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Students Now Eligible for Free Tuition at Camden County College

Image Credit: Camden County College

Gloucester Township, NJ – Camden County College is one of 13 community colleges in New Jersey where qualifying students can apply for Community College Opportunity Grants (CCOG) beginning this Spring 2019 semester. These “last-dollar” grants cover remaining costs of tuition and approved education fees after all other financial aid grant awards have been applied to a student’s term bill. Many students will breathe a huge sigh of relief at this news, as currently they are having to find other sources of income while they study, such as using questrade to invest and produce a passive income for themselves. While it is sensible to have these additional streams of income, applying for a grant will help to ease the short-term pressure on them.

This first-of-its-kind opportunity is available to qualifying families under the tuition-free community college pilot program known as the Community College Innovation Challenge.

“New Jersey is pioneering a path to financial security for today’s students by positioning itself as a leader in the fight against ballooning student debt,” said Freeholder Ed McDonnell. “Last year, more than 60 percent of New Jersey’s college graduates left school with student loan debt. Of them, the average obligation was $31,000. The Board is excited to take part in this opportunity and offer low-income families a path towards a debt-free higher education.”

New Jersey trying to reduce student debt is a remarkable thing to be doing. In the past, a lot of students have decided to not continue with their education due to the increasing costs. This shouldn’t be the case. More colleges should be trying to fight student debt too. The debt that college leaves on graduates can be overwhelming for some of them who begin to worry about the security of their future. This sort of debt can have an impact on credit ratings, meaning that students may struggle to take out mortgages in the future, for example. Of course, students can always look to build their credit score back up, especially by using credit cards (article here). However, high student debt is one of the reasons why New Jersey is trying to change higher education for students.

Students with adjusted gross incomes between $0 and $45,000 and who are enrolled in at least six credits at Camden County College in Spring 2019 will be eligible to receive CCOG grants. Students will be required to maintain satisfactory academic progress to remain eligible.

In order to qualify, students must still complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), including state-specific questions.

“We want to once again applaud Governor Murphy’s vision and commitment to expanding college access and affordability across the state,” McDonnell said. “Cost should not be a barrier to higher education for those who seek it. The Board shares the governor’s vision that all New Jerseyans have the opportunity to pursue their education as far as they can.”

CCOG Pilot Schools were selected based on proposals that were jointly reviewed by the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (OSHE) and the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA). Proposals were evaluated by a standardized rubric following the criteria announced in the Notice of Fund Availability that was posted in July 2018.

HESAA estimates that New Jersey will provide CCOG awards to approximately 13,000 students at the selected pilot schools, in line with the funding level appropriated for this purpose in the state’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget.

All 19 of New Jersey’s community colleges applied to participate in the Community College Innovation Challenge. The selected colleges received a $250,000 grant for student outreach, recruitment, support, and further expansion Although there are grants such as these that are meant to help students, there are some students who find that what they receive doesn’t cover their living expenses. For this reason, students are more likely to take out student loans to help them with their studies, looking to companies similar to SoFi to provide the help they need.

Camden County College Camden County College is one of the largest community colleges in New Jersey and ranks among the top nationwide in terms of associate degree graduates. Thanks to its technology-rich physical resources – located in Gloucester Township, Camden and Cherry Hill – and its highly-qualified, dedicated employees, the college has created a tradition of quality education and a reputation of agile, responsive service.

Camden County College sustains a vibrant academic community characterized by imaginative teaching, caring student services, energetic management and collegial discussion of diverse ideas and opinions. More information can be found at www.camdencc.edu.

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Bellmawr, Brooklawn, Mt. Ephraim, Runnemede Among Municipalities to Join Project SAVE

Since the October 17 launch of Project (Substance Abuse Visionary Effort) SAVE, an aggressive effort by the Camden County Freeholder Board to continue the fight against opioid use disorder, six additional municipalities have joined the effort to address the public health crisis.

Audubon Park, Bellmawr, Brooklawn, Camden City, Haddon Heights and Haddon Township, along with the 18 original towns, will participate in the one year pilot program that will focus on early intervention by licensed social service professionals in the municipal court system to combat the scourge of prescription pill and heroin use that has ravaged our community. Defendants will be linked to the appropriate resources regardless of their ability to pay.

Bellmawr Mayor Frank Filipek said: “The Borough of Bellmawr is proud to join the coalition of municipalities in Camden County participating in Project SAVE. The Borough will now be able to offer our constituents suffering from opioid use disorder an opportunity for intervention. Sadly, Bellmawr, not unlike most municipalities everywhere, has not been immune to this crippling and growing epidemic. As a community, we look forward to seeing the positive effects of having this type of valuable program at our disposal.”

Haddon Township Mayor Randy Teague said the initiative will provide direct assistance to those suffering under the scourge of opioid use disorder.

