New Jersey colleges launch bid to lure students home

Institutions will accept transfer credits and provide volunteer opportunities

The presidents of 10 New Jersey universities and colleges have launched the “New Jersey Scholar Corps” to convince students to return home to complete their degrees and help the state recover from coronavirus.

The institutions have pledged a quick review of applications and to accept all transfer credits for courses in which students earned a C or higher.

“New Jersey needs your energy, your intelligence, and your commitment,” the presidents wrote in a joint statement. “This is an unprecedented period in our history, a time that calls for everyday heroes to show up and give back. Think of the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps. Think of those natural disasters and crises when young people turned out to fight for what’s right, to push us toward a hopeful future.”

Montclair State University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rowan University, Kean University, New Jersey City University, Ramapo College, Stockton University, The College of New Jersey, Thomas Edison State University and William Paterson University are members.

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The coalition estimates that every year about 33,000 New Jersey residents attend colleges or universities in another state.

New Jersey Scholar Corps will guarantee housing where possible and also provide students with local volunteer opportunities, such as restocking food banks, coordinating family assistance programs or supporting frontline workers.

“This initiative helps New Jersey students stay close to home with the people who matter most and eases their higher education financial burden with low in-state tuition rates,” President Sue Henderson of New Jersey City University said in the statement. “Just as importantly, many young people are wondering what they can do to help during the COVID-19 crisis and the New Jersey Scholar Corps—much like the Peace Corps—is a powerful way to channel that energy for maximum impact.”

New Jersey’s fall forecast

In an interview with University Business last month, Montclair State President Susan Cole said she and her team are planning for three types of instruction in fall 2020: back on campus with normal protocols, a hybrid of in-person and online classes, and fully online.

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The university was recently notified of a $12 million cut in state funding for the spring 2020 semester and it refunded another $15 million to students they had to leave residence halls.

The university will get about $20 million from the CARES Act, half of which will go to students. The other half will cover some of those revenue shortfalls.

Cole anticipates offering fewer courses and larger classes in fall 2020.

“We have to keep the heart and soul of this enterprise,” Cole said. “It means we have to have the highest quality of instructional programs, we have to continue our research endeavors, and we have to be able to support students to the greatest extent possible to succeed.”

UB’s coronavirus page offers complete coverage of the impacts on higher ed.

Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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