NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – There are about 50,000 Rutgers students studying and rushing around the city.
Thousands of them are hustling down College Avenue trying to catch the next bus, and others are slumped at their desks as lectures begin in 72-seat Murray Hall Room 210, 90-seat Campbell Hall Room A4, as well as other campus lecture classrooms and labs.
However, 900 students each semester choose a smaller, more individualized - even unhurried - environment for their college education in New Brunswick, just not at Rutgers.
Students such as Sanjana Butala attend Middlesex County College New Brunswick Center on the corner of New Street.
The center has only 10 classrooms including an open computer lab, two lecture computer labs, one biology lab and a multipurpose room.
“I think the small center makes it relatively easy to connect with both the staff and the teachers,” Butala said. “I genuinely feel that the professors take great effort to make our classroom experience special and resourceful. Many of my professors went out of the way to help me out and provide me assistance with my problems.”
The MCC New Brunswick Center will be hosting an open house on Thursday, March 12 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. to provide anyone interested in applying with information about the college, as well as a $25 application fee waiver for people who apply on that day.
The Middlesex County College New Brunswick Center currently serves as the educational setting for about 700 community college students taking credit courses, said Evelyn Rosa, director of the New Brunswick Center.
So, who are these students?
Rosa said many of them enroll at the center for its convenient location. It’s especially appealing for MCC students who live farther south of the main campus in Edison.
For others, it allows those who lack transportation the option to walk to the college.
The center is also a way to get your college education and keep a few bucks in your pocket for a boli at Stuff Yer Face.
According to Rutgers’ website, a full-time student at the School of Arts and Sciences who is a New Jersey resident pays about $6,115 for a semester’s worth of tuition.
At Middlesex County College, the tuition for a full-time student taking 12 credits is $1,368, according to their website’s rate of $114 per credit.
Rosa said quality does not have to be sacrificed while saving thousands.
“What I think is important to say is that we offer classes at the same level and quality and content at a very affordable cost,” she said.
She said students who may be unsure of what they want to major in, as well as those who want to take a course offered at a reduced price rather than paying the higher cost at a four-year institution, a chance to explore their options and lessen the money being spent on their education.
The college also has agreements with specific four-year universities that help students with certain degrees avoid losing any of their community college credits, she said.
Although the center is guided by the motto “Educate to Elevate,” there are some limitations. Rosa said some courses can’t be offered at New Brunswick Center due to the lack of computer and science labs in the smaller facility, but most students attending are focused on allied health or business professions, which are less heavy on the labs.
She said that the New Brunswick Center offers about 77 college classes each semester.
The center offers a lot of sociology, humanities and elective courses, Rosa said.
Since MCC students are able to take classes at any of the campuses they choose, there is indeed a benefit to attending college somewhere in New Brunswick other than Rutgers.
“People do find it difficult to understand why I chose Middlesex County College, not just the New Brunswick campus, against Rutgers, but I think the small size of classes makes it easier to connect with professors,” Butala said.