January 24, 2022 – Santa Fe College is home to a new TRIO grant funded by the Department of Education. The Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) of North Central Florida is a $232,050/year grant project that pays a team of three educators, Director Chelsea Carnes, Academic Coach Steve Alcime and Academic Coach Tikia Brown to act as mobile advisors assisting with:
- Career counseling
- Financial aid
- GED assistance
- And college advising
The EOC of North Central Florida is a consortium between Santa Fe College and Florida Gateway College (FGC). The team’s office is headquartered in the DC building of SF’s downtown Blount Center, but staff can travel a seven-county service area to offer advising. Community members or organizations can book the EOC team to provide free one on one counseling and/or free group presentations to social service programs, community nonprofit groups, churches, clubs, schools and more within Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist and Union counties. EOC coaches differ from college advisors in that they are mobile and can help with enrollment at any Title IV (Pell-eligible) post-secondary program, not just SF or FGC.
Beyond advising, the EOC currently has funding to pay for a number of GED test fees and is engaged in a partnership that will pay EOC participant tuition for IT-related coursework. Starting next summer, the EOC will launch an agreement with SF that uses MacKenzie Scott funds to cover the cost of two semesters of SF Adult Education classes for EOC participants. Grant director, Chelsea Carnes, says she intends to expand the EOC’s educational resource offerings “by continuing to meet and collaborate with existing local services and nonprofits, as well as state, federal and commercial grant partners.”