GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — Officials at Atlantic Cape Community College and Stockton University signed an agreement Tuesday that will make it easier for qualified local high school graduates to get a bachelor’s degree.

The Conditional Dual Admissions program will allow students to get an associate’s degree at Atlantic Cape then automatically transfer to Stockton without having to submit an additional application.

Stockton business major Catherine Sehl, 21, of Mays Landing, said anything that makes the transfer process easy and less stressful is a good idea. She graduated from Absegami High School in 2012 and enrolled at Atlantic Cape because she was eligible for the

NJSTARS Community College Scholarship, which paid her tuition.

She said she always planned to continue to Stockton and attended an Instant Decision event, where she was notified the same day that she was accepted.

“That made it so easy because I didn’t have to wait,” she said.

Stockton interim President Harvey Kesselman said about a third of his school’s transfer students come from Atlantic Cape and are successful at Stockton. He said of the 330 county college transfer students who graduated last spring, 115 were from Atlantic Cape.

Atlantic Cape President Peter Mora said its mission is to create opportunity, and the goal of many students is to continue to a four-year college.

“This is where they want to end up,” he said of Stockton.

The five-year agreement is an expansion of a 2012 agreement. Under the new program, first-time Atlantic Cape students can request to also be conditionally admitted to Stockton. Stockton will waive the application fee. Students must complete their associate’s degrees with a grade point average of at least 2.5 and achieve a “C” or better in any required pre-requisite courses.

Once the student has completed 24 credits, Atlantic Cape will notify Stockton, which will contact students and assign an academic adviser to assist in the transition.

Atlantic Cape Vice President for Academic Affairs Otto Hernandez said they will actively promote the program as students apply and track student progress.

“This helps minimize the steps students need to transfer,” he said.

The new program will also give students from Atlantic and Cape May counties who are denied admission to Stockton a second chance to earn their way into the university. Those students will be notified of the conditional admission program at Atlantic Cape as a second option.

“It is nice to be able to offer them an alternative,”said Stockton Dean of Enrollment Management John Iacovelli. “It softens the blow and helps them plan.”

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Five years as Ocean County bureau chief, 12 years as regional news editor (not continuous), 10 years as copy editor (also not continuous), all at The Press of Atlantic City.

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