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May 29, 2013 09:37 AM EDT

Rutgers to offer Degree Programs at Mercy

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Rutgers University and Mercer County Community College are collaborating together to allow associate degrees or corresponding studies' holders to earn bachelor's degrees in Rutgers'  nursing, political science and labor and employment relations programs, this fall.

These off-campus degree-completion programs will be taught by Rutgers' professors from New Brunswick, Camden and Newark campuses at the West Windsor College. The classes will be offered during the latter part of the day to encourage professionals to complete their higher education.

"A lot of the students here are nontraditional students; some of them are going to school part time. This would enable them to still stay close to home and in many cases work full-time jobs, and receive their bachelor's degree from Rutgers," college spokesman Jim Gardner said.

The admission process to enroll in any one of these programs will be similar to Rutgers. So, interested students will have to either produce an associate's degree certificate or must have secured 60 credits from any accredited community college or four-year institution.

Selected students will have access to all university services including library resources.

Apart from face to face classes, the university will also offer online and hybrid classes.

 "Rutgers' off-campus programs at Mercer will give students more flexibility to balance family and work obligations while studying closer to home," said Richard L. Edwards, Rutgers executive vice president for academic affairs.

Rutgers has already introduced such initiatives in three other community colleges in Bookdale, Atlantic Cape and Raritan. More than 600 students have already enrolled for the spring 2013 semester in 80 classroom course offerings at these three community colleges. So far, more than 500 bachelor's degrees have been conferred since its inception, 1990s.

Particularly, the programs at Atlantic Cape experienced a tremendous growth wherein Rutgers built a 22,000-square-foot 'Lifelong Learning Center,' in the fall.

The off-campus program was initially established to infuse more four-year college opportunities in critical areas.

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