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Gov. Corzine Signs Historic Transfer Legislation into Law

October 24, 2007

 

Atlantic Cape Community College President Dr. Peter L. Mora attended the Sept. 13 signing of A3968/S2535 into law, legislation that promotes the seamless transfer of New Jersey community college associate degree graduates into baccalaureate degree programs at public four-year colleges and universities throughout the state. Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed the legislation at Camden County College.

Under the new law, each public higher education institution will enter into a collective statewide transfer agreement in consultation with the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education and the New Jersey Presidents' Council. The Commission is the state agency that provides coordination, planning, policy development, and advocacy for the state's higher education system; the New Jersey Presidents' Council is the statewide organization for the presidents of New Jersey's colleges and universities.

"This landmark legislation will significantly improve access to higher education for New Jersey residents for several reasons," Mora said. "First, state colleges will accept all courses completed by community college graduates. This will eliminate the need for community college transfer students to re-take courses they had passed at the community college. Second, by accepting all courses from the community college graduates, those students will be able to complete their baccalaureate degrees sooner. This will save them money on college tuition and enable them to enter the workforce earlier, thus increasing their income capacity. Finally, since minority students attend community colleges at higher rates than at senior state colleges, the enhanced transfer capability this legislation provides will foster increased minority student enrollment in baccalaureate programs in New Jersey."

Prior to this legislation, New Jersey community college students have transferred to four-year colleges and universities on a college-to-college, course-by course basis. With this legislation, New Jersey joins nearly 40 other states throughout the country that have enacted some form of higher education transfer legislation.

The state also benefits from the legislation. Since community college graduates will save money by not repeating courses upon transfer, a larger number of those students will be able to afford attending four-year colleges to complete the baccalaureate degree, Mora said. Second, since there is a lack of classroom space for undergraduate students in New Jersey senior colleges, those institutions will be able to accept more students, since many of the community college transfers will not have to repeat courses previously passed at the community college.

"With increased enrollment in baccalaureate degree programs from community college graduates, more New Jersey students will complete the baccalaureate degree at state colleges and stay in this state," Mora said. "Past experience shows that New Jersey students who complete undergraduate degrees in other states tend not to return to New Jersey upon graduation. This legislation will help reduce the ‘brain drain' and improve the economic health of the state."