Transfer Opportunity Program Grant Helps Berkeley Students Expand Their Opportunities

After earning an Associate’s degree from a community college, John Henry Johnson Jr. had taken a job at the Department of Public Works in his home town while pondering his next move. While working there, many of his co-workers recognized his potential and encouraged him to continue his education. When someone suggested Berkeley College, he scheduled a tour. That’s when everything clicked. He liked the idea of commuting to a school close to home—he wasn’t interested in dorm life. More importantly, he loved the atmosphere and small classes that Berkeley offered. He was, however, concerned about financing a Bachelor’s degree program.

Making it easier—and more affordable—to earn a Bachelor’s degree

While touring and investigating Berkeley College, John learned about Berkeley’s Transfer Opportunity Program Grant—or T.O.P. Grant. As an Associate’s degree graduate from a United States college other than Berkeley, he was eligible for a grant of up to 50 percent of the tuition in a full-time Berkeley Bachelor’s degree program. This sealed the deal for John.

Next stop: B.F.A. in Graphic Design

John found the transfer process to Berkeley to be simple. “Everyone was very helpful. I was able to transfer all of my credits and get started right away,” he points out. Now working towards a Bachelor of Fine arts (B.F.A.) in Graphic Design, he studies on site at Berkeley’s Woodland Park campus. He’s learning web design, game design, as well as many of the design software programs used in the industry today. “I prefer working with people face-to-face,” he says. “It’s easy to fit classes into my life schedule and I’m able to work part-time. The T.O.P. Grant also helped tremendously. Even though I have student loans, they’ll be much more manageable when I graduate.”

Research led to Berkeley College

Following his lifelong interest in art, Crisandy Rosario-Almonte had also earned an Associate’s degree from a community college. After a recommendation and some research, he was also drawn to the Graphic Design program at Berkeley College and discovered that he was eligible for the T.O.P. Grant toward a Bachelor’s degree program.

Engaging professors create an exceptional experience

“The T.O.P. Grant was a huge help in continuing my education,” Crisandy notes. “It’s also a great motivation to keep my grades up to renew the grant each year.” Crisandy finds the Berkeley professors more engaging. “We definitely get more attention from the professors,” he says. “There’s also a real camaraderie among the students—we’re there to help each other and there’s a real family atmosphere.”

With a passion for drawing and painting, Crisandy hopes to be an illustrator after earning his Bachelor’s degree. His advice for future students? “Follow your dreams and work hard. Put your mind to it and you can do it!”

Flexibility, affordability, practicality

With a long tradition of outstanding career-focused education that dates back to 1931, Berkeley College also offers the flexibility of day, evening/weekend, and online classes to fit the needs of a wide range of students. Many students combine on-site and online classes to balance their education with family, work, and other commitments. In addition to the T.O.P. Grant, Berkeley offers numerous other grants and scholarships to help students finance a quality education. More than $45 million in Berkeley College institutional aid was provided to qualified students during the 2017-2018 award year.

To learn more about Berkeley’s programs, as well as grants, scholarships, and other important information, please visit

The views and/or opinions in this article are those of the individuals interviewed. The academic achievements and/or employment outcomes described in this article are specific to each individual and are not a guarantee of similar results for past or current students. For up-to-date and detailed information, please visit and view our catalogs at