$4 Million of Relief Funds Support Tuition-Free Summer Classes at Bergen

PARAMUS, N.J. – Expanding the tuition assistance program that resulted in recognition from the federal government and First Lady Jill Biden, Ed.D., Bergen Community College will offer degree-seeking students the opportunity to take up to six credits of summer classes tuition-free. Most students who enrolled at the College during the COVID-19 pandemic will qualify.

The College will allocate $4 million from its Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund from the federal government to support the initiative.

“Though we have, thankfully, emerged from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus’ impacts still stretch far and wide - including for Bergen Community College students and their families,” President Eric M. Friedman, Ph.D., said. “Thus, it remains our responsibility to develop measures that can help remove or reduce burdens on them. This tuition assistance program will not only help our students get back on track for graduation due to time lost during the pandemic, but allow them to do so without financial consequence. It’s this type of progressive strategy that makes Bergen a leader in student support services.”

First Lady Biden and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Ed.D., applauded Bergen’s support services during a visit to the institution’s main campus Jan. 20, saying the College represents a national model when it comes to developing innovative tactics that help students succeed. Before the visit, Bergen leveraged nearly $5 million of federal pandemic relief funds to satisfy the outstanding balances of students with past-due tuition bills. The effort impacted more than 2,000 students. The College also used approximately $153,000 federal funds to launch tuition-free enrollment at its Child Development Center for 25 student-parents at the College.

The new summer course initiative - officially “Summer Back on Track” - remains open to all Bergen degree-seeking students who took classes at any time between March 2020 and the present spring semester. To qualify, students must not have graduated from the College and will fill out an application describing the pandemic’s impact on them. The federal funds will cover any dollar amount not covered by a student’s existing awards, financial aid, grants or scholarships. The application will close July 15 at 5 p.m. Bergen offers four schedules during summer sessions both on-campus and online: May 17 to June 24; May 17 to Aug. 5; June 28 to Aug. 5; and Aug. 9-24. Students can register for classes, and fill out the tuition-free application, at Bergen.edu/summer.

The College will also work with students with financial concerns seeking to take summer courses but do not qualify for the program. Those students should email jreyes@bergen.edu.

Bergen offers more than 130 degree and certificate programs in areas such as aviation, criminal justice, dental hygiene, fashion design and hospitality.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

Photo Caption: Bergen Community College will offer tuition-free summer courses for students.

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