PARAMUS, N.J. – As Bergen Community College welcomes students back to its campuses this fall, the institution will offer enhanced tuition assistance programs that will make New Jersey’s No. 1 college for associate degree graduates more affordable - and even tuition-free.
Students become eligible for many of the programs, including the state’s Community College Opportunity grant, which offers a tuition-free Bergen experience to students in households earning $65,000 or less, by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Bergen will also offer students assistance through federal emergency aid, while the Bergen Community College Foundation will sponsor $5,000 in tuition relief for students who receive a COVID-19 vaccination. The College has also frozen tuition rates since 2019.
Most aid programs require students to file a FAFSA, which unlocks federal and state grants, work-study and loans. Bergen then uses the FAFSA data to determine eligibility for federal and state programs. Additionally, and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has allocated funds to colleges, which Bergen has purposed a significant amount toward direct student tuition relief. To become eligible, students will submit an application for emergency aid through the College.
Meanwhile, the foundation’s $5,000 initiative – the Bergen VIP (Vaccine Incentive Program) - will encourage students to not only register at the College, but become vaccinated. Similar incentive programs in New York, West Virginia and Ohio have proven effective at increasing vaccination rates and lowering community risk to COVID-19. Under Bergen VIP, the foundation will offer five $1,000 awards for use at the institution by vaccinated students. Students who provide proof of registration and vaccination through a secure web portal will be entered into a scholarship lottery that will take place Aug. 27 via live YouTube stream for four of the $1,000 awards.
Additionally, all new students attending the College’s upcoming July 13 open house at the main campus who either get vaccinated that day on-site (courtesy of Bergen New Bridge Medical Center) or show proof of previous vaccination will enter a lottery held that day to receive one of the $1,000 tuition assistance awards. Visit the open house from 5 to 7 p.m. at the main campus, 400 Paramus Road, Paramus and RSVP at openhouse.bergen.edu.
After more than a year of operating via a mostly remote instructional and professional environment, Bergen will fully reopen its campus facilities and offer courses both in-person and online during the fall semester. Students can now enroll in summer classes beginning June 28 and Aug. 9 and fall classes beginning Sept. 1.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bergen moved all of its classes and professional operations into a remote environment in March 2020 before reintegrating some on-campus staff and classes thereafter. The College’s on-campus protocols such as requiring face masks, the installation of MERV-13 air filters, providing COVID-19 awareness training for students, faculty and staff and limiting on-campus access helped maintain a secure environment that prevented any cases of community spread occurring among those who took classes or worked on campus.
For families and students unsure of their plans for higher education due to the pandemic, Bergen’s affordable tuition and renowned faculty complement general education classes such as English Composition, General Biology and Statistics that remain ideal for transfer to many four-year colleges. Bergen offers more than 130 degree and certificate programs in areas such as aviation, criminal justice, dental hygiene, fashion design and hospitality.
Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip 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.