Going to College in New Jersey. A magazine for college-bound students in New Jersey. Features colleges and universities in New Jersey.
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Student financial aid is widely available in New Jersey, which ranks among the top states in the country in aid dollars available for full-time students. The Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) administers New Jersey's student aid programs. 10 GOING TO COLLEGE IN NEW JERSEY • WWW.HESAA.ORG • 1-609-584-4480 PAYING FOR COLLEGE I n New Jersey, state financial assistance is provided through grants for needy students, merit-based scholarships for high- achieving students, and state and federal student loan programs. In addition to aid from HESAA, you may receive assis- tance from federal and institutional aid programs. Generally speaking, grants and scholarships are considered "gift aid" or aid that does not have to be repaid. Student loans are sources of aid that must be repaid. When determining your financial aid options, it is important to work closely with a financial aid counselor at any institution you are interested in attend- ing. Your financial aid counselor will review your eligibility for state, federal, and institutional assistance programs and prepare a financial aid package to help you meet the costs at that school. STATE GRANTS New Jersey's Tuition Aid Grant (TAG) program is one of the nation's largest financial aid programs, and New Jersey ranks among the top states in providing aid for needy students. Depending on your need and the type of institution you attend, a TAG award can cover up to the full cost of tuition or a portion of that cost. One in every three full-time New Jersey students receives TAG, and awards may be used at nearly all New Jersey postsecondary institu- tions, including county colleges, state colleges and eligible private colleges and universities. To get the best idea of a family's abili- ty to pay higher education expenses, eli- gibility for TAG is determined by a review of a number of factors, such as family income and assets, family size and the number of students in college. The cost of attendance is also taken into consideration, so you should never feel that a school is beyond your reach just because it is more expensive. In New Jersey, aid for exceptionally needy students is also available through Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) grants. n How to Apply To apply for TAG or EOF, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the additional State questions. The filing deadlines are October 1st for a fall or full-year award and March 1st for a spring award. To be considered for an EOF grant for the academic year, students must apply according to State deadlines. STATE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMS New Jersey's merit-based scholarships recognize academic excellence while encouraging students to continue their education at in-state colleges and univer- sities. HESAA also administers several spe- cial scholarship programs. These include scholarships for students who have per- formed exceptional acts of heroism and for children of emergency service per- sonnel and law enforcement officers who have been killed in the line of duty. NJ STARS The New Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Reward Scholarship (NJ STARS) Program is an initiative created by the State of New Jersey that provides New Jersey's highest achieving students with free tuition at their home county college. New Jersey residents who rank in the top 15% of their class at the end of either junior or senior year of high school may be eligible to receive an NJ STARS award for attendance at their home county college. The NJ STARS award covers the cost of tuition, less any state and/or federal grants and scholar- ships, for up to 18 credit hours per semester. Students identified as potential NJ STARS must achieve the required score on a college placement test to demonstrate readiness for college-level coursework prior to receiving a scholar- ship. If remediation is required, the stu- dent has one year from September 1 fol- lowing high school graduation to demonstrate college readiness. Students must have completed a rigorous high school course of study. NJ STARS II Successful NJ STARS scholars may be eligible for NJ STARS II, a program that provides funding to pursue a baccalaure- ate degree to students who earn an asso- ciate degree from a county college and attain a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or high- er. All programs are subject to change based on annual State appropriations and legislative amendments. (Continued on page 75)