Rowan University and its partner educators at Rowan College at Gloucester County (RCGC) and Rowan College at Burlington County(RCBC) today announced an all-new option for earning a four-year college degree.
Unique in New Jersey, a "3+1" program will enable students to spend three years at one of the two Rowan University-affiliated community colleges and just one at the University as they complete coursework for their bachelor's degree.
The estimated cost of a bachelor's degree through the program, about $25,000, will be about half of what commuters would spend at the state university and about one quarter what commuter students pay at many private schools.
"Our goal is to increase access, to provide the highest quality education, and to save students and their families money," said Rowan University President Ali Houshmand. "This program will save them a lot of money."
The program was announced during a meeting Jan. 11 between about 150 Rowan, RCGC and RCBC educators on the University's main Glassboro campus.
Unique in New Jersey
While various 3+1 programs exist elsewhere in the U.S., there is no comparable program in New Jersey.
Community colleges typically offer the first two years of higher education and award associate degrees. The 3+1 program will enable both of Rowan's county college affiliates to offer the third year of coursework in Nursing, Law/Justice, Psychology and Liberal Studies. In addition, RCGC will offer the University's popular Radio/TV/Film program and RCBC will offer a to-be-determined science major.
Students will complete their first full three years at their community college where county college faculty will teach 300-level (junior year) courses. All county college faculty will carry master's or doctoral degrees and the curriculum will be exactly the same as what is offered at the University.
Scheduled to start as early as next fall, students who enroll in the 3+1 program will pay county college tuition and fees during their first three years and Rowan University tuition and fees their senior year.
"At a time when colleges and universities across America are rightly being criticized for the high cost of higher education, we continue to identify pathways for students that lower the price of a college degree," Houshmand said.
He said the initial four-year degrees offered through the new program will grow to meet student and market need.
|RCGC President Frederick Keating, Rowan University President Ali Houshmand and RCBC President Paul|
Expanding historic partnerships
The University in 2013 entered into a first-in-New Jersey partnership with then-Gloucester County College that enabled students at the county college to receive automatic, conditional acceptance to Rowan, counseling by Rowan advisors, and a 15-percent discount on tuition for Rowan courses taken at GCC. The University and then-Burlington County College formed a similar partnership last year.
Under the original partnerships, students could study for two years at their county college and seamlessly transfer to the University for the second two years or complete some University programs on the county college campuses.
RCGC President Frederick Keating said it is incumbent upon public higher education administrators to develop less costly options for students to earn their degree.
"There are still details to work out but I believe this type of creative partnering can make a huge difference in driving down the cost of higher education," Keating said.
Houshmand and Keating both serve on the New Jersey College Affordability Study Commission. All three college presidents have developed a statewide reputation for their willingness to challenge the status quo in the best interest of their students.
RCBC President Paul Drayton said bold ideas like the new 3+1 program can substantially reduce, if not eliminate, student debt and increase students' chances of successfully earning a degree.
"At a time when a college degree is more important than ever for lifelong career success, college is simply unaffordable for too many students and families, "Drayton said. "The 3+1 concept is a simple and brilliant concept that will lead us into a new future of higher education with a price tag that has not been this affordable in decades."
Before the 3+1 program begins, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which accredits colleges and universities in the Mid-Atlantic region, must approve the curricular changes.
The N.J. Presidents' Council, which represents the state's public, private, and community colleges and universities, must also ratify the changes as must the state Secretary of Higher Education.
Rowan College at Gloucester County is located at 1400 Tanyard Road in Deptford, just off Exit 56 of Route 55.