DURHAM, N.C. — North Carolina Central University (NCCU) received a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Federal TRIO Programs office to establish a new Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) within the Division of Student Affairs.

The new center, set to open in spring 2017, will provide counseling and resource information on secondary school reentry, entry to a GED program or entry to alternative education programs for secondary school dropouts. The center will also provide guidance to qualified adults on the college admissions and financial aid processes.

“We are proud to be the recipient of the Federal TRIO grant program for the establishment of the EOC within NCCU’s Division of Student Affairs,” said NCCU Acting Chancellor Johnson O. Akinleye, Ph.D. “As we consider the success of our surrounding community as our own, we’re committed to ensuring that all prospective students, regardless of socioeconomic status, have equal access to educational resources.”

The Division will be responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the new center and overseeing the budget. The five-year grant of $1,179,500 will serve a total of 1,000 participants from Durham, Alamance, Vance, Granville and Person counties — areas identified with significant underrepresented populations.

“This is a great opportunity to be a resource to our community and provide prospective students with the resources they need to be successful in reaching their goals,” said Miron P. Billingsley, vice chancellor for student affairs. “The goal of the EOC program is to increase the number of adult participants who enroll in postsecondary education institutions.”

The program will also provide services to improve the financial and economic literacy of its participants and offer counseling on financial aid options, basic financial planning skills and economic literacy education. Participants will also receive access to academic advising, personal counseling, career workshops, tutoring, mentoring and a host of student support programs and activities that strengthen their experience.

“We believe that everyone should have access to education,” added Billingsley. “This program will be a second chance for many North Carolinians.”

Educational Opportunity Centers — one of eight TRIO programs offered by the federal government — are designed for students who have limited English proficiency, students from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education, students with disabilities, students who are homeless children and youths, and students who are in foster care or are aging out of foster care system, or other disconnected students.

For more information on how to apply, contact the Division of Student Affairs at (919) 530–6342.