Gov. Christie Signs NJ STARS Eligibility Bill Into Law

Last week, Gov. Chris Christie signed A-2364/S-1985 into law, legislation that provides that eligibility for the New Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Rewards Scholarship (NJ STARS) be based on class rank at the completion of students’ junior year or senior year of high school.

Previously, students were eligible for NJ STARS if they, among other things, were ranked within the top 15% of their graduating high school class.

“Students and their families make decisions about where to attend college from February to April of the students’ senior year of high school,” said New Jersey Council of County Colleges President Dr. Lawrence Nespoli. “New Jersey’s community colleges are grateful to Gov. Christie, the bill’s primary sponsors Assemblyman David Wolfe, Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, and Senators Diane Allen, Sandra Cunningham and Teresa Ruiz, as well as the entire legislature, which voted for this bill unanimously, for ensuring that students and their families will know with certainty that NJ STARS is available to them when making decisions about where to attend college.

“We are also grateful to New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority Executive Director Gabrielle Charette, Esq., and her staff for working with us on this important legislative priority,” Nespoli added.

The new law takes effect with students who graduated in the 2013-2014 school year. In addition, the new law provides that in the event that a student was notified of eligibility for NJ STARS for the first year of enrollment in a community college in the 2013-2014 academic year based on the student’s class rank at the completion of the 11th grade, the student is eligible for the scholarship in that academic year if the student meets all other requirements for receipt of a scholarship.

NJ STARS is a scholarship program exclusively for New Jersey residents that covers the cost of tuition at New Jersey’s 19 community colleges. Students who rank in the top 15 percent of their high school class at the end of either junior or senior year may be eligible. New Jersey community college NJ STARS students who earn their associate degrees with a 3.25 grade point average or better are eligible for up to a $2,500 per year state-funded NJ STARS II scholarship at any New Jersey public or independent New Jersey Tuition Aid Grant-participating four-year college or university. For more information about NJ STARS and NJ STARS II, visit www.njstars.net.

The New Jersey Council of County Colleges is the state association representing New Jersey’s 19 community colleges. As an independent, trustee-headed organization that joins the leadership of trustees and presidents, the Council is the voice of the community college sector before the state legislature and other branches of government. The Council is also the state coordinating organization for all community colleges in New Jersey.

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