Hudson County Community College (HCCC) Foundation Board of Directors Chair, Joseph Napolitano, Sr., announced that the College’s President, Dr. Christopher M. Reber, has pledged a personal donation of $50,000 to establish an endowed scholarship fund for full- and part-time HCCC students. Dr. Reber will fulfill this pledge through payroll deduction over the next five years. He plans to continue adding funds to the scholarship endowment throughout his lifetime and through his estate planning.
Mr. Napolitano said Dr. Reber created the endowment to provide a stable and perpetual source of income that will assist HCCC students in paying tuition and achieving their academic goals with fewer interruptions or postponements.
More than 90 pervent of HCCC students are eligible for financial aid or scholarships. The Christopher M. Reber Endowed Scholarship will be awarded by the HCCC Foundation Award Selection Committee to full- and part-time students enrolled at the College, including Dreamers and international students, who are in good academic standing; have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.5; and demonstrate financial need.
“We are very grateful to Dr. Reber for this endowment. He believes in leading by example. Students awarded scholarships from the fund will be able to focus more on their studies as it will reduce the worry of balancing their coursework with jobs, caring for families, and taking on student loans,” Mr. Napolitano said.
Since becoming HCCC President in 2018, Dr. Reber has led a range of initiatives to support a student-centered learning environment, one that addresses economic and social challenges that are roadblocks to retention and completion. Each month Dr. Reber hosts “Pizza with the President” and Town Hall gatherings that allow him to meet one-on-one with students, faculty, and staff in order to learn about their needs and concerns, and support and celebrate their accomplishments. He has worked closely with the HCCC community and Foundation in establishing and developing HCCC food pantries and the one-stop “Hudson Helps” services and support centers on the Journal Square and North Hudson campuses that address food insecurity and financial needs and concerns of students and their families.
Dr. Reber led the College’s decision to join the Achieving the Dream network, a nonprofit national organization of high-achieving community colleges that utilizes evidence-based institution programming to improve student success. He championed the construction of HCCC’s first state-of-the-art Student Center on HCCC’s Journal Square Campus in 2019. He is leading and supporting the College’s engagement in local, regional and national partnerships that support an upward trajectory of life-changing opportunities for students and the community. The award-winning HCCC “Out of the Box” video podcasts that he initiated and hosts spotlight the accomplishments of students, faculty, staff and community members, and build awareness of the College’s achievements and innovative programs.
Outstanding student loans in the United States totaled $1.41 trillion in 2019, a 33 percent increase from 2014. The Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Columbia University Teachers College reports that about 80 percent of U.S. community college students work, with 39 percent working full time. CCRC indicates that even though community colleges have a much higher proportion of low-income students than other higher-education sectors, their students’ rate of receiving a $2,000 per year Pell Grant is lower than at public and private four-year colleges.
“Dr. Reber’s endowment sets an example that will help the Foundation raise funding to reduce and eliminate the disparities that have affected our community – especially our Latino and African American citizens,” Mr. Napolitano stated.
Information on the Christopher M. Reber Endowed Scholarship may be obtained by emailing email@example.com.