Bergen Community College ranked No. 1 in New Jersey and No. 26 nationally for associate degree graduates from community colleges.
PARAMUS, N.J. – For the second consecutive year, more students graduated with associate degrees and certificates from Bergen Community College than any other institution of higher education in the state, according to data compiled by Community College Week. With a 13 percent increase in graduates from the previous year, the gap between the number of Bergen graduates and those from the next New Jersey community college widened as well.
“I am proud that Bergen students set the bar for their peers by maintaining a commitment to completion,” President B. Kaye Walter, Ph.D. said. “The College will continue to support student success initiatives in order to ensure Bergen students have access to resources that help enable their progression through their studies and maximize their opportunities to graduate, transfer and enter the workforce.”
With 2,519 graduates, Bergen ranked No. 1 in the state – ahead of Brookdale Community College with 1,921 graduates – and 26th in the nation among two-year institutions on the Sept. 7 “Top 100 Associate Degree Producers” list released by Community College Week. Nationally, Bergen rose three spots from its ranking on last year’s list. Degree completions declined slightly in the U.S. as a whole.
Data from the National Student Clearinghouse show improved outcomes for community college students who graduate, rather than transferring or drop-out without graduating: their student found that 72 percent of community college graduates ultimately earned a bachelor’s degree; only 56 earned one if they transferred without graduating. This data – and other similar research – have spurred increased efforts by two-year institutions to champion completion as a primary goal.
Bergen has implemented numerous initiatives in support of the national “commitment to completion,” including:
*Joining the “Achieving the Dream” network of more than 200 colleges, which provides access to coaching, technical assistance and research provided by the organization with the goal of affecting evidence-based change. Member institutions develop work plans for student success centered on themes related to enhancing achievement, retention and completion.
*Establishing the “Summer Intensive” bridge program for predominantly minority students from top feeder high schools. Students participate in a five-week workshop on goal-setting, using Bergen’s technology and acclimating to the pressures of college study while meeting with Bergen personnel and other guest speakers.
*Creating “Project Graduation,” a program that identifies students who attended Bergen, or who are currently enrolled, to assist them with their academic progress toward program completion and graduation. Technology and automation enhances and simplifies the process.
*Participating in the “Gateways to Completion” project, which aims to increase student success in high-risk courses students take early in their academic tenure. Bergen remains a founding member of the 13-insitution initiative.
Community College Week also ranks community colleges on various subsets of data; Bergen ranked 10th in the nation for liberal arts and science, general studies and humanities degrees granted by two year institutions.
Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu<http://www.bergen.edu>), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls 16,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip J. Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.