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More Successful Students Start at Bergen Community College

According to data compiled by Community College Week, Bergen Community College ranks as New Jersey’s top associate degree–granting institution.

On the strength of a 13 percent year-over-year increase in graduates, in 2014 Bergen leapfrogged Monmouth County’s Brookdale Community College to claim the top spot. Bergen awarded degrees to 2,222 students in the class of 2013, placing it 29th among all two-year institutions in the U.S. Bergen and Brookdale (43rd) are the only New Jersey colleges to appear in the publication’s annual “Top 100 Associate Degree Producers” list for total graduates. Bergen ranked 43rd on last year’s list; Brookdale ranked 39th.

Then President B. Kaye Walter, PhD, said the top state rank and high national placement reflect the College’s institutional priority of supporting student success.

“When community colleges talk about a ‘commitment to completion,’ supporting students from application to graduation remains the overriding goal,” President Walter said. “Over the past few years, we have focused our strategic planning and execution on this idea — providing high-quality engagement through all facets of the institution. Whether that means employing an award winning faculty, supplying efficient student service resources or high-technology facilities, Bergen aims to support students at all levels.”

The quality of that support remains conveyed through recognitions such as the following: the National College Learning Center Association named the Cerullo Learning Assistance Center as the best two-year school tutoring resource in the nation. Bergen represents the first New Jersey school — four- or two-year — to earn the Frank L. Christ Outstanding Learning Center Award. Past honorees include Clemson University, Texas A&M and Dutchess Community College.

While on campus, Bergen students define themselves as leaders too: the Alpha Epsilon Phi chapter of Phi Theta Kappa — the international honor society of two-year colleges — rose to the top of the Middle States Region at the group’s 28th annual convention, earning 12 awards and becoming one of only three “distinguished chapters” among 77 in the Middle States Region. More than 1,100 students have earned a spot in the honor society recognizing their high GPAs and community service projects.

Speaking of which, with 634 students completing 35,000 hours of community service, Bergen made the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the seventh consecutive time. The list recognizes institutions that have incorporated service-learning programs into their curricula and campus environment. Giving back starts at the top: Then President Walter signed the “Presidents’ Commitment to Food and Nutrition Security” pledge initiated by Auburn University — making Bergen the only two-year institution to do so.

For its efforts, Bergen has achieved notoriety as a leader. That’s why the federal government picked the College to direct a consortium of 12 two-year colleges, more than 20 employers and 10 workforce investment boards as part of a $15-million job-training grant to fund a regional healthcare career pathways system.

Health professions programs remain a priority for Bergen. The region’s only health professions integrated teaching center opened in 2016. The $26-million facility, financed in large part by the 2012 New Jersey voter-supported Building Our Future Bond Act, houses the College’s comprehensive health professions programs.

With their Bergen degree in hand, Bergen students transfer to the best four-year colleges in the nation — including every one of the Ivy League schools — or immediately enter careers in sectors such as healthcare and law enforcement.

Do you seek success? Start at Bergen.

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