By Hayley Slusser
(NEW JERSEY) State officials announced on July 12 that nearly $30 million will be awarded to colleges across New Jersey to address the impact of COVID-19 on students, according to a press release.
A total of $28.5 million from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief funding will be distributed at 35 public and public-mission private institutions as part of the Opportunity Meets Innovation Challenge grant program. An additional $1 million will be awarded through the Hunger-Free Campus Grant Program to address food insecurity at 11 public institutions.
“Our institutions of higher education have provided a high quality of education to our students throughout the pandemic, despite challenging circumstances,” said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. “Supporting our institutions will continue to be a priority as they work to provide an equitable educational experience for students, prepare them for the jobs of the future and meet challenges ahead.”
The Opportunity Meets Innovation Challenge is designed to implement reforms and best practices statewide. Institutions will focus on historically disadvantaged groups such as underrepresented minorities, low-income students and working-age adults, all of whom were hit hard by challenges arising from the pandemic.
Institutions can use this funding for projects that address the five primary areas of the state’s higher education plan, including early college exposure, college affordability, student success, safe and inclusive learning environments, as well as cultivating research, innovation and talent.
Projects can range from dual enrollment programs, courses to help success in STEM fields, student support programs aimed at increasing retention rates, peer mentorship, mental health support and free transition programs to help first-generation and Pell-eligible college students.
Rutgers University—Newark will receive the largest grant of exactly $1.5 million, followed closely by Rowan University and Seton Hall University, receiving nearly $1.5 million each.
The full list of recipients for this program are:
- Rutgers—Newark - $1,500,000
- Rowan University - $1,499,993
- Seton Hall University - $1,495,190
- William Paterson University - $1,488,000
- New Jersey Institute of Technology - $1,401,884
- Fairleigh Dickinson University - $1,395,777
- Montclair State University - $1,310,500
- Essex County College - $1,000,000
- Mercer County Community College - $1,000,000
- Passaic County Community College - $1,000,000
- Rowan College at Burlington County - $1,000,000
- The College of New Jersey - $1,000,000
- Union County College - $998,800
- Raritan Valley Community College - $983,118
- Rutgers—Camden - $875,520
- Stevens Institute of Technology - $849,042
- Kean University - $832,566
- Camden County College - $814,193
- Rutgers—New Brunswick - $638,102
- Stockton University - $662,280
- Bergen Community College - $562,492
- Middlesex College - $542,000
- Bloomfield College - $500,000
- Drew University - $500,000
- Rider University - $500,000
- Saint Peter’s University - $500,000
- Hudson County Community College - $499,983
- Saint Elizabeth University - $498,860
- New Jersey City University - $498,344
- Thomas Edison State University - $483,496
- Atlantic Cape Community College - $414,297
- Salem Community College - $398,100
- Brookdale Community College - $374,460
- Ramapo College of NJ - $283,000
- Georgian Court University - $200,000
The Hunger-Free Campus Grant program comes from the 2019 Hunger-Free Campus Act, which aims to combat food insecurity at public institutions. In addition to addressing hunger, the funding can be used to implement more sustainable solutions to food insecurity, increase awareness of existing programs available to students and build strategic partnerships to address the issue.
Five of the 11 colleges will receive grants of $100,000, including Rutgers—Newark. Chancellor Nancy Cantor said the program is important for helping meet student needs, according to a press release.
“Our designation as a Hunger-Free Campus recognizes that our multifaceted food access efforts have impacted the lives and success of students and that these initiatives should be expanded to support our campus culture of eco-sustainability and sourcing food locally,” she said.
The full list of colleges receiving grants from this program are:
- Camden County College - $100,000.00
- Middlesex College - $100,000
- Montclair State University - $100,000
- Rowan University - $100,000
- Rutgers—Newark - $100,000
- Mercer County Community College - $99,833.90
- Rutgers—New Brunswick - $99,647
- The College of New Jersey - $99,082.99
- Stockton University - $80,038.94
- Ocean County College - $79,317.56
- Kean University - $56,200
Secretary of Higher Education Brian Bridges said the grant programs not only help address student needs, but will also help the state work toward its longer-term higher education goals.
“Through this critical federal funding, New Jersey is prioritizing students’ needs and ensuring our workforce will be ready to meet the challenges of tomorrow’s post-pandemic economy,” Bridges said. “We appreciate that institutions are committing to this challenge and look forward to learning from the innovative best practices implemented, as we strive to meet the state’s goal of 65% of residents earning a high-quality credential by 2025.”
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