Estimated 125,000 Burlington County residents may qualify for free tuition

Gov. Phil Murphy announced the free community college expansion at RCBC last May. From left to right: RCBC Student Erin Fintner, N.J. Higher Education Secretary Zakiya Smith Ellis, Gov. Murphy, RCBC's mascot Barry, Higher Education Student Assistance Authority Executive Director David J. Socolow, and RCBC President Michael A. Cioce. Submitted Photo
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Gov. Phil Murphy announced the free community college expansion at RCBC last May. From left to right: RCBC Student Erin Fintner, N.J. Higher Education Secretary Zakiya Smith Ellis, Gov. Murphy, RCBC's mascot Barry, Higher Education Student Assistance Authority Executive Director David J. Socolow, and RCBC President Michael A. Cioce. Submitted Photo

Under New Jersey’s expanded free community college initiative, an estimated 125,000 Burlington County residents may be eligible to attend Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC) without tuition and fees.

The state’s free community college program, known as the Community College Opportunity Grant, covers most tuition and fees for students who do not have a college degree and whose family income is less than $65,000. According to census data, about more than one-third of Burlington County residents meet the income requirements, while half of the county’s adults do not have a college degree.

“There is a great need in our county, and the value proposition for residents who need a degree has never been better,” said RCBC President Michael A. Cioce. “The fall semester starts soon, and we have a team in the Student Success Center who can help you take advantage of this opportunity right now.”

Last spring, approximately 200 RCBC students took advantage from the program – a number that should grow this fall due to expanded income levels and more time to promote the program, according to the school’s professionals.

One of those students, Erin Fintner, received funding as she returned to college to pursue a paralegal career.

“Thanks to this grant, I am able to focus on academics, and I am on track to finish my degree without the constant fear that I won’t be able to pay for the required classes,” Fintner said. “Now, I feel like I can continue on to earn a bachelor’s degree – and maybe even attend law school.”

To learn more about the program, please visit rcbc.edu/free.