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Student's Choice: Graduate Or Transfer

April 29, 2014 by admin

A Column 

By Elaine Marie Biddulph
     I’m so screwed! Rutgers will not be an option for me. I learned this in a letter I received over spring break informing me that the state university will not accept my AA degree, unlike every other school in New Jersey.  
     The letter seemed to indicate there was good news: I could delay graduation, which I applied for back in the fall, and take an additional cultural and global awareness course to satisfy Rutgers. This one class could be taken in Summer I and would make my AA acceptable to the Rutgers gods, but it would change my degree date to Summer 2014.  
     If I persist in graduating on time, Rutgers will review my entire transcript and pick and choose which classes they’ll accept. My A.A. will never be viewed as a whole by Rutgers. 
     If I graduate on time and take the Rutgers-required course at any time other than Summer I, Rutgers will deem my A.A. incomplete and begin looking at my transcript instead. When they switch to a transfer review, I will need at least three additional courses. And I am far from alone in this situation; many Brookdale students find this out every year just a few weeks before graduating.
     Under the Comprehensive Statewide Transfer Agreement (Lampitt Bill) instituted in 2007 compliant AA degrees are fully transferable and students benefit from the waiver of the lower-level general education requirements at four-year colleges in NJ.  
     This is not the case with Rutgers. If I were to transfer to Rutgers, I would not receive this benefit and would have to take additional courses including an online math for liberal arts students. Math??? I thought I took my last math class at Brookdale…or at least I was led to believe I wouldn’t need to take another one in my college career.
     According to Ann Tickner Jankowki, transfer resources/articulation at BCC, simply graduating on time makes all the difference in the world as to whether Rutgers will accept my associates degree.
     For instance, she said if I took the same class next fall that would satisfy Rutgers when taken in Summer I. “The course will not be considered by Rutgers when they evaluate the AA degree for compliance with the Statewide Transfer Agreement.” 
     “There is an ongoing effort by New Jersey Community College leaders to resolve this issue with Rutgers officials,” Tichner Jankowski said.
     “The issue first came up in spring 2011 when a Brookdale AA degree graduate that transferred to Rutgers notified us that he did not receive the benefits of the Statewide Transfer Agreement because he did not have a single course dedicated only to the cg category.  When it became clear that the issue could not be resolved, the college began sending letters to all students matriculated in an AA program.  This is the third year the letters have gone out,” she said.
     I previously graduated in May 2013 with an AA Media Studies degree and December 2013 with an AA Public Relations degree and never received said letter.
     “Brookdale has been aware for years, since 2008/2009 and to his knowledge has been advising students through email until this year when they opted to send a letter,” said Joseph Walsh, manager of academic programs at the western Monmouth branch of BCC.
“Without the additional CG course the dean’s office at Rutgers is going to disqualify the degree under the transfer laws. There’s no way around it,” Walsh said.
     “Gen eds are not considered to be completed by Rutgers because using the classes in two areas of the degree is double dipping,” he explained.
“Any AA degree transferred to Rutgers is subject to this rule,” he said.
     Should I delay graduation this semester and take the cultural and global awareness requirement in the fall, I will not have to take any additional math, science, or English at Rutgers, only major and minor electives to complete the necessary 62 credits.
     It boils down to a matter of money and timing for me.  If I take the class this summer, I need to come up with a hefty chunk of change and spend six weeks cramming a class in so my diploma reflects summer 2014, instead of spring 2014 as my two other degrees will display.
     So even with one AS degree, one AAS degree, and five AA degrees I still need to complete an additional course at Brookdale to avoid having to take general education requirements at Rutgers, graduate late, and spend more money sooner than expected.
Decisions, decisions…
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