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RCSJ, Rutgers University–Newark Forge New Pathways for Students With Partnership Agreement

State officials, administrators, and educators from Rowan College of South Jersey and Rutgers University–Newark were on the Cumberland campus to celebrate a new transfer partnership agreement between the two schools with RCSJ students, faculty, and staff.

Rowan College of South Jersey (RCSJ) and Rutgers University–Newark recently participated in a transfer partnership agreement ceremony at the Guaracini Center, located on the College’s Cumberland campus. State officials, administrators, and educators from both colleges were present and combined with RCSJ students, faculty, and staff to celebrate the event.

The partnership agreement will develop broader opportunities for RCSJ graduates, equipping them with the tools to create a seamless transfer into Rutgers–University Newark while providing them with reliable predictive academic pathways into the North Jersey university.

“We created a Strategic Plan and one of the things we promised was that we would do whatever we could to make sure students had access to continue their educational journeys,” said Almarie Jones, vice president, chief diversity officer of Diversity and Equity/Title IX and compliance at RCSJ.

“Rutgers University–Newark has a phenomenal reputation if you look at what they’re doing across the world, and what they do in that community,” she continued, while also noting that April is Diversity Month. “They are actively involved in 21 countries, so it doesn’t get any more diverse than that. We [want our students] to pursue that opportunity if [they’re] interested.”

“RCSJ–Cumberland has a history that goes back as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and we fly that flag proudly,” said Dr. Fred Keating, president, RCSJ. “Rowan College of South Jersey, with the Gloucester and Cumberland campuses, has been recognized as the only community college in the state of New Jersey that has both an HSI transfer agreement with two universities and also a Historically Black College University (HBCU) relationship.”

“This has been a journey. It’s not a hard decision, but it is a journey to achieve,” he continued. “With partners like Rutgers, we have now forged a new pathway for our students, and we intend to display that to the world.”

Rutgers University–Newark, like RCSJ, is an HSI. The University also focuses on social justice in higher education and creates teaching and learning environments that support all students equitably without regard to race-ethnicity, gender identity, religion, or learning potential.

“The opportunity to create the connections for the Spanish students across the state, is one of the greatest benefits … of this partnership and this agreement,” said Dr. John J. Gunkel, senior vice chancellor, Academic Affairs and Strategic Partnerships, at the University. We’re looking forward to a long and mutually beneficial partnership—most of all for our students.”

Iris Torres, co-chair, Hispanic Advisory Board and director, TRiO/Student Support Services, is thrilled about the transfer agreement between the two higher educational institutions.

“Partnering with Rutgers–Newark is a great example of RCSJ’s commitment to student success,” she said. “Being a Hispanic Serving Institution, the University has embraced the same culture and guidance that RCSJ–Cumberland has provided its students, which is an environment critical of helping first-generation and low-income students be successful.”

“Our students can transfer feeling confident they will have the programs and support they need to succeed and achieve their goals,” Torres continued. “This, along with Rutgers’s excellent reputation and commitment to diversity and higher education is a winning combination for our students.”

This collaboration will also provide the institutions a new opportunity to make college degrees affordable and accessible for students while also improving their access to professional and career pathways.

“I don’t like to overhype things, but to say this is possibly one of the biggest opportunities I’ve had, while being at this college, I wouldn’t really say is an understatement,” said David Gardiner, a Biological Science/Health Science major. “Especially having gone over some of the opportunities that would be afforded from this venture that Rutgers and RCSJ–Cumberland are taking. It’s exciting.

“This partnership with Rutgers is going to be able to help a lot more students … navigate the job field and the educational field and be able to achieve their full potential.”

“As a student in the Adelante Juntos program, I’ve experienced firsthand, dedicated support that’s helped me academically and personally,” said Yasmine Rico Cruz, who is majoring in Biological Science/Health Science and Psychology. “I’m prepared to take my next step … so I can continue my HSI experience. I’m looking forward to the possible opportunity of exploring the Rutgers nursing program.”

“With the partnership like [RCSJ and Rutgers] have established today, after attending RCSJ for two years, this opportunity to transfer and save that money and have that flexibility and gain that access to higher education is really important,” said Jayda Minguela, Behavioral and Law & Social Justice major. “I just want to say thank you … to RCSJ for making higher education more accessible.”

For more information about Rowan College of South Jersey HSI partnerships, visit