In the summer of 1966, College of San Mateo created the College Readiness Program to provide financial aid, tutoring and expanded outreach to students of color. A small but mighty group of 39 students joined the innovative program.

Photo of EOPS 50th anniversary balloons

EOPS celebrates its 50th anniversary

Those 39 students had no idea they were about to become the model for the Community College Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS), a statew

ide program created by the state legislature in 1969. Born out of the Civil Rights Movement, EOPS is considered by many to be the original equity and student success p

rogram in California Community Colleges. EOPS provides academic, financial, and personal support for low income students whose educational and socio-economic backgrounds might otherwise prevent them from successfully attaining their educational goals.

Today, EOPS offers eligible students assistance with counseling, priority registration, book service, tutoring, semester parking permit, grants,

computer and printing access, assistance in the completion of financial aid and scholarship applications, transfer services, university tours, and study skills workshops. Its sister program, Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE), provides additional school supplies, parenting and self-development workshops, meal cards, and assistance with childcare costs.

EOPS serves about 450 students each year, and CSM’s research suggests that this is only half of eligible students on campus.

On October 3, more than 100 EOPS alumni, students, counselors and staff, CSM and SMCCCD administrators, and other community leaders gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this landmark program. Among the speakers were CSM EOPS/CARE and CalWORKs coordinator Patrice Reed-Fort; Acting CSM President Kim Lopez, and Interim Chancellor Mike Claire. Danita Scott, who oversaw EOPS at CSM for many years, delivered a moving keynote on the history and significance of the program. Danita’s sister Gerri gave an opening recognition of the land and its legacy pf people, and Joan Dentler of State Senator Jerry Hill’s office presented EOPS with a declaration recognizing the local and statewide impact of the program.

Guests enjoyed a rich evening of food, music, and entertainment. People danced to Professor Rudy Ramirez’s band, Azul Latino. There was a stunning commemorative desserts table, and a photo booth that captured the energy of the night.

For information on EOPS, visit