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Roden and FortsonProgram History

The NJ-STEP Mountainview Communities began as the "Mountainview Program" hosted informally at Rutgers in 2005 under the volunteer leadership of Dr. Donald Roden. In 2013 the program received formal status and support through its affiliation with the state-wide NJ-STEP consortium.  Now, the NJ-STEP Mountainivew Community- New Brunswick is joined by Communities in both Newark and Camden.  The Communities combine direct support and coordination by leveraging existing resources at the university to recruit and retain students transitioning from prison to higher education. In addition to the plethora of staff and units that contribute to those processes, this includes significant contributions from our state and federal opportunity programs (EOF, TRIO and others) falling under the vision of Student Access and Educational Equity within the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

The first Mountainview Alumnus entered Rutgers in the fall of 2005 as a cohort of one. Since then the program has gradually increased the size of each incoming cohort. On average, eight to ten new students are admitted per year. As more students in the program graduate successfully, resources become available to support new program entrants.

Mountainview Alumni have earned countless merit scholarships over the past few years. Recently, two program participants earned back-to-back the prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship. These were the first Truman recipients at Rutgers in over a decade.

Rutgers Mountainview Communities attempt to identify and recruit the most accomplished students from the community college programs within our state's adult and youth correctional facilities as the end of an in-prison educational pipeline known as NJ-STEP. Our original students were selected from the Mountainview men's facility in Annandale (hence our name), however students now join us from various facilities and are both male and female. Once recruited and admitted, we offer on-going support and guidance in earning a baccalaureate degree (or beyond) while managing the reentry process.

In addition to support through the college admissions process, our conselors assist students after enrollment with navigating financial aid, managing personal finances, course selection, and access to direct academic supports such as tutoring and coaching. We partner with NJ State Parole, the Office of Student Employment and various external agencies to find suitable housing and part time employment for students. Finally, we work closely with each student to assist in major selection, career attainment, securing networking and internship opportunities and preparing to enter the workforce or graduate study upon graduation.



Student Candidacy Profile

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