Rutgers At Mercer Community College

Earn your Rutgers bachelor's degree at Mercer County Community College

You can choose from 8 Rutgers degrees to earn at Mercer County Community College.

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Student Spotlight

Casino Waitress Returns to School to Earn a Rutgers Degree

Life is a gamble, but Ana Lopez knew going back to school would better the odds.

A former cocktail waitress at Borgata Casino in Atlantic City, Lopez had seen people taking risks for years. She also knew that getting a college degree was one of the safest bets she could make, although she had put it off for more than a decade.

“I had taken a different route,” she explains. “I had my daughter very young, and although I’d always wanted to further my education after high school, I dedicated my life to raising her. I put those other dreams on hold.”

Then, at 31, the single working mother decided to return to school, commuting from her Galloway Township home to classes at Atlantic Cape Community College. It took a while. After earning her associate’s degree, she continued on to earn a Rutgers University bachelor’s degree through the Rutgers Statewide partnerships program, a degree completion partnership between the University and six community colleges. It is part of the Rutgers Division of Continuing Studies. The Division offers courses for those who have already graduated, including senior citizens, or non-traditional students like Ana looking to get their degree at a later-than-normal age.

“These are Rutgers courses, taught by Rutgers faculty,” explains Jason Jankowski, manager of academic programs for Rutgers at Atlantic Cape.

It is a program perfectly suited to students who may have work schedules or family obligations that make getting to an actual Rutgers campus difficult. It certainly worked for Lopez, who graduated in 2019 at 39, with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

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