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PR # 117 December 20, 2007


Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) in North Branch has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the MetLife Foundation to support a program targeted at preparing high school students to enter community college. The competitive grant is one of 10 awarded in a $1.2 million MetLife Foundation initiative to increase the number of students who enter community colleges prepared for college-level studies and eventually are successful in graduating or transferring to a four-year institution.

The MetLife grant has been awarded for the ASPIRE program, a college-readiness program developed by RVCC in partnership with Franklin High School.

?We are very grateful to MetLife Foundation for this generous grant, which will enable us to assist local students to become better prepared for college,? said RVCC President Dr. Casey Crabill. ?Unfortunately, a number of students who enroll at RVCC are unable to complete their degree or certificate programs because they are unprepared for college-level work. The four-year ASPIRE program helps high school students improve their college-readiness skills through workshops, academic enrichment activities, academic advising, career assessment and mentoring,? Dr. Crabill continued.

RVCC launched ASPIRE in fall 2006 with the freshman class at Franklin High School. Participating students will be involved in the program for all four years of high school. Each year a new group of freshmen will be invited to join the program.

ASPIRE participants will be given the opportunity to earn college credit from RVCC in their junior and senior year of high school, giving them a head start on their future. College courses will be held at RVCC?s satellite campus, the Franklin Center located in Franklin Township.

The MetLife Foundation?s Pathways to Student Success grant initiative supports proven methods, as well as innovative strategies, to aid disadvantaged students in preparing for college, gaining essential knowledge and skills in college, completing degrees and securing employment.

With this grant program initiative, MetLife Foundation continues a long commitment to community colleges as a dynamic sector of higher education. ?Community colleges play a vital role by providing opportunities for students of all ages and backgrounds to develop the skills they need for economic stability and success in life,? said Sibyl Jacobson, president, MetLife Foundation. ?These grants respond to the needs of aspiring students in ways that will help assure more of them reach their goals.?

In addition to RVCC, grants were awarded to the following institutions: Bronx Community College, Bronx, New York; Bunker Hill Community College, Boston, Massachusetts; Capital Community College, Hartford, Connecticut; Community College of Rhode Island, Warwick, Rhode Island; Hostos Community College, Bronx, New York; Hudson Valley Community College, Troy, New York; Kingsborough Community College, Brooklyn, New York; LaGuardia Community College, Long Island City, New York; and Northampton Community College, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Other Foundation programs benefiting community colleges are the MetLife Foundation Community College Excellence Award administered by Jobs for the Future, and the MetLife Foundation Initiative for Student Success with the Community College Leadership Program, University of Texas at Austin.

MetLife Foundation was established in 1976 by MetLife to carry on the company?s longstanding tradition of community involvement and contributions. The Foundation supports education, health, civic and cultural programs throughout the United States. In education it places special emphasis on strengthening teaching and learning in public schools and on community colleges. Its grantmaking is informed by findings from the annual MetLife Survey of the American Teacher . For more information, visit MetLife Foundation?s Web site at www.metlife.org .

RVCC, located on Route 28 and Lamington Road in North Branch, NJ, and serving Somerset and Hunterdon County residents for close to 40 years, offers more than 80 associate degrees and certificates. In addition, customized training programs and non-credit courses are available for those seeking personal and professional development.

The College is committed to offering a quality and affordable education through effective teaching, liaisons with the community?s businesses and state-of-the-art technology. For further information, visit www.raritanval.edu .

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