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Big changes coming to RCBC in 2017

Hayley Brunetta

In order to further her career aspirations in the medical field, Edgewater Park resident Hayley Brunetta, took advantage of one of the biggest changes coming to Rowan College at Burlington County in 2017.  

 “I did the math and it just makes sense,” said 19-year-old Brunetta of the 3+1 program.

Brunetta, who is majoring in biology, will be among the first students to take junior-level courses as part of the 3+1 program on the Mount Laurel campus in January 2017.

The program was named one of Money Magazine’s top five college affordability initiatives in the nation and can save a student up to $75,000 on their bachelor’s degree.

“RCBC is the first college in New Jersey to offer the junior-level 3+1 courses,” said RCBC President Paul Drayton. “It is one of the most significant changes we have made to the college and it sets us apart from other institutions while offering a real solution to the higher education affordability issue too many students and their families are forced to face.”

Brunetta said she was considering attending Rutgers University, but realized she would be paying thousands of dollars more for the same quality degree she could get through the 3+1 program with RCBC and Rowan University.

Students in the 3+1 program attend RCBC for their freshman, sophomore and junior years and Rowan University for their final year, bringing the total cost of an associate degree from RCBC, plus a bachelor’s degree from Rowan University, to about $25,000.

Starting in January, students can take 3+1 courses in law and justice, biology and liberal arts with a concentration in law and justice, and philosophy. The junior-level courses will be taught by RCBC faculty, at RCBC prices, and students will still have access to their familiar academic support systems at RCBC.

Analiese LaVine, of Medford, learned about the 3+1 program through RCBC Criminal Justice Coordinator and Instructor Joseph Rizzo, who will be teaching a junior-level course in the spring semester.

After hearing about the program in class, LaVine said, “I did the research and talked to an advisor. I wanted to go to Rowan University and it just made sense to do 3+1.

“You’ve got to save money in life,” explained LaVine. “I like saving a lot of money and I like going home and being near family.”

The 21-year-old studied law at Burlington County Institute of Technology, transferred to RCBC to major in criminal justice, and is now taking the seamless path to earn her bachelor’s in law and justice from Rowan University.

“Having Rowan University’s classes on the Mount Laurel campus is convenient and the partnership between RCBC and the university made transferring very easy,” said LaVine. “I tell everyone I know about 3+1.”

Since RCBC and the university formed a partnership in June 2015, the number of students choosing to transfer to Rowan University has more than doubled.

Four more 3+1 majors will be available on the Mount Laurel campus come fall 2017, including psychology, nursing, computing and informatics, and general studies. More majors, including education and computer science, will be coming soon.

“We aligned the majors with our students’ interests and choose the degree programs that had jobs waiting for them at the end of the day,” said Drayton.

Looking at the campus from Route 38, it is hard to miss the other changes. The shell the state-of-the-art Student Success Center, the centerpiece of the Mount Laurel Campus transformation, is complete. The building, set to open in fall 2017, will serve as a one-stop-shop for all of student services. 

“RCBC’s vision for the transformation is to provide students with the same feel and same quality experience that they would have at any four-year institution across United States, right here in Mount Laurel,” explained Drayton.

The college has been moving quickly to meet the transformation deadlines and has already completed the extension of College Drive, so that it now makes a complete loop around the entire campus.

A new campus quad, which will be completed before the fall 2017 semester, will be large enough to hold events such as graduation, concerts or movies and create walking paths to make getting around campus easier. By fall 2017, all nursing, dental hygiene, imaging and health information technology courses will be taught from the new Health Sciences Center, formerly the Briggs Road Center. All of this is in addition to many of the renovations taking place inside the current buildings on campus.

“We are excited to welcome students to a more connected, sophisticated, and engaged college campus experience in 2017,” said Drayton. “We are doing this for our students, because students come first at RCBC.”

For more information on RCBC’s 3+1 program, please visit rcbc.edu/3plus1. To see the changes taking place on the campus, visit rcbc.edu/campus-transformation

Article was printed in the Burlington County Times on Sunday, Dec. 25, 2016.