NJCU, Hudson County CC announce extended partnership to serve community

HCCC/NJCU Connect program will provide seamless track for students to get 2-year and 4-year degrees

In a continuing effort to make New Jersey City University better serve its community, the school announced Tuesday a transformational program with Hudson County Community College that will provide highly visible, inclusive and barrier-free transfer pathways to guide students and their families from high school, through studies at HCCC and on to graduation from NJCU.

The program, HCCC/NJCU Connect, was developed during participation in the Aspen Institute – American Association of State Colleges and Universities Transfer Student Success and Equity Intensive.

It was modeled after the highly successful Northern Virginia Community College – George Mason University ADVANCE program. HCCC/NJCU Connect will create a singular student experience focused on addressing students’ holistic needs, diminishing equity gaps and promoting students’ goal and credential attainment.

Each year, about one-quarter of HCCC graduates — more than any other community college — transfer to NJCU. HCCC/NJCU Connect will provide support for students who may be the first in their families to attend college, work at least one job and commute to and from classes by cultivating an essential sense of belonging at both institutions.

HCCC and NJCU officials said they have committed the time, personnel and financial resources to construct the program’s infrastructure, enhance and leverage student services, build awareness of the Connect program and engage with prospective students and their families.

NJCU interim President Andrés Acebo said the program is another milestone moment for access.

“NJCU recently announced the most significant overhaul of its general education program in decades,” he said. “The historic announcement alongside our partners at Hudson County Community College will only further the distinction that NJCU is now the most transfer-friendly university in the state of New Jersey.

“The partnership between NJCU and HCCC provides tools to change the trajectory for students who enroll in the community college, make the transition to the four-year institution and engage fully in the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree.”

Among the reasons for the program was this: Data suggests that only 32% of community college students transfer to a four-year institution within six years.

“We will change that narrative. NJCU is in the business of transforming lives for the better, and we are proud to partner with HCCC on a research-based solution to the needs of our community,” Acebo said.

HCCC President Dr. Christopher Reber was eager to expand the partnership.

“HCCC/NJCU Connect provides students with a seamless experience from the time they apply at HCCC until they graduate from NJCU,” he said. “Together with NJCU, we are implementing a best-practice model and goals that expand and improve opportunities for our students; provide ESL instruction to NJCU students; offer NJCU housing to HCCC international students and others outside of commuting distance of HCCC enrolled in distinctive programs such as culinary arts and hospitality management; establish collaborative initiatives in continuing education and workforce development; and coordinate HCCC’s potential engagement in the Small Business Development Center at NJCU.

“Once fully implemented, the HCCC/NJCU Connect program will be the pride of Hudson County, providing graduates who will contribute to the local workforce and benefit from upward social and economic mobility.”

HCCC and NJCU were selected as a team to participate in the externally funded national project, a one-year initiative consisting of monthly sessions to support community college and university members in advancing best practices for improved and more equitable student success. The strategy- and practice-focused workshops provided practical support in advancing transfer reform.

HCCC and NJCU teams of faculty, along with representatives from their respective Admissions, Academic Affairs, Transfer, Institutional Research and Advisement offices, engaged in the monthly Aspen Institute-AASCU meetings. Participants reviewed data, shared ideas and planned HCCC/NJCU Connect with four primary components: Communication, Community, Connection and Completion.

A team of HCCC and NJCU staff continue to meet monthly to develop program implementation, and NJCU will dedicate a staff member to coordinate the program launch.