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Highland’s Educational Opportunities Centers project awarded federal grant

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FREEPORT — Highland Community College’s newly awarded Educational Opportunity Centers project has received a federal grant for $232,050 — which will serve 850 adult participants qualified through the U.S. Department of Education with counseling and information on starting or returning to college.

This grant benefits those who want to enter or continue a program of post-secondary education throughout Stephenson, Winnebago, Ogle and Carroll counties. Highland’s Educational Opportunity Centers (EOCs) also will provide services to improve participants’ financial and economic literacy.

“The adult populace is often forgotten. These students planned to continue their education, but life got in the way,” says Anthony Sago, Director of TRIO Services at Highland Community College. “EOC staff has the potential to become life-changing agents.”

EOCs offer help with college admissions and financial aid to eligible adults, many of whom are displaced or underemployed workers. Out of programs throughout the U.S. and its territories serving almost 215,000 individuals, Highland’s will be the first in Illinois outside the Chicago region.

EOC programs must do extensive community and regional outreach to reach an out-of-school adult population. That means working with schools, college admissions personnel, veterans’ organizations, local media, community-based organizations and government agencies.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Educational Opportunity Centers TRIO programs that assist hundreds of thousands of adult learners in completing their education.

For more on the EOC program at Highland Community College, visit the TRIO web page.