“This innovative program will be impactful for out township and individuals going through our municipal court system,” Teague said. “Intervening early with opioid use disorder and having an advocate in the courtroom whose sole job is to navigate individuals into treatment will be a significant and welcomed change for nonviolent offenders. This is another tool we can use to combat this ongoing public health crisis and get people the help they need.”

The first municipalities to participate in the program were: Gloucester Township, Gibbsboro, Voorhees, Mt. Ephraim, Oaklyn, Barrington, Haddonfield, Audubon, Merchantville, Magnolia, Pine Hill, Pennsauken, Lawnside, Woodlynne, Gloucester City, Runnemede, Lindenwold and Collingwsood.

Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli Jr, founder and active member of the Camden County Addiction Awareness Task Force, talked about intervention being the next operational phase.

“We are looking at all options to make a long-term impact on this epidemic,” Cappelli said. “We have seen the impact this program has had on a small scale in Gloucester Township and we believe as a governing body we should be opening it up and providing the same hope and opportunity for treatment, detox and recovery throughout the entire county. It is no secret that every municipality in the county is struggling with this crisis and the sooner we have the ability to get professionals intervening to stop it, the better off residents will be.”

This program is being implemented for one year to look at the effectiveness of having an advocate and navigator for nonviolent offenders suffering from opioid use disorder. The objective of this program will be to save lives, stabilize individuals suffering through the throes of addiction and reduce recidivism in the criminal justice system. Today, more than 50 percent of our inmates entering the Camden County Jail have a use disorder and 277 individuals lost their lives to opioid overdose throughout the county in 2017.

By harnessing the use of regional contract management services the Freeholder Board can leverage economies of scale for the participating towns to lower the overall costs of the program. The Freeholder Board will be allocating $100,000 to start the program and monitor its investment through the county Department of Health and Human Services with the 18 incoming municipalities like any other grant program. Furthermore, the Board continues to invest funds into this epidemic because more people died of opioid overdoses in the county in 2017 than from homicide and motor vehicle accidents combined.

Camden City Mayor Frank Moran talked about the opportunity for the city and the importance of the program.

“The City of Camden recognizes the importance of combating the ongoing health crisis related to prescription pill and heroin abuse that is taking place in so many communities throughout Camden County and beyond. The City commends the County Freeholder Board for taking action by expanding access to resources and implementing much needed treatment opportunities through Project SAVE,” Moran said. “The City of Camden remains interested in entering Project SAVE Pilot as it explores the programs benefits. The City has requested they be added to the list of potential participants as the pilot program will be funded through 2019 by Camden County.”

This pilot program is being modeled and based on the current initiative Gloucester Township created in 2014. Since the start of their program until this September the township has been able to reach 178 individuals suffering from opioid use disorder.

Law enforcement has been a key partner in the ongoing fight against opioid use disorder and Gloucester Township Chief Harry Earle endorsed the expansion of the program.

“The expansion of Project SAVE throughout Camden County will help prevent further tragic deaths due to this epidemic while also assisting police in reducing crime because we know that arrest alone does not effectively reduce crime,” Earle said.

As the nation grapples with an evolving public health crisis that has, according to the Centers for Disease Control, killed 72,000 people last year the Freeholder Board will be working and looking for more innovative ways to treat individuals in crisis.

“I believe opioid use disorder is the number one challenge facing the county today,” Cappelli continued. “We have funded treatment, worked with our healthcare providers and funded progressive harm reduction policies. This is the next phase for us to get at the heart of the issue.”

The Camden County Addiction Awareness Task Force, created by the Freeholder Board in 2014, maintains the website www.addictions.camdencounty.com to help educate residents on the resources available to prevent and treat addiction.

If you or a loved one needs help please call our 24/7 toll-free confidential hotline for addiction help at (877) 266-8222 or call 911 in the event of an emergency.

The Camden County Office of Mental Health and Addiction is located in the Michael J. DiPiero Center for Human Services, 512 Lakeland Road in Gloucester Township.

You can reach them by phone at (856) 374-6361.

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Boro of Runnemede & Camden County Improvement Authority Propose Revisions to CDBG Project

The Borough of Runnemede and the Camden County Improvement Authority are proposing revisions to a Community Development Block Grant project, according to a Legal Notice that was published on October 19, 2018.

According to the Legal Notice, the Borough of Runnemede and the Camden County Improvement Authority are proposing the following revisions to the Community Development Block Grant project(s) as follows:

Change Year 39 – $23,285.66 from “Borough Hall Parking Lot ADA Improvements” to “Removal of architectural barriers in the municipal building; installation of an ADA Hallway and Elevator” within Block Group 3 of Census Tract 6072.

Citizens will have the opportunity to comment on the above activity revision during a Public Hearing during the next regular council meeting at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at Runnemede Borough Hall located at 24 North Black Horse Pike, Runnemede.

