Educational Opportunity Fund Funding was saved (again) during the budget battle for state funding, winning an increase for FY 2015-2016. The most recent victory was celebrated in the summer of 2015.
Watch the video from July 17, 2015 on YouTube:
From Rob Snyder, Secretary, Rutgers AAUP-AFT, Associate Professor, FAS-Newark, Department of Arts, Culture and Media to all his fellow Rutgers AAUP-AFT members:
Governor Christie signed the New Jersey state budget for Fiscal Year 2015-16. For all its flaws, the budget actually increased funding for the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) 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.
The Rutgers-Newark faculty union activists, including EOF Counselors, and other union members 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 on Friday, July 17, 2015. Senate President Stephen Sweeney, Senator Ronald Rice, Senator Teresa Ruiz (Education Chair) and Senator Sandra Cunningham (Higher Education Chair) were among the key legislators recognized.