AC JosepH Media

VINELANDRowan College of South Jersey and Rutgers University–Newark, which are both federally designated as Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), signed a transfer partnership agreement during a ceremony last week at the Cumberland County campus.

A Hispanic-Serving Institution is defined in U.S. federal law as an accredited, degree-granting, public or private nonprofit institution of higher education with 25% or higher total undergraduate Hispanic or Latino full-time equivalent student enrollment.

Hispanic Leadership and Community

“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,” Almarie Jones, vice president, chief diversity officer of Diversity and Equity/Title IX and compliance at RCSJ, said in a statement released by the college.

“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. 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.”

Hispanics are the largest ethnic group on the Rutgers-Newark campus at 27%, followed by Whites at 25%, Asians at 21% and Blacks at 19%.

Iris Torres, co-chair, Hispanic Advisory Board and director, TRiO/Student Support Services, said she 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.

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“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.” 

Jayda Minguela, Behavioral and Law & Social Justice major, said the partnership will save her money and have that flexibility and that gaining access to higher education is really important.

“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.”

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