The Community College Opportunity Grant program provides a last-dollar scholarship to attend a Community College for individuals in households earning $65,000 adjusted gross income or less. The program was first established in the state’s FY 2019 budget and assisted more than 18,000 students last year, including recent high school graduates and working adults. These students enrolled in a Community College and embarked on a pathway toward earning college degrees and credentials. This program expands economic opportunity while helping New Jersey build a productive and innovative workforce that enables economic growth and recovery.
“Camden County College thanks Governor Murphy for his leadership in making a community college education more accessible for New Jersey residents,” said President Donald A. Borden. “This program eliminates the financial barriers that restrict people from getting the post-secondary education they need to be successful in their careers and lives.”
New Jersey’s 18 Community Colleges, as the only educational institutions with statewide reach, provide essential opportunities to more than 300,000 New Jersey residents each year. Over 200,000 students – more than half of all undergraduate students in all public colleges and universities in the state – are enrolled in credit and degree programs at New Jersey’s Community Colleges. Equity and access priorities are advanced everyday with 50% of all students enrolled in New Jersey’s Community Colleges being nonwhite.
The Community College Opportunity Grant program is an important investment in students and in the state’s economic future. This tuition financial aid program supports the most vulnerable residents for whom a college education is unaffordable. This law puts the Community College Opportunity Grant program on par with other highly respected, need- and merit-based college support programs such as TAG and NJ Stars. As New Jersey’s residents face the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Community College Opportunity Grant serves as a pathway for the state’s residents to attain the education needed to move forward and succeed.
Here are the stories of two of those students:
At 27 years old Morgan McGrath, completed her first college semester at Camden County College as a pre-nursing major in spring 2020, after a five-year gap in her education. The CCOG grant made it possible for Morgan to enroll in college. When she found out about the grant, Morgan says it was a huge relief knowing that she would have a way to pay for college and that she was closer to reaching her educational goals. She’s now completed three semesters at CCC and, although it’s been a challenging year with new obstacles, she says she’s so excited to have this opportunity to continue her education.
Luke Ottinger transferred to Camden County College from another community college in 2018 to complete the Our Lady of Lourdes Nursing program. Luke became eligible for CCOG in the Fall of 2020. He chose an accelerated program despite the added difficulty because of extreme financial hardship. The CCOG grant made it possible for Luke to achieve his dreams. Luke has taken and passed his licensing exam and is looking for work as a Registered Nurse.