About Cumberland

A Pleasant Surprise

Friday, December 14, 2018
New Jersey Community College Opportunity Grant

In today’s knowledge driven economy, a post-secondary education has become more and more essential to attaining a career that will provide a sustaining wage.

With Governor Phil Murphy’s recent announcement of the Community College Opportunity Grant pilot program, thousands of eligible students throughout New Jersey gained access to a more affordable college education.

Kathryn Shollenberger, a business studies major at Cumberland County College, is one of those fortunate students.

As part of the inaugural cohort of the Community College Opportunity Grant, Cumberland County College will be able to remove the barrier of tuition and educational fees that may have prevented many students from continuing their studies.

“I was very excited to find out that I qualified for this grant,” said Kathryn. “I’d had a partial Pell Grant in my first semester at Cumberland. It covered not even a third of my classes. But it was something and it helped a lot. Now I have this grant to completely cover my classes. It will have an amazing impact on my college education.”

—Kathryn Shollenberger

  “Hearing that I was eligible for the Community College Opportunity Grant was an exciting thing for my family.”

Community College Opportunity Grant (CCOG) awards cover the remaining costs of tuition and approved educational fees after applying all other available financial aid grant awards to the student’s account.

“When Kathryn started her classes as a sophomore, she did not qualify to receive any Pell money because she made slightly more income this year and it was just enough to push her over the edge,” explained Kathryn’s father, Scott Shollenberger. “She told me there was a possibility of being eligible for this new grant, and ultimately it worked out. We did not expect it to happen as soon as it did. It was a pleasant surprise to hear it will cover the cost of her [spring] classes.”

Following her 2011 graduation from high school, the Vineland resident opted for vocational training in cosmetology. “I loved to learn but knew that college was not for me… not until recently,” Kathryn said.

Having been in the workforce for six years, Kathryn recognized the qualities needed to be an effective leader. Business management became her new career focus.

“I typically take three classes each semester and finding out the grant will cover up to 18 credits, I decided to pick up an extra online class,” she said. “The grant will help keep me on track for getting my degree.”

Kathryn said attending Cumberland County College provides the convenience and flexibility she needs to continue working full-time at Rizzieri Salon and Spa in Moorestown, while taking classes online and in the classroom.

“As a working student I have a lot of challenges, such as a one-hour commute to work,” she said. “This involves a lot of time management, making sure I’m doing well in my classes, getting my homework done, showing up for work on time, and being focused while I am at work and while I am at school.”

—Scott Shollenberger

 “This grant will certainly benefit anyone who is interested in going back to school and give them the opportunity to advance themselves.”

Scott accompanies his daughter to campus when Kathryn meets with her student development advisor.

“Both of us are computer savvy, but when it comes time to go online and actually schedule classes, we need help figuring it out. Then I handle the financial end of it afterward,” Scott said with a grin.

“After putting my son through college we had some debt,” he said. “We were able to afford Kathryn’s college expenses to this point, but this grant is certainly helpful. It will make it easier for Kathryn to achieve her goals.”

By taking classes during Cumberland’s winter and summer sessions, Kathryn expects to graduate in Spring 2020. She will then pursue a bachelor’s degree.

“It’s a good thing to ask your advisor what financial aid options there are,” Kathryn advised.

“There was a little bit of fear about going back to school, but it’s been exciting and the professors at Cumberland have been so wonderful. I’ve had a great experience here. The future is very bright.”

Click here to learn more about the New Jersey Community College Opportunity Grant.


Click here to fill out a New Jersey Community College Opportunity Grant form.