In a virtual press conference yesterday (May 7), Mercer County Community College (MCCC) and William Paterson University formally entered into the “3+1” agreement, allowing MCCC students to complete the first three years at MCCC en route to a William Paterson bachelor’s degree.

Signed by William Paterson University President Dr. Richard Helldobler and MCCC President Dr. Jianping Wang, the agreement covers potential majors in a number of fields including Computer Science, Liberal Arts, and Health Professions. Under this new deal, MCCC students can complete three years—up to 90 credit hours—at Mercer before transferring to William Paterson for a final year to complete a four-year degree.

In addition, William Paterson and Mercer have an existing partnership enabling MCCC students to obtain their William Paterson degree on Mercer’s West Windsor Campus in the majors of Early Childhood Education, Psychology, and Liberal Studies. The new 3+1 agreement applies to four-year degree programs offered by William Paterson on the MCCC campus, or on William Paterson’s main campus in Wayne, N.J.

“Providing an excellent education that is affordable and accessible have always been our goals at Mercer County Community College, and at no time has that been more important than now,” said Mark Matzen, chairman of the MCCC Board of Trustees, who served as MC for the virtual signing ceremony. “This innovative agreement with William Paterson will make it easier for our students to complete their education and embark on fulfilling careers without the crushing burden of college debt.”

Wang noted that the economic consequences of the pandemic, coupled with the desire or necessity for students to stay close to home, has made the 3+1 program an attractive option for area college students, and is a proactive measure to keep them on track to complete their college education.

“We know the COVID crisis has hit families hard, and it is our responsibility to do everything we can to make sure our students do not delay or defer their education,” Wang said. “We are grateful to William Paterson University for this partnership opportunity, as I am certain the students of both institutions will benefit immensely, both in the present and beyond this public health crisis.”

Helldobler stated that taking innovative, proactive steps to increase accessibility to a four-year degree is very much in line with the William Paterson University philosophy, and particularly important as the state and nation looks toward a post-pandemic recovery.

“We know that the baccalaureate degree is the great income equalizer,” President Helldobler said. “People who have a college degree are more likely to own a home, raise a family, have access to health care, and recover more quickly from economic downturns. William Paterson is proud to partner with Mercer County Community College in this exciting new initiative, as we both agree that education is not only a way up for our students, but also a way up for our great state.”

For information on William Paterson University programs available at MCCC, visit www.mccc.edu/uc.