FDU, BCC and OCC make college affordability a priority in new partnerships

Bergen Community College President B. Kaye Walter (left) and Fairleigh Dickinson University President Sheldon Drucker converse at the partnership signing. (Photo courtesy of Bergen Community College)

By Kenna Caprio

Fairleigh Dickinson University and Bergen Community College bridged the public/private school divide on Wednesday, Oct. 16 with the signing of a new partnership agreement, the BCC-FDU Scholars Program. A dual admissions agreement with Ocean Community College, the OCC-FDU Scholars Program, followed suit.

“It’s going to be a great relationship,” said University President Sheldon Drucker. “We share a commitment with Bergen Community College to do something about the rising cost of a college education.”

Students who graduate from BCC in Paramus, N.J. can now seamlessly transfer credits to the bachelor’s program of their choice at either FDU’s Metropolitan Campus or the College at Florham.

“We feel honored to be in this partnership,” said Kaye Walter, president of Bergen Community College. “Partnerships such as this one with our fellow county resident Fairleigh Dickinson University reflect our commitment to securing opportunities for students entering the next phase of their educational journey.”

Under the agreement, students may enroll as entering freshman or during their first year at BCC. All credits taken at BCC — up to the maximum of 64 that make up an associate degree — can be considered for transfer to FDU upon graduation.

Since 2001, FDU has partnered with community colleges around the state, bringing bachelor’s and master’s degrees to underrepresented areas. This program builds upon those efforts, providing access to a full range of undergraduate as well as combined bachelor’s/master’s degree programs. It also offers generous academic scholarship incentives.

BCC students who enroll at FDU will be eligible for up to a 40 percent reduced tuition rate. High-achieving BCC graduates, such as NJ STARS II and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society members, are eligible for even greater scholarships at the University.

Additionally, this partnership features the creation and management of a dedicated FDU office at BCC to promote the program and facilitate the transfer of credits.

“The key will be the office on the BCC campus and increasing student awareness,” said Jonathan Wexler, vice president of enrollment management at FDU.

The office is expected to be up and running before the end of 2013.

FDU administrators believe the program could be a model for others to follow and one that can be expanded elsewhere. “I would like FDU to become the preferred destination of New Jersey community college students who want to continue their education,” said Joseph Kiernan, Metropolitan Campus provost and senior vice provost for institutional effectiveness, who was one of the original architects of the deal.

N.J. Assemblyman Gordon M. Johnson (D-Bergen County) praised the collaboration at the signing, adding, “I’m so pleased with this public/private model. It’s win-win.”

(At right) FDU Metropolitan Campus Provost and Senior Vice Provost for Institutional Effectiveness Joseph Kiernan (left) and Ocean County College President Jon H. Larson sign the OCC-FDU Scholars Program agreement on Friday, Oct. 25. Looking on are (from left) Kenneth T. Vehrkens, dean of FDU’s Petrocelli College of Continuing Studies; Jonathan Wexler, FDU's vice president for enrollment management; Donald Hoover, senior lecturer in FDU's International School of Hospitality & Tourism Management; Anthony Mastropietro, FDU director of Community College Partnerships; and Jianping Wang, OCC vice president of academic affairs. (Photo courtesy of Ocean Community College)

Following the launch of the BCC-FDU Scholars Program, the University established a similar scholars program with Ocean County College, located in Toms River, N.J., on Friday, Oct. 25. OCC students will be eligible for a 40 percent reduced tuition rate, to be applied toward the BA, BS or combined degree program of their choice, following the completion of their associate degree. Any OCC graduate who chooses to live on campus, at either FDU’s Metropolitan Campus or the College at Florham, will also receive a $1,500 per year housing grant.

Feature Story from the FDU Newsroom

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