PATERSON, NJ -  Thanks to a newly launched program at Passaic County Community College (PCCC), 50 students are receiving additional proactive coaching focused on career exploration; holistic advising on financial aid, community resources, and other matters that could affect their academic success; and a $50 per month financial incentive.

PCCC is one of only two community colleges in New Jersey, and nine nationwide, participating in the SUCCESS  initiative developed by the non profit education and social policy research center MDRC. Support for the Scaling Up Community College Efforts for Success effort is being provided by Arnold Ventures, a philanthropic organization dedicated to “addressing some of the most challenging problems in the country today.”

“MDRC is on the cutting edge of student success research,” Dr. Steve Rose, president of PCCC said. “PCCC is excited about the opportunity to partner with MDRC to improve opportunities for our students.”

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According to a statement by PCCC, the college will receive $12,000 over three years to implement the five-year program that is expected to enroll 150 students in total. Focused on improving the education outcomes of “at-risk” students SUCCESS will focus on those that are attending college for the first time, entering college-level courses from ELS (English Language Studies) classes, and are enrolled full-time.

Similar programs supported by MDRC have proven to be successful, the statement said, pointing to a 37 percent increase in credits earned by students in a test group at three community colleges in Ohio.

“The work of MDRC has had a significant impact on improving student success at community colleges throughout the country,” said Dr. Aaron Fichtner, president of the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC). Participating colleges will assess the practices and outcomes of the initiative with the goal of establishing a model for continuing the most effective practices independently leading Fichtner to continue by saying that they “see learnings from SUCCESS as important tools that will help increase the number of people in New Jersey who hold post-secondary degrees or credentials.”

Governor Phi Murphy, an avowed proponent of community colleges and their ability to help strengthen New Jersey “innovation economy”, also weighed in on SUCCESS saying that he believes it will help the state reach its goal of increasing the number of residents with a “high quality credential” increase to 65 percent by 2025.

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