG, and other need-based aid programs:
- You must submit your 2017-2018 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to the federal processor as soon as possible after October 1, 2016 to meet the Rutgers priority application date of December 1, 2016. To submit your FAFSA online at fafsa.ed.gov, you and your parent must each create an FSA ID, which is used to confirm your identity when accessing your financial aid information and electronically signing your federal student aid documents at fsaid.ed.gov. Ensure that Rutgers receives your FAFSA from the federal processor by including the Rutgers federal school code 002629 in Step 5 (online) or Step 6 (PDF). The PDF FAFSA is available for you to print and fill out manually or is screen-fillable if you select "FAFSA Filing Options" at fafsa.ed.gov.
- You and your parents must use your filed 2015 federal IRS tax return to complete the 2017-2018 FAFSA. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) is an easy and secure way to access and transfer tax return information directly onto the FAFSA form, saving time and improving accuracy. Although the IRS Data Retrieval Tool is an option when completing the FAFSA, you and your parents may be unable or choose not to use it. If you have already submitted a FAFSA and would like to use the IRS DRT, you must log in as a Returning User at fafsa.ed.gov. Selected EOF Scholars will be required to submit a copy of the 2015 IRS federal tax return transcript to Rutgers. Visit the Rutgers Office of Financial Aid online at financialaid.rutgers.edu for information about IRS DRT and IRS federal tax return transcript.
- To receive an official offer of financial assistance from Rutgers that includes the EOF grant, TAG, and other need-based aid programs, you should submit your FAFSA to the federal processor as soon as possible after January 1, 2016 to meet the Rutgers priority filing date March 15, 2016. Visit the Rutgers Office of Financial Aid online for more information.
- You must submit all requested documents to the Rutgers Office of Financial Aid prior to the start of the EOF Summer Institute to complete the FAFSA verification process. In addition, if you are selected for State Verification by the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA), you must also submit all requested documents directly to HESAA to ensure eligibility for both TAG (Tuition Aid Grant) and EOF grants. For additional information about state aid eligibility, you may contact HESAA at 1-800-792-8670 or visit hesaa.org.
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EOF Summer Institute
If you are admitted to one of Rutgers' undergraduate schools as a first-year EOF Scholar, you must attend and successfully complete a free five- to six-week Summer Institute that is designed to smooth your transition from high school to college and sharpen your English, math, and/or science skills. You'll meet new friends, and your EOF Summer Institute tuition and other educational expenses will be paid for. Attendance and successful completion of the EOF Summer Institute, which begins toward the end of June 2017, is a requirement for fall semester enrollment at Rutgers.
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Advising and Counseling
Before the fall semester begins, your EOF advisers will help you plan an academic program to meet your interests and needs. Your undergraduate school will provide you with tutorial services and a special staff of academic, career, and peer counselors. With this support, you'll be able to identify your academic strengths, overcome limitations, and define career fields that interest you. In addition, all of the university's other resources are available to help you succeed at Rutgers.
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Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) Program Application Form
The EOF program is for students whose families have a documented history of educational and economic disadvantage. EOF awards are based on historical family information. Therefore, parental information is required on this form. This confidential form allows Rutgers to make a preliminary determination of your eligibility for participation in the Educational Opportunity Fund program. Willful omission of information or misrepresentation in any part of this application will be grounds for removal from the EOF program and denial or revocation of admission and cancellation of enrollment.
Transfer applicants should not complete this form. If you are a transfer student who has previously participated in the New Jersey EOF program at another New Jersey college, please do not complete this EOF Application. Transfer students should submit the FAFSA to the federal processor; submit an EOF Transfer Form from your previous NJ college where you were a recipient of the EOF grant, or provide a statement from your previous EOF counselor/director on your former NJ college’s letterhead certifying prior participation in their EOF program to the Rutgers Office of University Undergraduate Admissions; and contact the EOF director at the Rutgers undergraduate school you plan to attend.
The Rutgers EOF Application is designed for first-year applicants only. The information on the EOF Application is used to make a preliminary determination of your eligibility for the New Jersey EOF program. Please do not leave any items blank on this application. If you and/or your parent(s) reported taxable income on a federal tax return in 2014, you will need to refer to copies of this tax return in order to complete this application. If you and/or your parent(s) received nontaxable income during 2014, you will need to refer to copies of those benefits statements to complete this application. Rutgers reserves the right to request copies of these documents with all schedules and worksheets at any time during the preliminary eligibility process. Mail the completed EOF Application and requested documents to: Office of University Undergraduate Admissions Operations Center, 65 Davidson Road, Room 202, Piscataway, NJ 8854-8097.
All students in consideration for the EOF grant must eventually submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) which provides more detailed financial information and finalize their state aid application by answering New Jersey state grant questions on the confirmation page of the FAFSA. During the FAFSA verification process, the Rutgers Office of Financial Aid will request that admitted EOF Scholars submit their family's 2015 IRS federal tax return transcript and/or nontaxable income statements to confirm eligibility for enrollment through the Rutgers EOF program. The EOF Scholar's full name and 9-digit Rutgers University Identification (RUID) number must be written on the income tax documents and nontaxable income statements. Final acceptance into the New Jersey EOF program will be contingent upon the results of the required FAFSA & NJ state grant application. Students may be disqualified based upon the results of the FAFSA & NJ state grant verification process and may be removed from the EOF program and denied admission and/or have their enrollment cancelled.
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