🛏 NJ community college adds room & board option

🤝 Rider and Mercer County Community College make deal

🌐 Collaboration benefits local, out-of-state, international students

This fall, about three dozen students at Mercer County Community College will also get a campus housing experience — in a new collaboration with Rider University.

The MCCC agreement with Rider University offers room and board services on its campus in Lawrenceville for a “specialized rate,” according to Mercer County Community College President Deborah Preston.

Students who complete an associate degree from MCCC can then extend the discounted room and board for an additional two years, if they transfer to Rider to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

Rider, MCCC (Google Maps)
Rider, MCCC (Google Maps)

A modified cost was reached by determining that service usage of an MCCC student would be different than those also attending classes on campus — such as not needing a dining plan that covers all meals, according to school officials.

MCCC students signed up for the residential living program also can access the university’s facilities, such as its library, fitness center, bookstore, dining and food service venues, student health center, on-campus parking and fixed shuttle service.

MCCC and Rider University (courtesy MCCC, Rider University) (2)
MCCC and Rider University (courtesy MCCC, Rider University)

International students will benefit immensely from the new residential program, Preston said, as well as out-of-state students drawn to MCCC for its unique coursework.

Mercer County Community College offers an accredited aviation track, a two-year professional pilot program. MCCC also has the oldest accredited Funeral Service program in New Jersey.

A synergy started to build based on the appeal of those unique MCCC programs, according to Rider University Vice President for Facilities and University Operations, Michael Reca.

MCCC and Rider University (courtesy MCCC, Rider University) (2)
(courtesy MCCC, Rider University)

A tentative room and board agreement was first tried out before the pandemic, Preston said. It was then tweaked to better address needs of students and then formally presented in an October 2021 memorandum, before launching for the upcoming school year.

The program is open to current and prospective students enrolling at MCCC for the fall 2023 semester and beyond — and opting for room and board at a campus means a student could be eligible for more financial aid than if they simply rented their own off-campus housing.

Preston said the residential option also gives a new balance to local students who might be seeking more freedom than living at home while attending MCCC.

She said that there has been lots of talk among community colleges in NJ about offering residential services — but that it often centers around the idea of having to build on-campus dorms.

"I think it's going to be a game changer for a lot of students," Preston said.

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