Educational Opportunity Centers


The Erma Byrd Higher Education Center is excited to welcome the TRIO Educational Opportunity Centers Program (a federally funded program sponsored by Bluefield State College) as a new residential partner!  This program is located in Room E31 located on the inside of the Library Suite.  The Educational Opportunity Centers Program is one of eight federally funded TRIO Programs through the US Department of Education providing counseling and information on college admissions to qualified adults who want to enter or continue a program of postsecondary education.



Title Location Email Address

Phone Number

Tim McKenzie

Director of Outreach Programs

Bluefield, WV

Conley Hall Room C301

(304) 327-4096

L. Fay Vint

Program Assistant

Bluefield, WV (304) 327-4268
Kristen Stump Outreach Counselor

The Erma Byrd Center

Room E31 (inside Library) (304) 327-4455
Christi Copley Office Assistant

The Erma Byrd Center

Room E31 (inside Library)

     (304) 327-4455
Michael E. Goins Outreach Counselor

Bluefield, WV

Conley Hall Room C316 (304) 327-4327
Barry Pyne Outreach Counselor Lewisburg, WV

(304) 647-6584




The mission of the Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) is to encourage and assist adults as they endeavor to continue their education.  Qualified and caring staff members assist individuals as they establish and achieve personal academic goals efficiently by providing information about educational and community resources.  Assistance with college and vocational admissions and financial aid processes along with referrals to community services and agencies allow individuals to overcome educational barriers.



The EOC is a federally funded outreach program designed to assist adults with educational planning by offering services based on individual needs.

  • Assistance with admissions and financial aid to any school
  • Career planning and interest testing
  • Scholarship information
  • College testing (ACT) information
  • Individualized academic advising
  • College selection and previewing
  • Referrals to community resources
  • Financial education resources:  CashCourse® offers financial education resources for college that are online and free of charge. The Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) and Bluefield State College have partnered with CashCourse® to provide you with basic financial planning skills to help you make informed financial decisions while in college and beyond? CashCourse® is made possible by The National Endowment for Financial Education® (NEFE®) – the only nonprofit foundation dedicated to improving the well-being of all Americans.



  • Have a desire to pursue a college or vocational education or need a GED
  • Are 19 years of age or older
  • Reside in Greenbrier, Mercer, Monroe, McDowell, Pocahontas, Raleigh, Summers, Nicholas, or Wyoming county
  • Need one or more services provided by EOC



1.  How much do EOC services cost?

All EOC services are confidential and free of charge.  The EOC is a federally funded TRIO program through the U.S. Department of Education and has been sponsored by Bluefield State College in Bluefield, West Virginia since 1994 serving over 15,000 adults considering postsecondary education.

2.  Can I really benefit from these types of services?

Yes, you can!  If you would like to further or continue your education, then you have the opportunity to take control of your future by:

  • Improving your basic skills
  • Acquiring job-specific skills
  • Increasing your possibility of employment
  • Increasing your income
  • Pursuing a career you enjoy

Contact an EOC Outreach Counselor today to begin planning for your future.

3.  How can I obtain services through the EOC?

Individuals interested in receiving assistance should call the EOC office nearest to them to get introductory information and to schedule an appointment with an Educational Outreach Counselor.  Potential participants must complete a demographic profile and an Educational Service Plan prior to receiving services.  Eligible participants will meet with an Educational Outreach Counselor to determine individual needs and identify services that can best meet their educational goals.  EOC Counselors are equipped with a range of tools to assist participants including career inventories, financial aid forms, admission applications, and access to online college catalogs and scholarship searches.

4.  How do I decide on a career and educational goal?

At EOC we help potential students choose a career by looking at individual interests, values, and personality.  EOC Outreach Counselors administer and interpret a variety of career inventories, matching career interest to the institution that best suits the interests, needs, and educational goals of the potential student.

5.  What post-secondary schools do EOC participants attend?

EOC participants attend a variety of colleges, universities, and technical schools throughout the region.  Their choice depends upon the educational program that best suits their needs and interests.  The EOC helps participants review all educational options; therefore, participants make an informed choice when they decide on the institution that best meets their needs.  It should be noted that the EOC is not a recruiting arm for Bluefield State College.

6.  What if I don't have a high school diploma or GED?

If you don't yet have a high school diploma or GED, you can still begin receiving services at the EOC; however, your first priority will be to obtain the GED prior to enrolling in college.  If you are unsure about how to proceed, contact the EOC office nearest you and speak with an Educational Outreach Counselor about your specific situation.

7.  How do I apply for financial aid?

To start the process of applying for student financial aid, you must first complete the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.  Although you can still complete a paper version of the FAFSA and mail it to the processing center, more and more people are applying via the Internet each year because it is more convenient and much quicker.  If you need help completing a FAFSA and/or applying for a PIN contact your Educational Opportunity Center. We help hundreds of students apply for financial aid each year.  The EOC can also assist in completing other grant applications including the West Virginia Higher Education Grant, the Higher Education Adult Part-Time Student (HEAPS) Grant, and other means of financial aid. 

8.  How can I schedule an appointment?

To schedule an appointment, call the EOC office nearest to you and make an appointment with an Educational Outreach Counselor.  They are standing by eagerly waiting to assist you in reaching your educational dreams and goals.  The EOC is linking adults to a brighter future through education.