July 21, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

BCC-FDU Seamless University Transfers

Teaneck—College is notoriously debt-incurring and, for some students, it can be difficult to achieve a high caliber secular education without the benefit of very deep pockets. This is a challenge often felt more intensely in the Jewish community, where parents have already paid for 12 years’ worth of day school or yeshiva fees which rival the yearly tuition costs of many private universities, compounded by the costs of studying for a year or more in Israel after high school, before college costs are even considered.

Now, an unusual public-private partnership between Bergen Community College (BCC) and Fairleigh Dickenson University (FDU) is working to expand affordability options for students living locally who seek Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.

The new dual-admissions program, called the BCC-FDU Scholars Program, will offer students several unique options. Initially, the program offers BCC students the opportunity to seamlessly transfer up to 64 credits (a completed associate’s degree) into a Bachelor’s or Master’s program at FDU.

This may sound like any other university transfer program from a community college, but it isn’t. It will also offer generous academic scholarship incentives; all students in the BCC-FDU Scholars Program will be eligible for a minimum of a 40 percent reduction from the FDU tuition rate upon completion of their associate’s degree and enrollment in a FDU degree program.

Students who do well in their coursework at BCC will also be richly rewarded by FDU. Excellent students entering FDU with a high grade point average, in addition to NJSTARS II scholarship recipients and members of Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society are eligible for greater tuition breaks over and above the 40 percent reduction available to all BCC transferring students.

While college life is challenging on several levels (the costs of which are only one part), those who choose to live at home in Bergen County to save money while attending college might be pleasantly surprised at the active social life available to Jewish students at the area colleges. While Jewish life varies from campus to campus in Northern New Jersey, Jewish students enrolled at BCC often benefit from a vibrant Hillel experience.

The BCC Hillel’s current student leadership is comprised of two recent Frisch High School graduates and one Mayanot High School graduate. Weekly meetings at BCC draw 20 to 30 students. Social, religious and volunteer events draw even more. A shabbaton held every three weeks, hosted by Rabbi Ely Allen, director of Hillel for Northern New Jersey, always reaches capacity with a limit of 50 students. And since Allen keeps in regular contact with many of the students he reaches through Hillel, he is often able make sure they are doing well throughout their college years.

Likewise, one of the greatest benefits of the new BCC-FDU Scholars program, according to Rachel Murphy, the academic student services director at FDU, is that there will be an FDU-affiliated staff person located on campus at BCC who will be available to co-advise students along with their BCC advisor, to ensure that they are on track at all times, and will be able to attain the maximum number of allowable credits transferred to FDU.

“Students will be kept on track and advised about the best courses to take for the majors they wish to declare. FDU is well known for its coursework in hospitality management at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and the FDU College of Florham boasts a brand new graduate-level pharmacy school.

“Other popular majors for students transferring from BCC are nursing, business administration, management, finance, psychology and criminal justice,” said Murphy. “The FDU advisor will be there to help transition them to be an FDU student. The advisor will even be able to help register them for their next semester at FDU when they’re still on campus at BCC. Staff from the academic departments and well as financial aid counselors will also be made available to BCC-FDU scholars on a regular basis,” Murphy added.

Jewish students at BCC transferring to FDU can expect as seamless a social transfer as their academic transfer, said Allen. “The students all know each other from the shabbatons and they all get to know each other from the various Hillel events, which are combined from the four colleges comprising Hillel of Northern New Jersey,” he said.

A little known fact noteworthy to the community, Allen adds, is that students studying for up to three years in yeshiva in Israel can also transfer for their last year to FDU to obtain their Bachelor’s degree.

By Elizabeth Kratz

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