NJ STARS is a scholarship program exclusively for New Jersey residents that covers the cost of tuition and approved fees at New Jersey’s 19 community colleges.
Students who graduate in the top 15% of their high school class may be eligible.
Students must complete a rigorous series of high school courses as a first step toward eligibility, as determined by the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education in consultation with the New Jersey Commissioner of Education.
Students must take at least 12 college credits per semester and will be allowed to take up to 18 credits each semester if they are able to handle the course load and wish to accelerate their graduation.
Students will be permitted to use summer sessions as part of their five semesters of eligibility, depending on state appropriation.
Students will be permitted to take fewer than 12 credits in their final semester if they need fewer than 12 credits to graduate (effective for Spring 2009 and later NJ STARS enrollees).
Students have five (5) semesters of eligibility for NJ STARS.
Students majoring in areas that require an additional sixth semester (nursing and engineering only) will pay for the additional semester, but be able to retain their eligibility for NJ STARS II status.
Students will have to take a college placement test selected by the New Jersey Council of County Colleges when they receive their conditional eligibility letter from the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority. Community colleges will administer the test and may create partnerships with districts to have on-site testing as well.
Students who do not achieve the required placement test scores will be notified by the college that they are currently in need of remediation prior to pursuing college coursework through the NJ STARS program. Students will be able to take appropriate courses while still in high school to improve their skills, or they can attend remedial courses at the community college while enrolled in high school.
Students who graduate from high school and still need remediation will be given up to one year at their own cost or using other non-STARS funds to gain the skills they need to be college ready. They will not be considered NJ STARS scholars until they meet the requirement, but they will still have five semesters of eligibility upon meeting the requirements during that year.
Students who have earned college credits during high school will be able to submit those credits for consideration to the community college, and upon meeting the established criteria should have those credits applied to their degree. Those students who have earned an associate degree with a 3.25 grade point average or better while enrolled in high school will be eligible to apply directly to a senior New Jersey public college or university for inclusion in NJ STARS II.
Dependent students of military families assigned to a military base and whose parents have established New Jersey as their state of residence will be eligible for NJ STARS as long as all other conditions are met.
Students must earn a 3.25 cumulative grade point average upon graduation from community college to be eligible for NJ STARS II.
Students who meet the top 15 percent requirement must first apply for all other federal and state financial aid available to them by filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) annually within New Jersey's deadline. If a student receives financial aid, NJ STARS will cover the remaining cost of tuition and fees. If a student is not eligible for financial aid, NJ STARS will cover the entire cost.
NJ STARS students must be enrolled in an associate degree program at a New Jersey community college.
NJ STARS students must maintain continuous full-time enrollment at a New Jersey community college.
NJ STARS students must have a 3.0 or better grade point average moving from freshman to sophomore year to be eligible for scholarship renewal for the second year.
For more information about NJ STARS and other state-sponsored scholarships and financial aid programs, visit the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority.