The Garden State is home to more than 80 public and private colleges and universities offering a range of educational programs. No matter what program students choose, however, costs of education can be high, or even unaffordable, for students’ families. While each educational program may offer some need or merit based grants or scholarships, and students may additionally qualify for financial assistance from the federal government by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the state of New Jersey also offers several scholarship opportunities for in state residents. These are primarily funded by the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA), and are granted to students in a variety of categories to meet both financial need and reward high achievement. Different scholarships additionally honor the hardship and service of losing a parent or spouse in disasters and emergencies, while others provide aid to students within the foster care system.
New Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Rewards Scholarship
The New Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Rewards Scholarship (NJ STARS) award is granted to high achieving students in two parts. The award is granted by the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) and covers the cost of tuition minus any other government grants and scholarships for up to five semesters of a full course load of 12-18 credit hours.
To be eligible for part one of NJ STARS, high school students must rank in the top 15 percent of their class, complete a full high school course load and achieve the required score on a college placement test. If students do not achieve the required score, they may still be eligible for STARS by participating in remedial courses or training sessions to develop college level preparedness. Students must further enroll in their home county college, unless their desired program is not available, within five semesters of their high school graduation.
NJ STARS students who graduate from a county college with a grade point average of 3.25 or higher, and have a family income of less than $250,000 annually are eligible to receive a STARS part II award to transfer to a New Jersey four year college. These grants cover tuition fees, minus other government awarded grants and scholarships, for up to $1,250. Upon meeting renewal eligibility, STARS II awards are granted for up to four semesters where at least 12 credits per semester must be taken.
New Jersey Governor’s Industry Vocation Scholarship for Women and Minorities
The New Jersey Governor’s Industry Vocation Scholarship for Women and Minorities is granted to eligible students pursuing study at a New Jersey County College or County Vocational School for full tuition in specified certificate or degree programs. In order to be eligible, students must be either a woman or meet the minority requirements as stated in the New Jersey Administrative Code, complete and submit a FASFA and have a maximum family income of $60,000. Students must also be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and reside in New Jersey. The scholarship can be used for several different programs, ranging from Landscape Design and Architectural Engineering, to Computer Aided Design and Drafting technology and Heating, Venting and Air Conditioning training.
New Jersey World Trade Center Scholarship
The World Trade Center Scholarship is granted by HESAA to undergraduate students whose parent or spouse died during the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. The scholarship is also applicable if the parent or spouse died from injuries sustained during the attack or from illness due to exposure to the attack site. Eligible recipients must provide proof that the deceased was a New Jersey resident on September 11, 2001 and an official death certificate and physician’s note stating the cause of death. Recipients can attend any Title IV school in or outside New Jersey. The full scholarship amount will be determined the summer before the fall semester and may be awarded for up to eight semesters at a four year program or up to five semesters at a two year program.
New Jersey Survivor Benefits Tuition Program and Law Enforcement Official Memorial Scholarship
HESAA also awards full tuition scholarships for enrollment at New Jersey public universities and some private institutions to students whose parent or spouse died while serving as a firefighter, emergency service worker or law enforcement officer. Awards are renewable for up to four years, but cannot be granted beyond eight years after the student’s high school graduation. Eligible recipients must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and reside in the state of New Jersey.
New Jersey Governor’s Urban Scholarship
Merit scholarships for college tuition at participating public and private New Jersey colleges are available for students ranking in the top five percent of their high school class, maintaining a grade point average of at least 3.0 at the end of their junior year and residing in one of New Jersey’s designated economically challenged communities. Students must complete a FASFA in order to be eligible and register for the Selective Service, if required.
New Jersey Foster Care Scholars Program
Students who have been in the foster care system for at least nine months after their sixteenth birthday, or who were adopted after the age of twelve, may be eligible to receive financial assistance for tuition and other associated costs for college enrollment. Recipients must have received a high school diploma or its equivalent, completed a FASFA form and been granted enrollment at an accredited Title IV institution.