College Recipient of Grant to Enhance Vital Student Support Services

From left – Jacob Farbman, NJCCC; Dr. Christopher M. Reber, President Hudson County Community College; Dr. Lovell Pugh-Bassett, President Camden County College; Dr. Augustine A. Boakye, President Essex County College;  Shelley Skinner, Tepper Foundation, and Rose Rodriguez, Tepper Foundation    

Essex County College is the recipient of an $80,000 two-year grant aimed at addressing the basic support service needs of college students. ECC is part of a consortium with three other state community colleges (Union, Sussex and Camden) working with the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) to develop viable support services to allow students the chance to continue their education. 

The grant money is from the Livingston-based private Tepper Foundation.

Dr. Keith Kirkland, Dean of Student Affairs, said ECC recently hosted an initial planning meeting with officials from the colleges, NJCCC and the Tepper Foundation. “We are already providing a multitude of support services and this grant will enable us to expand assistance to more of our students,” he said.

In a report from NJCCC’s Center for Student Success, the four major areas of concern of the state’s community college students are hunger, child care, housing and mental health.

Dr. Kirkland said support services ECC currently provides include:

  • Student Food Pantry
  • Child Care
  • Mental Health Counseling
  • Emergency Shelter
  • Transportation Assistance

“We plan to use the grant money for a campus awareness campaign, augment existing programs and explore new initiatives,” stated Dr. Kirkland. He added that the Tepper Foundation will use additional funds to provide the colleges with specialist assistance and other support.

According to the Center for Student Success, “Funding, statewide supports, and enhancements to current Federal and State policies would enable community colleges to better meet students’ basic needs, and ultimately support more students in earning post-secondary credentials that lead to economic mobility.”