Victory! The New Jersey State Budget for Fiscal Year 2015-16 has passed with increased funding for the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF).
Governor Christie recently signed a state budget for Fiscal Year 2015-16. For all its flaws, the budget actually increased funding for the Educational Opportunity Fund program, which serves first-generation college students from educationally and economically disadvantaged communities in New Jersey. Under the program, students receive dedicated counseling for the duration of their studies starting with an intensive summer program that helps them transition from high school to college.
Union members signed a petition in the spring semester 2015 to restore the cuts to EOF that Governor Christie initially proposed back in February. From there the union ran a mini-campaign to not only restore the cuts, but to expand the funding so that more students could be served and our EOF counselors, AAUP-AFT members, could be better supported in their work. Working with student allies, we reached out to legislative leadership in the Senate and Assembly. In the end, the Legislature increased funding by $2.565 million over the Governor’s original budget proposal.
This is a small but successful effort to reverse the trend of cuts to public higher education. Thanks to everyone that took part in the advocacy efforts.
Friday, July 17, 2015, we welcomed the Senate legislative leadership to RU-Newark to thank them for recognizing this great program and celebrate our incoming EOF students and their counselors. We invite all our members to participate in this special event with Senate President Stephen Sweeney, Senator Ronald Rice, Senator Teresa Ruiz (Education Chair) and Senator Sandra Cunningham (Higher Education Chair). The event took place at the University Club in the Paul Robeson Campus Center on the Rutgers-Newark campus.