The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

Students face another cut

The waiting list in DVC’s office for Extended Opportunity Programs and Services contains nearly 200 names.

And no new applicants were accepted this semester.

“It hurts to see people who want to join,” said EOPS student Daija Cornelious, who works in the EOPS office off the Main Quad.

The program for poor and academically disadvantaged students continues to reel from a 40 percent cut in state funding for the 2009-10 school year.

EOPS students currently number about 850 – down 1,060 in 2008-09 – and will drop again to 650 students next year, said EOPS director Emily Stone in an e-mail interview.

This semester, the 50 to 60 openings were given to former foster youth, former EOPS students, and veterans, Stone said.

EOPS is designed to help students succeed academically and to develop life skills.

To that end, EOPS students receive academic counseling, peer advising, individual tutoring, specialized workshops, campus tours, priority registration, and book vouchers.

“We are not book voucher program,” Stone said. “Counseling is the heart of EOPS.”
Students are required to see an EOPS counselor at least twice per semester to discuss educational plan and academic progress.

EOPS student Miguel Zaragoza said in an e-mail interview that he met a great counselor who hears out his problems and helps him with his academic goals to transfer to UC Berkeley.

“I would like to eventually see myself working for a college and serving as an academic counselor, helping students just as my counselors have helped me,” Zaragoza said.

Although carry-over funds from last year allowed EOPS to avoid even more severe damage, budget cuts forced the program to eliminate EOPS works study jobs, reduce tutoring hours and reduce book voucher by 25 percent.

Instead of six hours of one-on-one tutoring per subject, students now get two hours per subject.

Elimination of work study jobs also hit students hard, said EOPS student Cornelious.
“Without it, I wouldn’t have a job,” she said. “and without programs like EOPS and DSS (Disability Support Services) it would be hard for me to attend school.”

It also directly affected an EOPS student and work study worker Douglas Phenix who works at EOPS as a peer adviser and at the student union.

Phenix faces the possibility of losing his only source of income.

“Without work studies, my hours would be cut dramatically and I probably wouldn’t be working on campus at all,” he said in an e-mail interview.

A reduction in book vouchers also took a toll, dropping $250 in spring of 2009 to $175 in fall of 2009 and climbing back up to $225 this semester.

“One hundred seventy-five dollars doesn’t cover much of our text books,” said Cornelious who plans to transfer to UC Davis and major in urban sociology and communications.

Director Stone said the reduction in book voucher is a serious issue, since the cost of textbooks alone can determine students’ ability to stay in college.

Students are not the only victims of budget cuts: EOPS staff members walk on a thin ice.

One of its two full-time counselors was to be laid off for the 2010-11 school year, but the district agreed to pay a portion of the position, Stone said.

“Without this support,” she said, “we would have had to eliminate that counseling position.”

Contact Yuno Imai at [email protected]

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Students face another cut