Alumni Newsletter

Keeping our Alumni informed of Atlantic Cape activities

ACCC Students Get Younger, College Responds to Growing Needs

The average age of ACCC students is dropping as greater numbers of students choose to begin their higher education at community college.

The average age of a freshman ACCC student is now 24.5, down from 27.2 in 2000, according to Dr. Richard Perniciaro, Dean of Administration, Planning and Research. The average age among all ACCC students is 25.5. Several trends have caused this shift, including demographics and cost of education, he said.

ACCC Mays Landing campus

The number of students graduating from New Jersey high schools will peak next year. In Cape May County, this has already begun as the population ages. In Atlantic County, the peak is expected around 2010, unless there is a large influx of working-age families as casinos expand, Perniciaro said. ACCC saw record enrollment this spring, with more than 6,500 students taking classes.

Additionally, the cost of education has out-paced inflation and income growth. “Many students that may have gone away to college or attended a four-year school are now choosing to stay at home, get the first two years at the community college, and save money for years three and four,” Perniciaro said. This trend has been encouraged by the NJ STARS scholarship program as well as by tuition increases at all schools.

For ACCC, this means that the students are arriving with expectations about “college life.” This includes modern facilities, a choice of programs and student life demands.

To meet this growing demand for service, ACCC approved a facilities master plan, Blueprint 2020. The plan calls for a new science, technology and math building, renovation of existing classrooms, a comprehensive student center, a fitness center and more.

The college is working with the state and county governments to secure funding and hired Maria Kellett as Director of Major Gifts to generate new donations that can provide scholarships to the growing population of students in need.