Serving 5 Counties The New Rowan College at Burlington County is Reinventing Itself into The National Model for Higher Education for Academic and Workforce Development Programs
“The whole idea behind our organization is to always put students first and help them transform their lives with academic, workforce and personal development programs that cannot be matched in terms of cost and quality.” Said RCBC President Paul Drayton.
Its premier partnership with Rowan University has created a path to a bachelor’s degree for around $25,000 with the new “3+1” option. RCBC remains an independent institution offering associate degree programs, certificates, career track majors, continuing education classes and business training from the Workforce Development Institute.
Employing 691 people and serving 18,955 enrolled students annually, RCBC has garnered several honors and distinctions as well as praise for its tuition and educational programs. The “3+1” program was named one of Money Magazine’s top tuition discounts in the nation. RCBC was the most affordable college in New Jersey (a combination of tuition and fees) in 2015-2016. It is in the top six percent of community colleges in the U.S. for boosting graduates’ income levels. Schools.com ranked it the best community college in central or southern New Jersey.
Although its tuition and fee rate is the most affordable in New Jersey, RCBC recognizes that many of its students need financial help. Through the RCBC Foundation, financial assistance is offered to anyone who needs it, with the Foundation giving $2 million in Foundation scholarships since 2009. Board Chair Tony Mahon and Executive Director Anika Riley are leading the effort to make more students and donors aware of the powerful gift of education that RCBC can provide.
RCBC also has an innovative Workforce Development Institute, which forms partnerships with some of the region’s leading employers, including Virtua and Wawa, to increase the educational benefits to their employees who choose to attend RCBC. Led by Anna Payanzo Cotton, RCBC has partnered with companies to develop their existing workforce through customized training programs and improved recruitment through job fairs and courses that introduce prospective candidates to a specific field, such as Women in Sustainable Employment (WISE) that helps women enter nontraditional and well-paying construction and utility careers.
The Mount Laurel campus of RCBC is being transformed at an impressive speed. Since the decision to close the Pemberton campus, the college designed and began construction on a new state-of-the-art Student Success Center in Mount Laurel, which will be completed in 2017, as well as renovated every building on campus. Also up for 2017: the completion of the renovated arts in center in Mount Holly, as well as the Health Sciences building in Mount Laurel, which will be the region’s premier health education institution, thanks to the college’s partnership with Virtua. In addition to new and modern improvements to buildings and infrastructure, the new RCBC campus experience includes a variety of gourmet food trucks, including President Paul Drayton’s favorite, Not Your Mama’s Tacos.
The Mount Laurel campus will be a modern, full-scale campus made possible by its many partnerships, most importantly the shared services agreement with the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
RCBC is also providing exciting opportunities for high school students. High schoolers can start to earn college credit now, which improvise their chances of success in college, lowers their costs and allows them to complete degrees quicker. The college has launched a partnership with the Burlington County Institute of Technology that allows students to earn more than 30 credits towards an electrical engineering degree before they graduate high school. This degree will link with Rowan University so students in this path can earn a bachelor’s degree within three years of their high school graduation. Discounts are also offered on certain online courses that align with some featured Rowan University programs.
RCBC’s main college-wide focus is keeping more students on path to graduate successfully. Although its “retention rate” is slightly above the national average, the college would still like to improve its numbers. It has launched a new partnership with the Education Advisory Board that offers a comprehensive system that identifies students at risk of falling behind. EAB has achieved dramatic results at other institutions throughout the county, particularly with first-generation, low-income and minority students, that RCBC hopes to achieve.
Pictured: Paul Drayton, President, Rowan College at Burlington County