As of Monday, Oct. 23, Montclair State University and Bergen Community College have signed an academic agreement that allows students who have earned their associate degree to seamlessly transfer into Montclair State’s bachelor’s program.
The signing of the agreement at Bergen Community College was followed by a Montclair State fair for students of Bergen Community College, where they had the opportunity to explore different programs. Both institutions have Hispanic Serving Institution designation.
According to the Montclair State Press Room website, this agreement is effective for the fall 2023 semester. Students who are interested in transferring to Montclair State after receiving their associate’s degree from Bergen Community College need to be in good academic standing and must have the minimum GPA requirement for the Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts programs. They are also required to go through Montclair State’s transfer process, meaning that they need to meet all deadlines related to the application for admission. Assuming that they meet all of these requirements, admission into Montclair State is guaranteed.
Additionally, students who meet a specified criteria pertaining to income and eligibility have the opportunity to receive financial assistance. For their first two years, they can access financial support through the Community College Opportunity Grant. Eligible students can continue their financial support for their third and fourth years at Montclair State by using the Garden State Guarantee.
Andrew Mees, media relations director of Montclair State, provided further information on the academic agreement. In terms of other advantages besides guaranteed admission and financial assistance, he commented that the program between Bergen Community College and Montclair State aligns the curriculum so students can pursue their bachelor’s degree more seamlessly.
“The major benefit of the program besides guaranteed admission and financial assistance is that Montclair [State], in partnership with the community college, aligns the curriculum so that we create a clear academic pathway for students to seamlessly transition once they have completed their Associate’s Degree,” Mees said.
When asked about future academic agreements with other institutions, he commented that one of their goals is to continue partnering with other community colleges.
“The University is committed to its mission of providing access to affordable, equitable and life-changing educational opportunities for all students,” Mees said. “Our goal is to increase partnerships like this with other New Jersey community colleges. We will always look to create new pathways for students to earn a degree, and to reduce the barriers to entry that may prevent community college students from continuing their education.”
President Jonathan Koppell provided a separate statement on Friday, Oct. 27 to the Montclair State Press Room website. He discussed how the transfer pathway has had several obstacles that hinder students from pursuing a four-year degree, and that this agreement is part of his responsibility to reduce these obstacles.
“I believe it is our responsibility as university leaders to make the transfer process as seamless as possible, removing the frustrating, unnecessary obstacles that can deter bright, promising students from the opportunities that a four-year degree will provide them,” Koppell said.
Stephanie Vieitez, freshman nutrition major, commented on how beneficial this program is especially financially.
“I think that’s a perfect idea because I know that Bergen Community [College] is only like a two year school,” Vieitez said. “If you can transfer here and get your credits here I think that’s a good opportunity to continue your work and everything for less money.”
As a transfer from Bergen Community College, Collin Rodgers, a sophomore psychology major, considers the academic agreement a good idea.
“I think it’s a good idea,” Rodgers said. “Last year I used to go to Bergen [Community College], I think it’s a good school. I believe it’s a good idea.”
Fatema Nusrat, a sophomore jurisprudence, law and society major at Montclair State, emphasized that she would love to have the opportunity that the academic agreement provides, if she was in those academic circumstances.
“If you have the requirements and your grades prove you can get in, then I think it’s..hell yeah,” Nusrat said. “I would love to [take part], if I was getting my associates and I needed to get a better degree or get my four years, I would want an option like that.”