Educational Opportunity Program


The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) celebrated its 55th anniversary across the California State University system in fall 2023. Five decades ago, state legislation (SB 1072) created the program to facilitate access to the university for underrepresented, low income, first-generation college students.

But the history of EOP at Chico State actually started before that ground-breaking legislation. On May 23, 1968, the Faculty Senate approved the Educational Opportunity Program for the next academic year.

Black and white first EOP office and students photo

Seventy-four participants enrolled representing African-American, American Indian, Mexican American, and white students. Based on historical accounts, John "Jack" Otto is considered to be the first overall director of EOP. John Henry Rivers, who later went on to obtain his doctorate and become a vice president for student affairs at CSU, Hayward (now East Bay), was the first EOP coordinator.

EOP Group Photo in BMU

Since then, new patterns of immigration and program growth have changed the demographics of EOP. EOP now serves over 900 participants reflecting the diversity of California.

As the students have changed, so has the program. EOP provided then, as it does now, access to the University, EOP grants for eligible students, and support services to assist nontraditional students to succeed. Now, the program also offers the First Year Experience program, computer lab, Summer Bridge program, and cultural and community service activities.

EOP’s primary goal has been, and always will be, to provide opportunities for higher education to students who might not otherwise have been able to pursue a college career. As we look towards celebrating many more anniversaries, we continue to celebrate the program’s contribution to educational equity, diversity, and excellence.

EOP History Timeline

May 23, 1968 – College Faculty Senate adopts proposal for an Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) at Chico State College for the 1968-69 academic year.

June 10, 1968 – John “Jack” Otto, the Associate Director of Admission and Student Aids, serves as the first EOP director. John Henry Rivers is hired as the first EOP coordinator. 

Fall 1968 – Seventy-four EOP students enroll for the fall semester representing African American, American Indian, Mexican American, and white students.

April 1969 – Senate Bill 1072 passed establishing EOP throughout the statewide CSU system.

1972 – Chico State College changes its name to California State University, Chico.

June 1972 – First Summer Educational Experience (SEE) offered at Chico State.

1980 – First EOP Graduation Banquet held to honor EOP graduates.

1987 – Summer Educational Experience changes its name to Summer Bridge.

October 1999 – 30th Anniversary of EOP celebrated during three-day celebration at Chico State.

2003 – First Year Experience program, a year-long orientation program designed to assist freshmen with their transition to college life, implemented.

2004 – Chico State EOP joins in statewide fight to save EOP from state budget cuts.

2004 – Educational Opportunity Program Student Association formed.

October 2009 – 40th Anniversary of EOP celebrated during two-day celebration at CSU, Chico.

October 21, 2011  First EOP Career Information Fair held which brought together EOP alumni and first-time freshmen to talk about career options.

Fall 2019 – EOP Alumni, students, faculty, and staff celebrated 50 years of EOP statewide.