West Windsor, N.J. – Mercer County Community College (MCCC) traded in its green and gold for orange and black on Wednesday, Aug. 14, as the college welcomed its incoming class of William Paterson University (WP) at Mercer students. Enrolled students will be earning their four-year degrees on the West Windsor campus as part of the program operated under the college’s University Center.
The orientation gave students their first chance to meet with WP staff and faculty, as well as get one-on-one advising before their programs start in the fall. Students were also provided their first WP goodies, in the form of t-shirts and car magnets.
“Admittedly, this is a first for me too,” said Dr. Joshua Powers, William Paterson’s Provost and Senior Vice President in his welcome address. Powers began his position in on July 8 after serving as an administrative fellow in the Vermont State Colleges system and prior to that for 18 years at Indiana State University. “Working with the University Center will be a great welcome to the Pioneer and Viking family. The students and I will grow together this year,” he said.
The agreement with WP allows graduates from Mercer’s two-year programs to matriculate into particular four-year programs. Bachelor’s degrees are offered in Early Childhood Education, Psychology and Liberal Studies, which includes specialties in English, History, Political Science, Psychology and Sociology. The partnership also provides the opportunity to earn master’s degrees on campus and online.
Though the orientation featured students from a variety of disciplines, they shared the consensus that continuing their education through the University Center was a financially smart decision.
“You can’t beat the cost,” said Christian Bonilla, who is entering the Psychology program. “Many of the expenses associated with attending traditional four-year schools – housing, meal plans – are eliminated by studying at Mercer.”
“In the United States, graduates are saddled with over $1.65 trillion in student debt,” said MCCC President Dr. Jianping Wang, echoing the University Center’s cost-saving metrics. “The students enrolling in the University Center are making a wise decision that will allow them to concentrate on their studies.”
Soon, University Center enrollees will have another incentive to study at Mercer. The college broke ground on an expansion to the center, a 22,000-square-foot facility that will serve as headquarters for five of the institutions offering programs at Mercer (William Paterson, Rutgers, Fairleigh Dickinson, Felician, and Wilmington universities).
“WP at Mercer really was the best option for me,” said incoming psychology major Sarah Abbasizamharir. “From the low-cost tuition to the short commute, everything adds up to this being a fantastic way to get a college degree.”