Written comments also may be addressed to the Improvement Authority, Community Development Block Grant Program, 2220 Voorhees Town Center, Voorhees, NJ 08043 and will be accepted up to 30 days from the date of this publication.

The Authority will consider all comments.

Comments may also be sent directly to the HUD Newark Office, 1 Newark Center 07102 up to 30 days from the date of this notice.

(Source: NJ Public Notices.com)

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Bellmawr, Brooklawn, Mt. Ephraim, Runnemede Among Recreation Facility Enhancement Grant Recipients

DJI Mavic Pro Drone Image of the Bellmawr Hockey Complex by SJO

The Camden County Freeholder has approved the recommendations of the Open Space Preservation Trust Fund Advisory Committee to award $25,000 grants to 35 projects across Camden County.

The 2018 Recreation Facility Enhancement Project Grants, totaling $875,000 this year, are funded through the Camden County Open Space Preservation Trust Fund and are presented to existing publicly owned recreation facilities planning to expand their utilization for recreational purposes.

“These grants are an opportunity to build and enhance our parks and playgrounds throughout the county. We know these passive and active recreational offerings make Camden County a special place to live and improve our overall quality of life,” said Freeholder Jeffery L. Nash, liaison to the Open Space Preservation Trust Fund Advisory Committee. “This year’s applications represented a wide range of projects throughout the county. We appreciate the hard work and planning that went into each request.”

Each year, municipal organizations are invited to submit an application detailing the enhancements planned for their existing recreation facilities for consideration by the advisory committee.

The requests for funding are limited to $25,000 per project, per year. The projects must be completed within a one year period. The Camden County Open Space Preservation Trust Fund was created by the Freeholder Board in 1999 in response to overwhelming voter support of an open space referendum placed on the ballot in November 1998.

$25,000 Grant Recipients

Audubon
Community Center Hockey Rink

Audubon Park
Audubon Park Playground

Barrington
Wish Upon a Star Playground

Bellmawr
Bellmawr Hockey Complex
Korosynski Dog Park

Brooklawn
Pershing Road Recreation Complex

Cherry Hill Township
Richterman Park

Woodcrest Bowling Green Park
National Little League Ball Fields

Chesilhurst
Leanna Harris Park

Clementon
Albertson Avenue Playground Phase II

Gibbsboro
Gibbsboro Bikeway repairs
Gibbsboro Bikeway amenities

Gloucester City
Proprietors Park

Gloucester Township
Cobblestone Park
Wye Oak Park

Haddon Heights
Hoff’s Park
Haddon Heights Soccer Club McCullough Soccer Complex

Haddon Township
Krupinski Park

Haddonfield
Centennial Field

Magnolia
Albertson Park

Merchantville
Merchantville Community Center

Mt. Ephraim
Shining Star Park

Pennsauken
Madison Park

Pine Hill
Joey Green Park

Runnemede
Girls Softball Fields

Somerdale
Somerdale Youth Basketball League Perry Complex

Stratford
Quaker Run Nature Trail
Stratford Athletic Organization Parkview Recreational Complex Baseball Fields

Voorhees
Kirkwood Park
Lion’s Lake Park; Ashland Woods Hale Park
Round Hill Road Park

Winslow
Calabrese Park
Frank Donio Park

Woodlynne
Woodlynne Recreational Facility

 

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Sheriff Gilbert “Whip” Wilson Warns Residents of Phone Scams

Sheriff Gilbert “Whip” Wilson warns residents of individuals portraying law enforcement officers asking for numbers to prepaid money cards by phone, and threatening arrest if the victim does not comply.

“It is important to know that a representative of the Camden County Sheriff’s Office would never direct a citizen to purchase a prepaid money card,” Sheriff Wilson said. “In fact, it is rare that you would ever be contacted by phone by a Sheriff’s Officer. Any legal documents or information are sent by certified mail or delivered in person.”

The Sheriff’s Office has received numerous calls from citizens who stated they were contacted by individuals who identified themselves as members of the Camden County Sheriff’s Office and other local police departments. These police impersonators can be very convincing, especially to the elderly and citizens who have had minimal interactions with law enforcement.

They begin by telling the victim that they have a warrant for their arrest for issues such as missed jury duty or court dates. They then direct the victim to stay on the line and travel to a convenience store to purchase prepaid money cards and provide them the card numbers over the phone. They threaten to arrest the victim if the payment is not made immediately.

“If anyone is contacted by phone from anyone portraying themselves as a member of the Camden County Sheriff’s Office and attempting to obtain financial information, please notify my office immediately,” Sheriff Wilson said. “Never provide any personal information to anyone alleging to be acting on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office that has not been verified.”

The Office of the Camden County Sheriff can be reached at (856) 225-5470