Six EOF Students Recognized for Triumphing Over Long Odds

Academic excellence and the strength of the human spirit were celebrated as nearly 800 Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) students from throughout New Jersey were honored April 29 by the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education. The EOF provides financial assistance and support services to students from educationally and economically disadvantaged backgrounds who attend New Jersey’s institutions of higher learning and meet academic requirements.

Each year, Atlantic Cape Community College identifies graduating EOF students who have demonstrated exceptional achievement during their college careers.

Two students earned the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award for maintaining a cumulative grade point average of 3.50-3.99, including Reyna Dabney of Pleasantville and Lorna Monk of Atlantic City. Four Atlantic Cape students earned the Academic Achievement Award for consistently maintaining a cumulative grade point average of 3.20-3.49, including Kevin Curley of Atlantic City, Valerie Echevarria of Estell Manor, Bre’Ana Figaro of Egg Harbor City and Jennifer Testa of Vineland.

“The Educational Opportunity Fund is a model of excellence and equity, with an exceptional record of helping students achieve their educational goals,” said Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks, whose office administers the program. “These talented students demonstrate the transformative value of higher education and the importance of ensuring that this program remains available as the gateway to a better life for generations to come.”

“Many students receiving awards are the first in their families to attend college,” said State EOF Program Director Audrey Bennerson. “The success of the students is due to their own hard work.”

Created in 1968, New Jersey’s EOF program has gained national recognition as one of the most comprehensive state-supported efforts to expand access to higher education. More than 12,000 undergraduate students are enrolled in campus-based programs that provide financial assistance and services that improve student retention and graduation rates. The program also encourages participants to pursue advanced degrees.

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