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Financial Aid Overview


Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)

What is Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)?

The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) is designed to improve access and retention of historically low-income and educationally disadvantaged students. An EOP student has the potential and demonstrated motivation to perform satisfactorily at a CSU, but has not been able to realize this potential because of economic or educational background. The program provides admission and academic assistance to EOP-eligible undergraduate students. In many cases, the program offers financial assistance to eligible students. Campuses tailor their programs to accommodate the needs of their student population.

What Can Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) Do For You?

For over 45 years, the California State University's Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) has provided educational access and opportunity for more than 250,000 low-income and educationally disadvantaged students throughout California, the majority of whom are first-generation college students. Once admitted as an EOP student, you may be eligible to enroll in an EOP summer program, Summer Bridge, to strengthen your math, reading, or other skills. Orientation sessions are provided to help you learn about campus services and programs. During your enrollment in college, you may receive admission counseling, academic advising, peer mentoring, courses offered in conjunction with academic departments, student success workshops, tutoring, Graduation Writing Test preparation, and supplemental financial assistance through an EOP grant. Services vary from campus to campus.

Who May Apply?

Only historically low-income and educationally disadvantaged undergraduate students who need admission assistance and support services to succeed in college are admitted to the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP). They must demonstrate academic potential and motivation, be California residents or qualify for an AB540 non-resident tuition exemption and meet the income criteria. To become eligible, applicants should complete the EOP section on the undergraduate application for admission and complete the supplemental EOP application.

Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) Income Criteria

Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) applicants must meet the preliminary low-income screening guidelines listed in the table below and demonstrate their family is unable to provide an annual contribution of more than $1,500 toward their college expenses. Applicants whose total family income exceeds the guidelines may be considered only if their Expected Family Contribution (EFC) for financial aid purposes does not exceed $1,500. These guidelines are not intended to exclude economically disadvantaged students but to identify and give priority to the most financially needy applicants.

EOP Family Income Guidelines*

Dependent Students
Family Size Maximum Income
2 $35,600
3 $40,100
4 $46,400
5 $52,400
6 $59,300
7 $64,400
8 $69,500
Independent Students
  Family Size Maximum Total Student/Spouse Income
Single, No Dependents 1 $15,400
Married, No Dependents Other Than Spouse 2 $27,000
With Dependents Other Than Spouse 2 $46,000
3 $52,700
4 $62,200
5 $71,100
6 $81,100
7 $88,800
8 $96,400

These guidelines reflect an income level that will generate an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of approximately $1,500. For purposes of these guidelines, the approximate contribution for dependent applicants is based solely on the parental income and does not take into account any parental assets nor does it assume any contribution from the applicant's income or assets. For independent applicants, the guidelines are based strictly on income with no consideration or available savings or other assets.

* Guidelines are based on the formulas used to determine the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) for federal student financial aid.

Financial Assistance

If you are applying for financial aid, you must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Application. The FAFSA and Dream applications are used to determine the EFC and allow the campus financial aid office to determine financial aid eligibility and consider the student for an EOP grant for up to $2,000 per year. However, due to limited campus program funding, the average award per student is $811. You must file the FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1, 2016, and before the CSU financial aid priority filing date of March 2, 2017. EOP grants will be awarded only as long as funds are available. You will have a better chance of receiving an EOP grant and other financial aid for which you are eligible if you apply as early as possible.

Application for financial aid is a separate process from the EOP admission process.

EOP Selection Procedure

Once your EOP forms are received, a campus selection committee will review them carefully. The committee will consider such factors as historically disadvantaged background, financial need, academic performance, motivation, and potential for success in college. The committee may also look for any contributions that you have made or intend to make to your community, work experience, or the career you wish to pursue. Be sure to complete EOP forms accurately to assist the committee in understanding your academic preparation and motivation. EOP applicants may be notified separately from both the Admission and EOP offices. Typically, EOP admission notices will be sent to fall applicants in May or June if they complete their files by campus priority deadline. Please check with the campus of your choice for specific campus deadlines. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly Pomona accept applications for fall quarter only. Applicants from high schools that have year-round schedules should plan on completing their EOP application materials earlier than usual to accommodate the school calendar.

Interviews and Skills Assessment

Some campuses use interviews and/or skills assessment testing to help in determining the types of services you are eligible to receive if admitted. The EOP Office at the campus to which you apply will notify you if an assessment is required during the selection process.

How May I Apply?

EOP Materials

In addition to submitting the 2017-2018 undergraduate application, EOP applicants applying for Summer 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, or Spring 2018, may apply online and must submit these forms:
  • Applicant Information Form
  • Recommendation Forms - Two recommendations are required
  • Other - If you do not apply for financial aid by filing the FAFSA or California Dream Application (see below), you may be required to submit other documentation to determine EOP income eligibility.

EOP application deadlines vary from campus to campus. Check with the EOP and/or Admission Office at the campus you wish to attend for the EOP application deadline. The paper Applicant Information Form Statement should be sent to EOP, and the Recommendation Forms should be sent to EOP by the persons completing them. The online supplemental EOP application and recommendation forms will be sent electronically to the EOP office.

Financial Aid Materials

If you are applying for financial aid, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Application and file it with the processor by March 2, 2017. The FAFSA is available on the web at or at and is also available from high school counselors and college financial aid offices. If you are going to apply online, you (and your parents) should apply for a PIN at The California Dream Application is available at

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