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.
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 up NJ STARS enrollees).
Students have five (5) semesters of eligibility for NJ STARS.
Students majoring in areas that require an additional 6th semester (nursing
and engineering only) will be able to retain their eligibility for NJ STARS
II. However, those students will have to pay for the additional semester at
the community college.
Students who score 540 or better on the critical reading and 530 or better
on the math portions of the SAT are considered college-ready. Students who
do not take the SAT 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 developmental courses prior
to pursuing college course work 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 developmental courses at the community college
while enrolled in high school.
Students who graduate from high school and still need developmental course
work 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 must complete all developmental courses by September 1st of the year
following high school graduation.
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. If a student is not eligible for financial aid, NJ STARS
will cover the entire cost of tuition.
NJ STARS students must be enrolled in an associate degree program at a New Jersey
NJ STARS students must maintain continuous full-time enrollment at a New
Jersey community college, unless the student is on approved medical leave
or is on active military duty.
NJ STARS students must have a 3.0 or better grade point average moving from freshmen to
sophomore years 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.