NJCU and Boys and Girls Club of Hudson County Establish Partnership to Support Underserved Students Attain Higher Education Opportunities

July 8, 2024
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JERSEY CITY, N.J. | New Jersey City University (NJCU) and the Boys and Girls Club of Hudson County (BGCHC) have announced a comprehensive partnership aimed at empowering underserved and underrepresented students to pursue post-secondary education, including peer mentorship opportunities and conditional admission to NJCU. The first-of-its-kind initiative between NJCU and a youth organization was introduced during a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing ceremony on July 8, 2024 attended by leaders from NJCU and the BGCHC, legislative leaders, and high school aged students participating in the BGCGC program.

The partnership, which will promote educational opportunities, social and economic mobility, and conscious and engaged citizenship for Hudson County students, will focus on initiatives to facilitate pathways towards pursuing a college education at NJCU. Upon successful completion of BGCHC programs and meeting NJCU's admission requirements, participants will receive conditional admission to NJCU and a 15% tuition discount for up to four years if they remain in good academic standing.

"This unique partnership is at the heart of honoring our institutional responsibility to the community that we are privileged to serve,” said NJCU Interim President Andrés Acebo. “Too often, for both social and systemic reasons, young people's promise is dimmed. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Hudson County is a source of light in these students' lives and for their families, and we have an opportunity here to brighten that light even more. As a product of Hudson County, this collaboration is personally meaningful, because it was organizations like the Boys & Girls Club that were significant catalysts in my own academic and professional journey. We want to empower the students of Hudson County to have the same opportunities for social mobility that we did, and this partnership enshrines our university's commitment to create pathways so this is an attainable goal for those who have for too long been underserved and underrepresented. We look forward to working with the Boys and Girls Club leadership to further our aligned vision for a future in which any student can attain the self-actualization that they deserve for themselves, their loved ones, and their communities.”

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President Acebo and Gary Greenberg signing the MOU on July 8, 2024.

“I’d like to thank President Acebo and NJCU for their partnership that extends valuable resources to our participants,” said Gary GreenbergCEO of Boys and Girls Club of Hudson County. “Our goal is to provide a healthy space where students can enhance their abilities so that they have the greatest chance at success. Higher education is still one of the most impactful ways in which today’s youth can increase their future earning power. This partnership allows our kids to explore that space and see it as a real option for them if they decide to choose this path when the time is right.” 

The programs offered by BGCHC will focus on peer mentorship, pre-college programming which will expose local students to college life, career exploration, and skill-building workshops. NJCU's Men of Color Initiative members will serve as peer mentors to BGCHC participants by providing academic guidance, personal support, and leadership development. BGCHC participants will also have access to NJCU's Pre-College: GEAR UP College Bound Program, designed to enhance college readiness through academic enrichment, test preparation, and college application support.

The news was celebrated by local and statewide leaders from throughout Hudson County.

“Education is the cornerstone of a democratic society, and everything we can do to better educate our communities will be a benefit for the future of Jersey City,” said Mayor of Jersey City Steve Fulop. “I’d like to commend President Acebo and Gary Greenberg for taking this principle and walking the walk so that Jersey City’s students have a real option to pursue higher education at a price that won’t saddle them with student debt.”

“It takes a village to raise strong communities and NJCU along with the Boys and Girls Club have come together to be a great example one should follow,” noted New Jersey State Senator Angela McKnight. “No one exists in a silo and by lifting up the future leaders of our communities in safe environments where they are able to flourish into the best versions of themselves, we create fertile ground for the future of Hudson County.”

Hudson County Executive Craig Guy echoed the significance of the partnership, saying “Hudson County’s students are the future and this partnership is an opportunity-creator for our kids. A college education is one of the quickest ways for students to attain gainful employment and higher paying jobs in today’s workforce. By providing support for our kids at an early age we put their future first and encourage them to become leaders wherever they happen to land.” 

District 33 Assemblyman Gabriel Rodriguez ’04, an NJCU alumnus, added: “This is a prime example of community partners collaborating to expand opportunities for our youth. Such partnerships help us create better pathways to higher education and, ultimately, greater success. As a proud NJCU alum, I commend NJCU and the Boys and Girls Club on these initiatives that empower Black and Brown communities, ensuring they have access to the resources needed to achieve their future success.”

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President Acebo with leaders and peer mentors in NJCU's Men of Color Initiative who attended the signing ceremony.

The partnership continues the Boys and Girls Club of Hudson County’s long standing work of supporting youth development, working with young people from disadvantaged economic, social, and family circumstance and preparing participants for fruitful and engaging lives, while NJCU champions its nearly century-long commitment to providing a socioeconomically diverse population with access to an excellent education as a catalyst to social mobility.

Additionally, the partnership will foster community engagement activities on NJCU’s campus, including seminars, workshops, and cultural events, to promote educational opportunities and strengthen community ties.

Both NJCU and BGCHC are committed to closely monitoring progress, evaluating program effectiveness, and making necessary adjustments to ensure the success of BGCHC participants. Regular reviews and assessments will be conducted to measure the partnership's outcomes and impact on underserved and underrepresented students.

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About NJCU: 
New Jersey City University is a comprehensive public regional institution of higher learning located in Jersey City, N.J., dedicated to the development of our students, our city, our communities, and our state. We are a game-changing force for our students and have been recognized as one of the top colleges in the nation improving their upward economic mobility. In fact, NJCU has been ranked No. 1 in New Jersey and Top 10 in the nation in the CollegeNET Social Mobility Index for 2023. Whether enrolled in one of our undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral programs at our three locations, NJCU students have access to an affordable, diverse environment, and an exceptionally supportive faculty. This prepares them to go on to become the next generation of workers and leaders who improve their communities and the State of New Jersey.


Ira Thor, Associate Vice President for University Communications | ithor@njcu.edu | 201-200-3301

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