As a symbol of its commitment to increasing New Jersey residents’ access to higher education, NJM Insurance Group contributed $100,000 to Rutgers Future Scholars, according to a Tuesday announcement.
The nationally acclaimed college access program for promising first-generation-to-college middle school students in New Jersey is among several college access initiatives that Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway has championed since taking office in July 2020.
“This contribution from NJM makes a powerful statement to young people in our communities about how much we believe in them and their capacity to change the world,” Holloway said.
Each year, Rutgers Future Scholars offers 200 New Jersey middle school students from New Brunswick, Piscataway, Newark, Camden and Rahway the opportunity to prepare for college. The summer before they enter eighth grade, the students join a pre-college culture of university programming, events, support and mentoring that continues through their high school years and, eventually, college.
Brielle Gorrell, who joined Rutgers Future Scholars in seventh grade and graduates from Rutgers this year with a double degree in public health and Africana studies, said the program gave her the support and resources to chart a path to becoming a professor of Africana studies.
“Rutgers Future Scholars helped to instill confidence in myself,” Gorrell said. “After the program, I knew when you walk into this space, you are capable. It gave me an opportunity where I was really in control of my narrative as a young Black woman and where I wanted to see myself. It’s crucial — it offers possibilities.”
Scholars are expected to complete their regular schoolwork in addition to the program’s requirements. Those who successfully complete the five-year program and are admitted to Rutgers receive full-tuition funding through scholarships and federal grants.
“NJM and all those who support Rutgers ensure that a college degree will be a promise fulfilled for our next generation of leaders,” Holloway added. “That promise knows no boundaries and seeks out excellence wherever it is to be found.”
Holloway said that NJM’s contribution is foundational to Rutgers’ efforts to broaden and deepen the Scarlet Promise initiative, which comprises a range of programs that break down financial and other barriers preventing many talented students from attending the university and graduating on time.
“NJM has a proud history of supporting educational initiatives, especially those that empower underserved students and provide access to higher education. We know that there are challenges in the pursuit of a college degree,” said Mitch Livingston, a Rutgers alumnus and NJM CEO and president. “The Rutgers Future Scholars program has a proven track record of meeting this need, and we are pleased to provide this contribution as part of our core value of supporting the communities we are privileged to serve.”