ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The University at Albany has received $1.16M from the U.S. Department of Education to establish an Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC) program, which will help qualified adults enter or continue higher education. The school announced the grant on Thursday.

“UAlbany has been recognized as a top university for improving the social and economic mobility of its students,” said Shanise Kent, director of the University’s new Professional, Adult & Continuing Knowledge (PACK) office, which launched last year to support adult learners looking to continue their education. “We are excited that the EOC program will allow us to help improve the social and economic mobility of adults in the Capital Region, aligned with the University’s engagement and service strategic priority.”

According to UAlbany, the grant is for $232,000 per year over a five-year cycle. This is one of 15 new EOC programs funded across the country, this being the only new one in New York. There are five statewide.

Participants must be at least 19 years old, a U.S. citizen or have permanent residence status, a resident of Albany, Rensselaer, or Schenectady counties, and have the desire to enroll or re-enroll in college. UAlbany also says they must either be a first-generation college student, a veteran, or have financial needs based on federal income guidelines.