HCCC’s Hudson Scholars Program wins prestigious 2024 Bellwether Legacy Award

Hudson County Community College‘s Hudson Scholars Program was named the winner of the 2024 Bellwether Legacy Award, the highest honor bestowed upon community colleges by the Bellwether College Consortium. This award is presented to a college with sustained measurable achievements, such as high retention, graduation, transfer and job placement rates.

Presented at the Community College Futures Assembly, held Feb. 25-27 in San Antonio, Texas, the Hudson Scholars Program was honored for its sustainable impact on student success, particularly those from underserved groups including Hispanic and African American students.

The competition for this coveted award is intense. It is awarded only once every five years, and all finalists are previous Bellwether Award winners.

Presented by the Bellwether College Consortium, the Bellwether awards recognize trendsetting programs that address critical issues facing community colleges through applicable research and the promotion and replication of best practices.

Initially developed under the leadership of HCCC President Christopher Reber, the Hudson Scholars Program expands academic access and promotes student success through an innovative and holistic approach, combining proactive student support, financial stipends, high-impact educational experiences and early academic intervention.

Over 2,500 students are served through Hudson Scholars to date, and the program has made an immediate and significant mark. Hudson Scholars are significantly more likely to stay in school and continue their studies. Over the last three years, the ratio of HCCC students receiving intensive support from a counselor has increased by 575%, meaning that the program is now reaching exponentially more students.

Hudson Scholars students earned a credential within two years at three times the rate of students of the same academic profile not currently participating in the program. Hudson Scholars are effectively graduating within half the time of their historical peers, making the model a game-changer as time is often the enemy for community college students who juggle many competing priorities.

In addition to winning the Bellwether Legacy Award, HCCC was a finalist in two other award categories at the College Futures Assembly. The College’s “Transformational Learning Pathways Model for Justice-Involved Students” was a finalist in the Instructional Programs and Services category. Additionally, HCCC’s “Framework for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Scalable Best Practices” was a finalist in the Planning, Governance and Finance category.