Hudson County Community College Named Leader College of Distinction by Achieving the Dream

February 21, 2024

February 21, 2024, Jersey City, NJ – Hudson County Community College (HCCC) has earned “Leader College of Distinction” designation from Achieving the Dream (ATD), the national reform movement of high-achieving community colleges. The honor is bestowed upon innovative higher education institutions that demonstrate sustained and significant outcomes in the advancement of student success. HCCC is one of six Leader Colleges to receive this honor.

ATD is the acclaimed national nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing community colleges as hubs of equity and mobility in their communities. ATD created the Leader College of Distinction Award in 2018 to recognize colleges that meet challenging student success goals. It is the highest designation of institutional success outcomes in the ATD network of colleges.

“This recognition is important to our colleges. It affirms to their faculty and staff and communities the importance of their student success work and that they are making progress on important milestone metrics in their journeys,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, President and CEO of Achieving the Dream. “Hudson County Community College is an exemplar of excellence within the ATD Network. It is driving accelerated and scaled gains in equitable student success results, which effect substantive improvements for students, families, and the community HCCC serves. Their dedication and hard work both inform and inspire other colleges, and we admire them for their work.”


HCCC Class of 2023

Hudson County Community College has substantially increased student retention and completion over the past five years. Pictured here, joyful members of the HCCC Class of 2023.

HCCC joined the ATD network of 300 colleges in January 2019 and achieved Leader College status last year by demonstrating continuous improvement in retention and graduation rates, especially among Hispanic and African American students; attending annual ATD DREAM meetings; filing annual student success action plans and reports; and serving as an invited presenter at ATD national meetings and webinars. 

“We’re proud to be named a Leader College of Distinction, and thank our Trustees, faculty, staff, and students for helping produce transformative results that empower our students and our community,” said HCCC President, Dr. Christopher Reber. “ATD’s mission aligns with our College’s mission of opening new pathways for our most vulnerable learners and helping ensure that students achieve their academic and professional goals. Seeing our students complete degree and certificate programs, become gainfully employed, and engage in civic participation is inspiring, and compels us to continue building upon our successes.”

Hudson County Community College utilizes evidence-based data and programs and ATD best practices to shape policy and practices that result in student success:

  • “Hudson Scholars,” the College’s innovative, national Bellwether award-winning student success program provides advisement, stipends, and early academic intervention to assist students facing financial challenges, language barriers, employment concerns, and family responsibilities. In just two years, Fall 2021 first-time, full-time Scholars participants earned a college credential at three times the historical rate. Scholars who meet monthly with their counselors during the semester persist to the following term at a 99% rate; Fall-to-Fall persistence improved 46% for Hispanic/Latino students and 83% for Black/African American students. The “Hudson Scholars” program has benefited more than 2,500 students to date, is now self-sustaining, and is in the process of being scaled for all students.
  • HCCC’s “Hudson Helps” Resource Center is a compendium of wraparound services, programs, and supports that focus on basic needs beyond the classroom and result in greater student achievement.
  • The HCCC President’s Advisory Council on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (PACDEI) and HCCC’s corporate partnerships address the needs of the community and the regional labor market, resulting in pathways to careers with family-sustaining wages and apprenticeship programs. These partnerships include Eastern Millwork, Inc., Veolia, New Jersey Water Association, New Jersey Utility Association, International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 825, and many other industry leaders and unions.