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Educational Opportunity Program

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About the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)

The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) is a state-sponsored program that helps low-income New Jersey residents attend college. The program was created in 1968 to make higher education more accessible to students who might not otherwise be able to continue their education due to academic disadvantage or a lack of financial resources.

Students are admitted into the program when they have demonstrated academic readiness, academic potential, determination, a genuine desire to learn and a need for financial assistance. Students receiving an EOP grant may be eligible for other state and federal grants. 

Rider’s EOP financial aid offer letters cover nearly 100% of the required cost for students of greatest need. 


Goals of the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)

The two principal goals of EOP are:

  • To empower students to become well-rounded leaders with the skills necessary for responsible citizenship in a changing world
  • To encourage students to make a positive impact on Rider University and the greater community.

How EOP Will Benefit You

The EOP is based on a successful learning community model. The program has intense cooperation among staff, faculty, and administration with many student-directed activities.

The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) provides eligible students with a support system that includes:

  • A 6-week EOP Summer Institute (required) that prepares you to succeed before your first semester even begins
  • The renewable $2,600 Maurice E. Palmer Memorial Scholarship, awarded to one high-achieving EOP student each year
  • Assistance in planning courses
  • Progress check-ins
  • Career services
  • Leadership development
  • Career counseling and connections
  • Personal and academic counseling
  • Free tutoring

EOP Summer Academy: For First-year Students

In July prior to the beginning of the first semester, EOP students attend an enriching residential summer program at Rider University. The summer program introduces students to the academic and social rigor of college life and familiarizes them with Rider’s campus.

In this program, students strengthen their classroom and coursework skills by taking courses such as:

  • Intro to Speech
  • Intro to College Writing
  • Race, Class and Gender
  • Study Strategies

In addition, students participate in socially enriching activities and leadership workshops.


Eligibility & Applying for EOP

Space in the EOP entering class is limited. Priority is given to fall applicants who complete this process by February 1, 2020. For applicants applying for Fall 2021, please complete this process by January 15, 2021.

To be considered for the EOP program, you must:

  • Have/plan to have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Meet the NJ state-mandated income guidelines
  • Complete an application for admission to Rider University
  • Complete the Rider EOP Questionnaire
  • Enroll as a full-time student
  • Must be a New Jersey resident 12 consecutive months prior to receiving the award
  • Must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the New Jersey Alternative Financial Aid Application.
  • Must demonstrate an educationally and economically disadvantaged background

Income & Asset Eligibility Scale

2020-2021 EOF Income Eligibility Scale with Asset Cap Calculation

Applicants with a Household Size of Gross Income Not to Exceed Asset Cap Calculation (Not to exceed*) * = Based on Household Size for ALL Students
1 $24,980.00 $4,996.00
2 $33,820.00 $6,764.00
3 $42,660.00 $8,532.00
4 $51,500.00 $10,300.00
5 $60,340.00 $12,068.00
6 $69,180.00 $13,836.00
7 $78,020.00 $15,604.00
8 $86,860.00 $17,372.00
*** Add $8,840 for each additional family member Add $1,768 for each additional family member

For additional information, please visit the New Jersey EOF web site.


For students who are US citizens or permanent residents, but whose parents are not legally documented residents of the state of NJ.
For students who are United States citizens or permanent residents, but whose parents are not legally documented residents of the state of New Jersey, you are still eligible to participate in the Educational Opportunity Program as long as you can establish legal residency in New Jersey notwithstanding the residency of your parent(s) and have been a permanent resident of New Jersey for at least 12 months prior to the start of college and are not residing in New Jersey for the sole purpose of receiving an education.

For example, if you are a U.S. citizen but your parents are not citizens and do not hold a permanent residency card, you will initially be denied state financial aid. If you believe you can provide supporting documents as proof of your residency notwithstanding the residency of your parent(s) i.e. high school transcript, GED, income tax returns, etc. upon receipt of this documentation, HESAA will make a determination of your State grant eligibility and send you a Student Eligibility Notice (SEN) reflecting your potential State grant eligibility. 

If this is applicable to you, you can request a review of HESAA's preliminary decision to deny State funding by providing HESAA with the necessary documentation. If you need assistance with this process, please contact the admissions office.

For more information regarding the review process for students with undocumented parent(s), please visit the HESAA website: https://www.hesaa.org/Pages/default.aspx