Pushing To Protect The Educational Opportunity Fund From State Budget Cuts

By John Reitmeyer

The EOF has helped thousands of low-income students across NJ make it into and through college

corina olivas

Rowan University student and EOF program participant Carina Olivas explaining during news conference at State House how the Educational Opportunity Fund helped her make the Dean’s List.

A group of lawmakers that includes key leaders from both parties is making it a priority to protect — and possibly even increase — funding for the state’s Educational Opportunity Fund.

What makes this effort noteworthy is that it comes in the wake of an unexpected revenue shortfall that is forcing legislators to consider making spending cuts to other worthy programs as they get ready to approve a new budget by the end of June.

The Educational Opportunity Fund provides both personal support and financial aid to thousands of low-income students entering college throughout New Jersey.

Gov. Chris Christie will have the final say, but those who are pushing to boost aid for EOF have good reason for hope. When a new budget came together last year, Christie agreed to keep in place an increase in EOF funding that was inserted by lawmakers even as he trimmed more than $1 billion from other programs at the last minute.

Now they’re now hoping for a similar outcome as budget negotiations — and outright horse-trading — will play out over the next several weeks leading up to a June 30 deadline for a new budget.