The Equal Opportunity programme (EOP) is at the heart of our diversity and equity policy. This flagship social outreach programme, unique in France for its scope and ambition, is intended to benefit deserving students from partner high schools.
The EOP is 20 years old
A pioneering programme
At the beginning of the 2000s, Sciences Po decided to proactively tackle the inadequate levels of social and cultural inclusion at France’s selective higher education institutions. The EOP was created to diversify the student body at Sciences Po and expand possibilities for young people who may otherwise miss out on higher education. This revolutionary scheme is based on the provision of a complete set of support measures from high school through to graduation, with the aim of offering every deserving student the same opportunities to build an academic pathway of excellence.
An individual and collective impact
Successful professional integration
Students admitted through the EOP have very similar employment outcomes to students recruited through other admission procedures: media, banking, public administration, consulting, HR, etc. By achieving their potential in a variety of sectors, these talented students have become influential players in today’s world.
An asset for Sciences Po and its students
The diversity of perspectives and profiles that the EOP scheme creates is an asset for all Sciences Po students. This readiness to undertake a demanding education prepares students for managing complexity and occupying leading positions in public administration or business. The social and geographical inclusion represented by EOP students is both valuable for the vitality of our student community and necessary for the pursuit of excellence.
A new dynamic in the partner high schools
Thanks to the preparatory workshops organised in the partner high schools, thousands of students have expanded their horizons to include educational opportunities they had never previously considered, illustrating the multiplier effect of the scheme. Partner high schools have seen a decrease in absenteeism, a general improvement in baccalaureate results, and a significant increase in students’ levels of ambition: although admission to Sciences Po only concerns a few individuals, the emulation effect observed in the partner high schools benefits all students.
2021: the EOP is scaling up
The programme is setting new goals in 2021, building on 20 years of experience to strengthen its social and geographical impact, while keeping true to its tradition of innovation.
Increasing the proportion of scholarship students from EOP programmes to 15%
Science Po’s target of reserving 15% of each annual intake for scholarship students from partner high schools is set with the aim of strengthening the scheme and reinforcing its activity in favour of the social and geographical diversity of the student body.
Expanding throughout France
By 2023, the number of high schools participating in the programme will have doubled to 200. Sciences Po is increasing its coverage throughout France by working with new partner high schools in rural areas, deindustrialised zones and overseas territories, whose young people are under-represented in selective higher education. From 2021, the EOP will be extended to include 10 new local education authorities, bringing the total number of local education authorities to 28 out of 30.
Preparing for higher education beyond Sciences Po
The academic support workshops held at the partner high schools have a twofold objective: to prepare students for admission to Sciences Po, and, more broadly, to provide them with the keys to success in higher education. They draw on the lessons learned from the experimental Premier Campus programme to help students raise their level of ambition through a programme of support focused on cross-curricular skills and geared towards overcoming self-censorship.
This proactive approach is in addition to the impressive support package provided to students once they are admitted to Sciences Po:
Scholarships and social assistance
Our scholarship students benefit from a full tuition fee waiver. As part of our overall social assistance policy, scholarship students from the EOP receive a supplementary grant amounting to 75% of the government scholarship. Thanks to this grant, a student with the highest scholarship level will receive a total of €993.80 per month instead of the €567.90 paid by the French State. This will allow the student to focus on their educational goals without having to undertake paid work during their studies.
Students with scholarships may also receive financial assistance for accommodation and a book grant in the first year. In total, Sciences Po spends €11 million on scholarships and social assistance each year.
Once admitted to Sciences Po, EOP students can attend two preparatory workshops:
- the “Booster” programme, an intensive week of extra academic support held on the Reims campus to help students get accustomed to Sciences Po’s courses and teaching methods;
- the “Passport for English” module, an intensive two-week language course based on an innovative mix of small group classes and an e-learning platform.
Mentoring and tutoring
Individual mentoring is offered to students to support them during their studies, and to help them grasp the subtle ins and outs of the professional world, build their network and develop their self-esteem.