The interest in establishing a facility for higher education in Ocean County dates back to 1957 when the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders went on record favoring a study of the need for such a facility within the county.
In accordance with the provisions of the New Jersey State Law of 1962, which enabled counties to establish and operate colleges; the Board of Chosen Freeholders authorized an in-depth feasibility study. The research indicated a need and recommended that a two-year college for 900 students be established. Subsequently, a study by the State Department of Education supported these findings. Thereafter, the State Board of Education officially approved Ocean County’s request to establish a two-year college and substantiated the ability of the county to support it financially.
On November 5, 1963, the citizens of the county approved the establishment of a college in Ocean County by public referendum. Immediately thereafter on January 15, 1964, the Board of Chosen Freeholders adopted a resolution that established in Ocean County the first county college in the State of New Jersey. On March 4, 1964, the nine members of the Board of Trustees were appointed.
The selection of the college president, the architect and the campus site in fall of 1964 enabled the Board of Trustees and the Administration to plan for the educational programs and facilities to accommodate 900 full-time students. Key members of the administrative staff were appointed in September of 1965 to engage in the detailed planning necessary for the opening of the college in the fall of 1966.
Ocean County College has been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools since May 1969. In fall 2011, the college had an enrollment of more than 10,300 full- and part-time students. Many take advantage of courses offered in the evenings, on weekends, and at off-campus sites throughout the county.
In the face of continuing expansion of the student body and increasing instructional and service activities, the college continues to expend every effort to maintain the high quality programs that resulted in early accreditation.