Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 52.41
Liaison Susan Dorward
Submission Date April 14, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Raritan Valley Community College
PA-8: Affordability and Access

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.50 / 4.00 Susan Dorward
Sustainability and Energy Coordinator
Facilities and Grounds
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have policies and programs in place to make it accessible and affordable to low-income students?:

A brief description of any policies and programs to minimize the cost of attendance for low-income students:

The New Jersey Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) provides financial assistance and support services (e.g. counseling, tutoring, and developmental course work) to students from educationally and economically disadvantaged backgrounds who attend institutions of higher education in the State of New Jersey. Undergraduate grants range from $200 annually to $2,500 annually depending on the type of institution and financial need. These grants are renewable based upon continued eligibility.

A brief description of any programs to equip the institution’s faculty and staff to better serve students from low-income backgrounds:


A brief description of any programs to prepare students from low-income backgrounds for higher education:

Equal Opportunity Program - The New Jersey Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) Program contributes to the development of a college-educated public. In partnership with Raritan Community College, the New Jersey EOF Program provides access to higher education and support for highly-motivated students who exhibit the potential for success, but who come from economically and educationally disadvantaged families/communities. Accordingly, the New Jersey EOF Program supports innovative educational initiatives, supplemental instruction, support services, and leadership development activities to improve students’ academic performance. In concert with other sources of financial assistance, EOF Program also makes college affordable for students who find the costs of higher education prohibitive.

Goals related to the EOF Mission include:

The Educational Opportunity Fund program at Raritan Valley Community College is dedicated to providing support to economically and academically disadvantaged students and providing students with the academic support necessary for the educational success in the form of tutoring. To meet this commitment we offer comprehensive services such as: academic and career advisement, personal counseling, additional funding for all semesters including summer, transferring assistance, and workshops for personal growth. EOF will continue to provide accessibility and support to RVCC students who qualify for these services.


The goal of the Fund is to identify promising students (those who demonstrate the commitment, motivation, and potential for success) who, with the special/supplementary educational, and financial support provided by the Fund and participating institutions, demonstrate the commitment and potential to successfully complete undergraduate study leading to an approved certificate; an associate degree; transfer from a county college to a senior college or university; a baccalaureate degree; and for graduate and professional students, leading to an approved master's, doctoral or professional degree.

Improving Student Success
Improving student success, as measured by a) community college to senior institution transfer rates, b) cohort retention, and c) graduation rates, is the major task facing the Fund.

Developing Partnerships with Pre-College and the K-12 Community
To expand the pipeline of students who are able to take advantage of the educational opportunity provided by the Fund, EOF established pre-collegiate efforts such as Talent Search Programs along intervention initiatives for populations and communities that current efforts are unable to serve.

Coordinator: Mr. Donyea Collins, Director of EOF

A brief description of the institution's scholarships for low-income students:

The majority of our institutional scholarships are need based which are targeted for our low income students.

3M/EOF Peer Mentor Scholarship

A $5,000 grant from the 3M Foundation in support of RVCC's EOF Scholarship/Mentoring Program will be used to provide expanded educational opportunities for 10 select students. These students will qualify for the EOF program but will not be enrolled because of the lack of available State funding. Each of the 10 students will receive a $500 3M/EOF Scholarship to help relieve the burden of tuition and fees. These students also will receive support services designed to help them focus on academic achievement, social involvement, occupational aspirations and personal adjustments to college. The program will engage these students, as well as their mentors, throughout two semesters, preparing students to graduate from RVCC with the confidence and skills they need to transfer to four-year colleges or enter the workforce and be successful.

A brief description of any programs to guide parents of low-income students through the higher education experience:

The A&R Office presents at various high schools at Parent Night events. We are currently working with Tracy Rimple and a Middle Earth grant to work with a cohort group of Bound Brook HS students. We recently did a Parent Night event for them.

A brief description of any targeted outreach to recruit students from low-income backgrounds:

The EOF staff visit the various High Schools in the counties we serve to recruit students for the program. The recruitment season runs from October - June.

We work closely with support services like Anderson House, Great Expectations, Arc of Somerset, Agape House (a few examples). At sites we will provide information sessions regarding options that are available, ranging from HSE testing, Workforce programs (certificate of proficiency programs and personal and professional development programs), academic courses and programs, preparation for testing.

The service-learning component of the college (under Lori Moog) has provided us with a great list of resources and contacts to further extend our reach to social services in both Hunterdon and Somerset counties.

A brief description of other admissions policies or programs to make the institution accessible and affordable to low-income students:

• For students who are eligible for free or reduced lunch in high school, we offer application fee waivers.
• If a social service identifies that a potential student is receiving government assistance, we waive the application fee for that person.

A brief description of other financial aid policies or programs to make the institution accessible and affordable to low-income students:

Our policies for Financial Aid are the same for all students. The Federal and State Financial Aid programs are heavily regulated by the government. We have no control over which students are eligible for aid. They are all treated on a case by case basis, based on their family income.

A brief description of other policies and programs to make the institution accessible and affordable to low-income students not covered above:

Our tuition and fees are already low compared to Four Year Colleges and Universities. Students who received Pell and TAG grants generally have enough funding to cover their tuition, books and fees at RVCC.

Does the institution have policies and programs in place to support non-traditional students?:

A brief description of any scholarships provided specifically for part-time students:

We do not have any scholarships specific for part time students, however, all students must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credits (generally 2 courses) to qualify for scholarships.

A brief description of any onsite child care facilities, partnerships with local facilities, and/or subsidies or financial support to help meet the child care needs of students:

The college has a Child Care Center on campus. Federal and State Grant funds are usually enough to cover student’s direct costs. Any funding left over is used towards Child Care. In addition, the Child Care Office has relationships with local and state agencies, students receive discounted child care tuition.

A brief description of other policies and programs to support non-traditional students:

• LEOS- program for adult students (facilitated by Barbara Luby in ACS)
• Childcare Center- provided for employees also, but for students
• Preliminary unofficial transcript evaluation- provided to transfer students (non-traditional?) to identify potential transfer credits prior to applying

Does the institution wish to pursue Part 2 of this credit (accessibility and affordability indicators)?:

Indicators that the institution is accessible and affordable to low-income students::
Percentage (0-100)
The percentage of entering students that are low-income 35.40
The graduation/success rate for low-income students 14.30
The percentage of student financial need met, on average ---
The percentage of students graduating with no interest-bearing student loan debt ---

The percentage of students that participate in or directly benefit from the institution’s policies and programs to support low-income and non-traditional students:

The website URL where information about the institution's affordability and access programs is available:

Information provided by Donyea Collins (EOF), Leonard Mesonas (Financial Aid), Jache Williams (Admissions), and Faxian Yang (Institutional Research).

We do not have data to calculate "The percentage of student financial need met, on average". As a public community college for two counties, we accept all students who apply and have very low tuition rates designed to make education as accessible as possible.

Institutional Research felt that the no interest-bearing student loan debt question was poorly worded and opted not to provide data for this. The percentage of graduates graduating with zero-interest student loans is 12.9%.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.