TRIO Educational Opportunity Centers

The Educational Opportunity Center helps high school seniors as well as high school graduates and college dropouts to make career choices and set educational goals. The Program also helps high school dropouts to enroll in adult high school alternative educational programs. Participants must be at least 19 years of age and have an interest in pursuing a college degree. Services are available at No Cost to U.S. citizens who meet Federal eligibility requirements. Information concerning college admissions requirements and financial aid for college is provided, as well as assistance with the preparation of FAFSA applications.

Ladaja Barksdale

Growing up in Sampson County, I was raised by a single parent. Neither of my parents attended college; however, I did not allow it to define my future. I am now a 24-year-old full-time mother raising two children under the age of five. EOC helped me get in to college and now I am working my bachelor’s degree in health care business administration and will be graduating in December 2018. After receiving my bachelor’s degree, my desire is to attend UNC Chapel Hill to obtain my master’s degree. I am very passionate about making sure that I provide a better future for myself and my children. I am reminded of what the amazing Dr. Martin Luther King wrote, “If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” I apply this quote to my daily living which gives me the motivation to never give up.
Program Services

EOC provides the following services at NO COST to participants:

  • Information on two-year and four-year colleges, univiersities, and vocational schools
  • Computer skills workshops
  • Cultural/Educational field trips
  • College application fee waivers
  • College Fairs
  • Workshops on study skills, student financial aid, career decision making, financial literacy, and many others
  • Assistance in completing financial aid and college admission applications
  • Career counseling and assessment
  • Information on scholarships, grant, and student loans
  • Adult high shcool and general education diploma referral services
  • A citizen or national of the US
  • A permanent resident
  • At least 19 years old 
  • Live in Cumberland, Harnett, Hoke, Robeson, or Sampson County
  • Already enrolled or a have a strong desire to enroll into a secondary or postsecondary education program
Satellite Offices


  • Bragg Training & Education Ctr. (Ft. Bragg)
  • Cumberland County D.S.S.
  • Employment Security Commission/Joblink
  • Fayetteville Technical Community College
  • Operation Inasmuch
  • Spring Lake Recreation Center
  • Wilmington Road Resource Center


  • Harnett County JobLink - Lillington
  • Harnett County Library
  • Johnson Lee Harnett Community Action, Inc.
  • Thinksmart Outreach Center, Inc.


  • Employment Security Commission
  • Southeastern Community & Family Services
  • Hoke County Public Library
  • Sandhills Community College


  • Employment Security Commission
  • Robeson Community College


  • Clinton Head Start
  • Employment Security Commission/Joblink
  • First Baptist Church
  • Newton Grove Public Library
  • N.C. Justice Academy
  • Sampson Community College
  • Sampson County D.S.S.
Federal Funding Statement

The Educational Opporunity Centers project is 100% federally by the U.S. Department of Education in the amount of $448,258 annually.