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Rowan College at Burlington County offers high school students new opportunities to earn college credit

Students at computers

High School students have new ways to earn college credits at Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC), which is partnering with the Burlington County Institute of Technology (BCIT) to provide students an engineering path and is offering a new discount on certain online courses to high school students.

The separate initiatives were approved by the college’s Board of Trustees on Tuesday as part of RCBC’s new College Head Start in High School, or CH2, initiative aimed to reduce the time and cost required to attain a college degree. CH2 also includes the existing College Acceleration Program (CAP) in which high school students earn college credit through high school instruction, and traditional dual enrollment by which high school students receive permission to take RCBC courses outside of their regular school day.

“The College Head Start in High Schools is a wonderful addition to our Rowan University connection that forms one of the country’s first seamless paths from high school diploma to associate and bachelor’s degree,” RCBC President Paul Drayton said. “Research shows that giving high school students a head start toward their degree increases their grades, chances of attending college and, most importantly, earning a degree. For motivated students, the question is simple, ‘Why wait?’ Earn college credit now.”

Eligible BCIT students can enter the program, the Electronic and Computer Engineering Technology Academy, and earn more than 30 credits, or more than halfway toward an associate degree in Electrical Engineering Technology. RCBC courses will be offered on BCIT’s Medford campus allowing students to complete their high school degree while starting their college degree at a much lower cost than at a four-year college.

“This is a great opportunity for our students to get closer to a college degree and a career in technology without high student debt,” said incoming BCIT Schools Superintendent Dr. Christopher Nagy. “We are proud to offer this innovative concept to our students who will get one step ahead toward their postsecondary degree through classroom instruction and hands-on laboratory experience. I thank Schools Superintendent Dr. Christopher Manno for his visionary leadership and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Todd G. Bonsall for his creative work to implement this extraordinary path for our students.”

Students in this program can graduate from RCBC one year after their high school graduation. Students interested in learning more about the program can contact BCIT Coordinator of Admissions and Recruiting Dr. Erin Conti at 609-267-4226, ext. 8245 or EConti@bcit.cc.

The partnership still requires approval from BCIT’s Board of Education, which is scheduled to consider the measure later this month. RCBC is one of about 100 community colleges in the nation accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) and Rowan University’s Mechanical Engineering program was ranked in the top 10 in the U.S. News & World’s 2015 report for ABET-accredited programs whose highest engineering degree offered is a bachelor’s or master’s.

Burlington County Freeholder Director Bruce Garganio called the new path from BCIT to RCBC a perfect example of how county agencies should work together and share services.

“This is a home run for students,” Garganio said. “When two outstanding institutions team up, our students and their families win and we all benefit through a stronger county and regional economy through a well-educated and better-trained workforce.”

Separately, the RCBC Board of Trustees approved granting a 25 percent tuition discount to high school students taking 15 courses identified as ones that have had excess capacity and are applicable to degrees at RCBC, Rowan University or other colleges.

“These are real college courses led by RCBC faculty that provide high school students flexibility to earn college credit without missing their regular classes or after-school activities,” Drayton said. “As a bonus, they will pay less than the regular RCBC tuition rate when RCBC is already the most affordable college in New Jersey. This is an incredible head start toward their degree at RCBC, Rowan University or just about any other institution.”

High school students interested in the online discount may contact RCBC’s Office of Outreach and Admissions (formerly Enrollment Services) at 856-222-3911, ext. 1199 or admissions@rcbc.edu.

Courses available in the 2016-2017 academic year include:

  • Business (Personal Finance and Money Management, Small Business Management).
  • Cinema (American Cinema).
  • Criminal Justice (Police Operations and Procedures, Introduction to the Correctional System, Introduction to Court Systems, Criminal Investigation and Legal Rights of the Convicted).
  • Education (Historical Foundations of American Education).
  • Politics (American Government and Politics, State and Local Government, and Comparative Government and Politics).
  • Psychology (Introduction to Psychology).
  • Theatre (Introduction to Theatre).

“There is strategic alignment between these courses and featured programs in our Rowan Connection,” Senior Vice President and Provost Dr. David Spang said. “These courses will translate very well into our psychology and criminal justice tracts – both of which are available completely online and will soon be part of our innovative ‘3+1’ program that allows students to stay an extra year at Rowan College at Burlington County before finishing their fourth year at Rowan University.”

RCBC is on schedule to be the first community college in New Jersey to offer junior-level courses in January. The New Jersey Presidents’ Council approved the historic program earlier this month and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education is expected to provide input in July.

Psychology and law and justice will be among six initial offerings in 2017. Other programs include liberal studies, biology, general studies and nursing. This initiative is one of Money Magazine’s top five tuition-discount programs in the country.

To learn more about CH2 more please visit www.rcbc.edu/CH2.

To learn more about why “‘3+1’ is so much more than four,” visit www.rcbc.edu/rowan/3plus1.