Governor Christie Credits Community Colleges with Improved College Readiness for At-Risk High School Students Through College Readiness Now
CAMDEN, NJ – Yesterday, Governor Chris Christie met with Camden County College students enrolled in College Readiness Now (CRN), a partnership between high schools and community colleges that provides high school juniors and seniors with transition courses that better prepare them for college.
“College Readiness Now is already producing tangible results, helping thousands of students become proficient in key subject areas that they need to advance in college and build successful careers,” said Governor Christie. “Our investment in this program makes a world of difference, empowering participants with the skills and confidence to reach their full potential in college and the workforce, while preventing drop outs and curbing student debt issues.”
College Readiness Now provides cost-free transition courses to high school students who would otherwise have to pay for remedial classes after graduation. As a pilot program in the 2013-2014 school year, College Readiness Now served 921 students from disadvantaged backgrounds who were not college-ready in English and/or mathematics. Sixty-five high schools partnered with New Jersey’s community colleges in the program that was funded with $620,000 in federal College Access Challenge grants from the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (OSHE).
In the current school year, a total of $1.25 million in funding – $750,000 in Federal Title I funding from the Department of Education and $500,000 in federal grants through OSHE – was allocated for the program. There are 92 high schools partnering with New Jersey’s community colleges to serve 1,860 high school students.
College Readiness Now has been successful in helping high school students transition to college. In Camden County, 54 percent of program participants enrolled in Camden County College or a public four-year college. In Atlantic and Cape May counties, 97 percent of the students completing the program enrolled in Atlantic Cape Community College as freshmen, and in Bergen County, 92 percent of the students completing the program enrolled in Bergen Community College.
Siani Green, who graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in Camden and successfully completed CRN at Camden County College in summer 2015, took two college-level courses in the fall 2015 semester, and is currently enrolled full-time as a computer graphics major at Camden County College. During the event, she said CRN provided a great opportunity to her, and urged other students to seize the opportunity as well.
Governor Christie has allocated $1 million for College Readiness Now in the proposed Fiscal Year 2017 state budget. That funding would significantly expand the program, reaching many more students across the state.
Another successful partnership between local school districts and colleges, Dual Enrollment, is also credited with helping over 10,000 high school students transition to college. Dual Enrollment programs offer simultaneous credit for high school and college attendance, again at no cost, saving students thousands of dollars in tuition and fees. National studies show conclusively that if a student completes even one college course while in high school, that student’s chances of graduating from college increases significantly.