In April 1969, the California Legislature passed Senate Bill 1072 (the Harmer Bill) which established the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) at the California state institutions of higher learning. EOP promotes college access to campuses of the CSU and provides retention services to enrolled university students who participate in EOP.

EOP is designed to improve student academic support of low-income and educationally disadvantaged students. An EOP student has the potential to perform satisfactorily in the CSU but has not been able to realize this potential because of economic or educational background. The program provides admission, academic, and financial assistance to EOP-eligible undergraduate students.

Today SJSU EOP serves over 1,500 students per semester. EOP moved into offices in Clark Hall in fall of 2011, and Guardian scholars officially became a part of it in Spring 2011. EOP offers a plethora of services to students, including a tutoring program, a mentoring program and a specialized graduation and retention initiative for African-American and Latino males called 'I Can, I Will,' in addition to academic advising.