For a second year, Rowan College of South Jersey will provide tuition-free courses to eligible students through New Jersey’s Community College Opportunity Grant. One of the 18 community colleges participating in the grant, RCSJ current and new students with household adjusted gross incomes of $65,000 or less a year are eligible for a tuition-free college education beginning fall 2019—a $20,000 increase from last year’s $45,000 income limit.
“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,” said RCSJ President Frederick Keating. “Extending and expanding the Community College Opportunity Grant to incomes of $65,000 or less provides more families the means to earn the post-secondary education they need to be successful in their careers and improve their quality of life.”
Cumberland County College and Rowan College at Gloucester County (now merged to become Rowan College of South Jersey) were two of the 13 community colleges selected to participate in Governor Murphy’s $25 million Community College Opportunity Grant pilot initiative this past spring. Extended and expanded for the 2019-2020 academic year, the “last dollar” grant provides financial assistance to community college students from families with adjusted gross incomes between $0 and $65,000 enrolled in six or more credits for the fall 2019 and/or spring 2020 semesters. To be eligible for the state’s tuition-free grant, 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 who have already completed the FAFSA or the NJ Alternative Financial Aid Application for New Jersey Dreamers, are automatically considered for this state aid. New students must submit their financial aid application before Sept. 15. Students are also required to maintain satisfactory grades and cannot have already earned a college degree.
With more than 120 unique degree and certificate choices, including nine fully online degrees, RCSJ aligns its educational offerings to meet the economic demands within South Jersey’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 post-secondary 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, RCSJ’s partnerships with key businesses and medical services promise a high growth industry at the state level.
“RCSJ is pleased to once again participate in Governor Murphy’s tuition-free community college initiative,” said Brenden Rickards, provost and vice president of academic services. “We are excited to be able to provide Community College Opportunity Grants to qualifying students this academic year. We look forward to supporting Governor Murphy’s vision to offer assistance to more students in an effort to make higher education affordable and accessible in New Jersey.”
For more information on Community College Opportunity Grant student eligibility and program rules, visit RCSJ.edu/ccog.