Newark’s South Ward Promise Neighborhood established Gateway U, New Jersey’s first hybrid college, offering students a flexible path to an online degree through Southern New Hampshire University.
Newark native Saymah Nah is the college’s executive director. The school launched Nov. 9.
“At Gateway U our mission is to catalyze socio-economic mobility through an affordable and accessible college experience,” Nah said. “We are strategically collaborating across the community to strengthen the pipeline between education and career, where everyone benefits: students, families, employers, schools, and our greater society. As the first hybrid college in New Jersey, Gateway U is excited to work with partners to increase opportunities and improve outcomes for residents.”
Gateway U has an in-person study space in Newark, situated among the headquarters of such companies as Audible, Prudential Financial and Panasonic North America.
“South Ward Promise Neighborhood is one of a handful of organizations nationwide to receive a second U.S Department of Education grant to continue our groundbreaking work to enhance the lives of families in Newark’s South Ward,” said Nichelle Holder, chief program officer at the non-profit South Ward Promise Neighborhood. “Gateway U is part of our work to uplift children and families by giving them access to quality schools from cradle to college and career. By offering a flexible, affordable education through Gateway U that prepares our families for a meaningful career, we are creating a brighter future for Newark’s young people.”
According to SWPN’s announcement, Gateway U “will be an integral part of helping the City of Newark continue to grow and thrive by educating the city’s future workforce for the careers of tomorrow.”
Gateway U’s partner SNHU is private, accredited and one of the largest providers of online education in the country. Students can earn a bachelor’s or associate’s degree at their own pace. And SNHU’s career-focused, project-based curriculum is designed to help students to earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as two years.
Gateway U supports local students enrolled at SNHU by providing personalized academic and career coaching and other support services.
“Student loan debt is a contributing factor to the growing racial wealth gap in the U.S. [New Jersey Institute for Social Justice] recently reported that New Jersey has among the highest student debt levels in the nation. Low-cost tuition equates to better economic footing and the ability for Newark residents to start their careers with a clean financial slate. Students who graduate with less debt will have more money to build an emergency fund, save and invest,” said Della Walker Jr., director of Hire Newark.
“We believe that hybrid college programs like Gateway U, which minimizes the cost of tuition and increases access to post-secondary education, play a vital role in urban communities,” Walker said.
Hire Newark, the workforce development program of the Newark Alliance, will support Gateway U students by providing access to internships, career opportunities, and high-performance career coaches.
Gateway U offers SNHU’s programs in business management including bachelor of arts in management and associate of arts in general studies; health care management including both bachelor’s and associate’s programs; and a bachelor’s communications program.
Gateway U is part of a $30 million one-to-one matching U.S. Department of Education Promise Neighborhoods Program grant that SWPN recently received. The grant will help SWPN continue its work to improve the lives of Newark’s South Ward families and expand its reach to two additional South Ward neighborhoods for an additional five years.
Enrollment is ongoing, and the next term begins January 3.