NCEOC Services

Because the NCEOC is funded through a U.S. Department of Education TRiO grant, all of our services are provided completely FREE of charge to eligible adults in North Central Massachusetts.  The NCEOC staff provides individual assistance and is committed to helping adults set realistic educational goals.

Use these helpful links to explore a new career, learn more about your educational options, or build your personal money management skills.

Call the NCEOC today at 978-630-9823 to make an appointment with an education specialist to get started on your college or career plans.

Career Planning

The NCEOC can help you navigate the decision-making process involved in making career changes, whether these changes are voluntary or not.  So whether you have already carved out a career path and are looking for advancement, or are rethinking what you’d like to do for a living, our Education Specialists can help you analyze your skills and interests and define your career goals.  Come in and take the Career Exploration Inventory (CEI), or learn how to research careers on the Massachusetts Career Information System (MCIS) or Occupational Outlook Handbook site.

College Planning

Considering education beyond high school requires a lot of thought.  Going to college is an enormous investment of time, money and effort so you want to be sure that you’ve made smart choices along the way.  The NCEOC can help you answer important questions to make your decisions easier, and help you build a realistic educational plan.

Some questions you should ask when considering college or vocational training are:

  1. Does the school offer the type of program I want?
  2. Do I meet the admissions requirements?
  3. Does the school offer a high-quality education at a reasonable price?
  4. What are the job placement rates for recent graduates of the school?
  5. Is financial aid available for the program I am considering?

NCEOC education specialists can help you research college programs, apply for admissions, and apply for financial aid.  You may also want to check out resources for scholarships.


Applying for Admissions can differ from college to college but always consists of completing an Admissions Application, often found on the college website, and taking some kind of placement test that is used to determine your Math, English and Reading skills. Other criteria may include submitting high school grades or course grades from another college, SAT/ACT scores, completing a college essay, and interviewing. Most community colleges use a rolling admissions process in which you can apply at any point during the year. Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis throughout the year. Four-year colleges typically set deadlines that require that you have your application in by a certain date.

The Admissions and Financial Aid processes can run at the same time so initially, your college planning will include both steps. NCEOC Education Specialists are available to help you through both processes successfully.

Financial Aid

Applying for financial aid is one of the most important steps in enrolling in college. Getting assistance paying for your classes can make the difference between attending college or not. NCEOC Education Specialists are available to help you through the financial aid process from determining (according to federal regulations) what income and personal information is needed on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), completing the electronic application, assisting with follow-up paperwork, and advocating on your behalf with your college’s Financial Aid Office.

The Financial Aid Office at the school you’re attending will compile your financial aid award. Your award can consist of federal, state and college funding and may include grants, which is free money, work-study, which is money earned through work, or loans, which is borrowed money. Each funding source sets the criteria for who receives aid. Most use the FAFSA as a starting point in determining eligibility. Complete your FAFSA as early as possible after January 1 of the year you’ll start classes.

Use our Income Checklist (2016-2017) to get an idea of the personal income information you will need to complete the FAFSA. Some, but not all, private four-year colleges also require completion of the CSS Profile which is used to determine the amount of money the college can give you in financial aid. This money is completely separate from federal or state money. Pay close attention to college financial aid filing deadlines to get the best financial aid award. Deadlines are usually posted on college websites.

You must apply for financial aid each year that you attend college. Call the NCEOC for an appointment at 978-630-9823.

Another source of paying for college is scholarships. Check out our scholarships page for valuable scholarship websites.


A lot of scholarships exist for those interested in pursuing college. Scholarships are awarded based on academics such as your grades, and/or financial need. Many private scholarships are available with their own criteria, including; ethnic heritage, geographic location, program of study, hobbies, religious affiliations, gender etc. Since each scholarship is different, the only way to find the one for you is to surf the net and start exploring.

Resources to Help with Your Scholarship Search:

FastWeb – database of private sector scholarships, grants, and loans
Office of Student Financial Assistance – information on financial aid assistance for residents of Massachusetts
U.S. Department of Education – U.S. D.O.E. information about granwork-study work study, and tax credits for education – aid estimator and scholarship search
College Net – database contains over 600,000 awards totaling over 1.6 billion
College Board – scholarship search and financial planning resource
United Negro College Fund – financial aid from the United Negro College Fund

Note: Please be very cautious of any site that asks you for a fee and offers to find you money or a “guarantee” of funding. These are most often scams as no one can control who applies for each scholarship and who is selected for these awards. There are many free resources available!