Rutgers University–Camden Participates in U.S. Department of Education Conference to Support College Access

March 24, Rutgers University–Camden leaders joined college presidents, trustees, and campus administrators from across the nation to support access to higher education for low-income students.

Rutgers–Camden Chancellor Phoebe Haddon (left) with U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr.

Rutgers–Camden Chancellor Phoebe Haddon (left) with U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr.

Rutgers–Camden Chancellor Phoebe Haddon and Nyeema Watson, assistant chancellor for civic engagement at Rutgers–Camden, attended a conference hosted by the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C., highlighting the efforts of colleges and universities to promote access, opportunity, and success.

“By improving access for low-income students, colleges can open doors to advance student success, especially for students from underrepresented communities,” Haddon says. “It is incumbent upon our colleges and universities to expand access and develop ways to ensure that a college degree remains accessible to all students.”

Haddon moderated the opening panel at the event, “A Day in the Life of a Pell Student,” which featured Federal Pell Grant recipients telling their own stories.

Earlier in the day, the U.S. Department of Education released the report, “Fulfilling the Promise, Serving the Need: Advancing College Opportunity for Low-Income Students,” which called attention to institutions across the country that are making significant strides in increasing graduation rates among Pell-eligible students. Rutgers University–Newark was among the institutions highlighted.

The conference spotlighted the promising and proven practices developed by institutions to advance success for low-income students, and encouraged broader conversations to accelerate this work.

In October, Rutgers–Camden took a major step toward improving access to a Rutgers degree by announcing a new financial support program that will help low and moderate income New Jersey families dramatically reduce their college cost by waiving tuition in full or by half.

The groundbreaking “Bridging the Gap” initiative is the first of its kind among New Jersey’s public, four-year colleges and universities, and Haddon says that it strengthens Rutgers–Camden’s commitment to providing access to a world-class Rutgers degree within a supportive campus environment.

The program is offered exclusively to New Jersey residents who will be new first-year undergraduate students enrolling full-time in degree programs on the Rutgers University–Camden campus.

“For students from low- and moderate-income families, a college degree is the surest path to the middle class in our country. I applaud the colleges and universities that have taken measurable steps to open up this pathway and make it a successful one for students from all backgrounds,” U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. says.

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