TCNJ Magazine Fall 2018

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18 The College of New Jersey Magazine hey arrive on a mostly empty campus in the middle of each July, about 5 percent of the incoming freshman class, waking by 7 a.m. and working until 11 p.m. for five weeks to get a jump-start on college. "It's an absolute academic boot camp for the students," says Ivonne Cruz, director of the Educational Opportunity Fund program at TCNJ, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. EOF is a statewide program that helps students with much potential but not much money, offering financial aid, tutoring, and multiple forms of support, including the summer program that bridges the gulf — especially wide for some of them — between high school and college. "The program is not meant to give them a fish, but to teach them to fish," Cruz says. The EOF program at TCNJ has an exceptionally high success rate. This year it posted its highest graduation rate yet: 76 percent of the 2014 EOF cohort graduated in 2018, beating the previous high of 65 percent in 2016. "The program at TCNJ has a rich history of providing access and opportunity to countless EOF students over its 50-year history," says Hasani Carter, the state's acting EOF director. In all, about 2,500 EOF students have graduated from TCNJ. "The thing I like most about them is that they're giving an awful lot of service to the community," says James Boatwright, who was director of the program for almost half its existence, from 1986 to 2010. And some of them are spreading the lessons of EOF in broad and unforeseen ways. T The state allocates funds to participating institutions, and then each school decides what services to provide to its students. THE EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY FUND TCNJ EOF STUDENTS, FALL 2018 375

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