RCBC leads state’s new college funding formula to support low-income, minority and adult learners
Thursday, Sep 02, 2021

students walking on the quad

In 1997, the first successfully cloned mammal (Dolly the sheep) was revealed, readers were introduced to the inaugural Harry Potter book and the world was mourning the death of Princess Diana. The year also marked the last New Jersey community college state funding formula update until now.

So, who led the charge to implement a new formula? A group of six community college presidents, representing varying constituencies, with one common goal: to update the outdated. One of them was Rowan College at Burlington County President Dr. Michael A. Cioce, who was part of the Funding Formula Task Force that developed a funding distribution model offering fair representation to all students, including low-income, minority and adult learners. This initiative led to a $10 million increase in operating aid to county colleges and grew RCBC’s state aid by 28%, making it the first increase of its kind in over a decade. 

“I’d like to thank Governor Murphy and the legislature for approving this much-needed increase in funding,” Dr. Cioce said. “This will benefit countless students not only at RCBC, but throughout the state. A special thanks to my colleagues for their collaboration in prioritizing the needs of our students in developing this modern funding scheme.”

The initiative, which was approved by the New Jersey Council of County Colleges on August 31, and now heads to N.J. Secretary of Higher Education Dr. Brian Bridges for approval. The new formula aims to expand access to higher education, address equity gaps and ensure student success. It also aims to boost adult enrollment and reward student progress and completion.

“This new formula honors the core values of community colleges such as expanding access, addressing equity gaps and ensuring student success. It’s a clear statement of the priorities we hold for community college students throughout New Jersey,” said Dr. Aaron Fichtner, president of the New Jersey Council of County Colleges. “This was a very thorough process that achieved consensus support from all 18 community colleges who worked through the council to develop a formula that sets us on a path for a brighter future for our students and state.”

The vote occurred the day before RCBC welcomed back a greater number of students, in person, for the fall semester. 

“This is a huge win for students at Rowan College at Burlington County and students throughout New Jersey,” RCBC Board of Trustees Chair George N. Nyikita said. “The new formula corrects years of inequity and is now aligned with the priorities and goals of our college and the state’s vision for higher education. Dr. Cioce exhibited extraordinary leadership in building consensus among his peer presidents because this is extremely important to the future of higher education in New Jersey.”

Education is the great equalizer, and Rowan College at Burlington County continues to lead the charge to ensure access and affordability for all students. There’s still time to enroll this fall! To learn more about RCBC, visit rcbc.edu.