Governor Phil Murphy announced last week that approximately 13,000 qualifying students will be able to attend one of 13 community colleges free of tuition and educational fees in the spring semester that starts in January 2019. Directly following this announcement, Mercer County Community College (MCCC) launched a program to maximize outreach to those who may benefit from the innovative initiative.

“I thank Governor Murphy for his vision and foresight to make college more affordable to all New Jerseyians, and for his commitment to invest in New Jersey’s future,” said MCCC President Dr. Jianping Wang. “For us the real work begins now.”

The Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (OSHE) and the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) jointly reviewed the applications and selected Mercer County Community College along with 12 other New Jersey community colleges to share in a $25 million Community College Opportunity Grant (CCOG). This signals the first step in providing a community college education to all New Jersey residents. The initial grant will be awarded to students with household incomes of less than $45,000. Students must maintain satisfactory grades to remain eligible.

The CCOG is a “last dollar” grant, meaning it will cover remaining costs after all other financial aid has been applied. Wang said MCCC has already designated administrative personnel to begin the process, which includes outreach to those who are eligible and the encouragement to act early by filling out the federal Free Application for Student Financial Aid (FAFSA), applying for admission, and consulting with advisers and counselors.

“We need to do grassroots outreach to the people who are eligible but may not be aware of this tremendous opportunity,” Wang said. “We have a full team assembled to assist them. This is an opportunity for those who have a dream, but have not been able to advance that dream.

If you’re interested or know someone who might be interested in taking advantage of this free college tuition opportunity at Mercer County Community College, call (609) 570-3795 or send an email to admiss@mccc.edu. Be sure to leave your contact information. Visit www.mccc.edu/free for more information.