Rowan College at Gloucester County (RCGC), one of the 13 New Jersey community colleges selected to participate in the Community College Opportunity Grant (CCOG), is onboard ready to begin implementing Governor Phil Murphy's pilot program in spring 2019. The state grant will provide current and new students from low- to middle-income families with a tuition-free RCGC education.
"As the cost of earning a college degree continues to rise, it is important that all New Jersey residents have the opportunity to pursue a higher education without acquiring enormous debt," stated RCGC President Frederick Keating. "The Community College Opportunity Grant provides families with incomes of $45,000 or less the means to earn the post-secondary education they need to be successful in their careers and improve their quality of life."
Located in one of the fastest growing counties in the state, RCGC aligns its educational offerings to meet the economic demands within Gloucester County's local labor market. According to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, jobs with associate level degree requirements are projected to increase 7.9 percent through 2024. Jobs requiring postsecondary non-degree awards are projected to grow 11.7 percent. Recently selected as one of New Jersey's Talent Network Development Centers for Financial Services, RCGC's partnership with key businesses promises a high growth industry at both the state and county level.
The $25 million CCOG pilot initiative approved by Governor Murphy and the legislature provides "last dollar" financial assistance to community college students from families with adjusted gross incomes between $0 and $45,000 enrolled in six or more credits during the spring 2019 semester. To be eligible for CCOG, which covers any remaining costs of tuition and approved fees, students must first apply for all other federal and state financial aid grant awards. Students will be required to maintain satisfactory grades.
"RCGC is honored to be selected as a pilot college for Governor Murphy's tuition-free community college initiative," said Dr. Brenden Rickards, vice president of Academic Services. "We are excited to be offering Community College Opportunity Grants to qualifying students beginning this spring. RCGC plans to provide qualifying students enhanced social, emotional and academic support via enriched services that are being planned for the spring 2019 semester. We look forward to fully implementing Governor Murphy's vision to provide assistance to these students to remove roadblocks to their academic and career success."
"We applaud Governor Murphy's vision and commitment to expanding college access and affordability, and his belief in community colleges as a solution to help improve the state," said New Jersey Council of County Colleges President Aaron R. Fichtner, Ph.D. "This pilot program will provide the community colleges the opportunity to learn and collaborate to inform future statewide efforts to expand access to higher education."
Rowan College at Gloucester County's 250-acre campus is located on Tanyard Road in Deptford, just off Exit 56 off of Route 55.