Planning out your college career is exhilarating and harrowing in equal measure, full of expectations of long nights spent studying feverishly, experiencing new ideas, and beginning the next phase of life leading you into adulthood. But it’s also a moment of frustration and trepidation about how you’ll pay for it. With an average cost of attendance of $38,382, 64% of New Jersey students graduate with student loan debt. College isn’t cheap, and it’s not getting any more affordable, so it’s essential to explore your financing options before committing to a school.
In this article, we’ll address a few of the ways New Jersey helps its residents find financing for their continuing education. As part of our state by state guide to financial aid, we’ll overview scholarships, grants, and student loans in New Jersey.
What Scholarship Programs Does New Jersey Have?
Scholarships are one of the things people think of immediately when they consider higher education financing. Almost everyone has heard of athletic scholarships, but every year academic scholarships remain unclaimed due to confusion about their requirements or misunderstanding about eligibility.
New Jersey solidly backs its residents with dozens of quality scholarships available. In this section, we’ll investigate a few of the better-known awards, briefly consider some of their requirements for eligibility, and provide links for those curious to learn more.
If you have questions about available scholarships, contact the financial aid department of your institution, or consult with a guidance counselor at your high school.
One of the most comprehensive scholarships we’ve reviewed is the New Jersey Stars Scholarship that awards free tuition to the highest performing students in the state. If you score in the top 15% of all students statewide, you’ll be eligible for the award at any participating community college.
Through the Stars II program, which is a continuation of the bonuses gained in the Stars program, qualifying students can earn additional scholarship funds when they complete their community college degree and wish to move on to a four-year degree program. To be eligible, students must enroll in their home county college, carry a minimum of 12 college credits, and be a resident of New Jersey.
New Jersey also provides scholarships to prospective students who are residents of underprivileged communities. The Governor’s Urban Scholarship awards a varying amount each year to students in several urban communities approved to attend classes at several participating colleges throughout the state. The total amount rewarded is subject to state budget allocations, so it’s difficult to know exactly how much each student can expect, but they determine the overall award through your FAFSA application or your application with the NJFAMS system.
Eligible students must be residents of a designated New Jersey community, rank within the top 5% of their graduating class, maintain and demonstrate progress throughout their chosen curriculum, and be registered with selective service if required. Interested students should inquire with their high school counselor.
For those seeking a vocational or technical education, you may consider applying for the Governors Industry Vocation Scholarship. This scholarship pays up to $2,000 towards the cost of your tuition at participating technical, vocational, or county colleges as long as you are in one of the approved educational programs.
Eligible candidates must be female or a member of a minority, and complete a FAFSA application or its New Jersey equivalent. You must also complete an NJ-GIVS application, enroll at one of the eligible institutions, and demonstrate continued progress within your chosen field.
The New Jersey Foster Care Scholars Program is a unique scholarship fund designed to help former or current foster children who’ve been in placement at a foster home for over nine months. Much of the funding for this program comes from federal sources, but some eligible students can receive a state tuition waiver if they qualify.
Applicants must be between 16 and 23 years old, a resident of New Jersey who can show evidence of out-of-home placement by the New Jersey Department of Children and Families Child Protection and Permanency. You must also be approved to attend a participating college and have filled out a FAFSA form.
One of the more unique New Jersey Scholarships offered is this one from the NJSGA that awards long-time caddies of participating New Jersey Golf Clubs and Courses. Eligible candidates must have caddied for at least two consecutive seasons on one of 44 NJSGA clubs, carry a minimum 2.5 GPA, and demonstrate financial need on tax returns.
What Grant Programs Does New Jersey Have?
In addition to the multiple scholarships offered throughout New Jersey, the state also provides many excellent grant programs. Like scholarships, grants don’t require repayment, making them an extremely desirable option for students seeking financial aid.
In this section, we’ll review several of the best grant options available in New Jersey, including one of the most generous grant programs nationally, the Tuition Aid Grant (TAG.)
New Jersey’s Tuition Aid Grant program is one of the most extensive grant offerings in the nation, distributing over $282 million to more than 71,000 students. Awards can include the full cost of admission in some cases, once direct student loans and other scholarships are subtracted. The grant bases its awards on student need and can range anywhere between $2318 and $10,468 on an individual basis. However, the actual amount fluctuates based on the institution and degree program.
Eligible candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent, be citizens of the United States, and residents of New Jersey for at least 12 months before applying. You must also be accepted into one of the approved institutions and demonstrate financial need through a FAFSA application or the New Jersey Alternative Financial Aid Application.
If the grant offered by the TAG program isn’t sufficient, and you come from a disadvantaged or minority background, the Educational Opportunity Grant Program can help make up the difference. This program is administered through the colleges directly, who will determine the amount of the award based on the students’ financial needs and situation.
This grant program has nearly the same eligibility requirements as the TAG program but also requires that the student is a member of a disadvantaged group or a minority. Students can’t use this grant for a divinity or theology degree, and it’s only available at specific institutions.
New Jersey Student Loan programs
Ordinarily, a student’s first experience with student loans comes from applying for a federal student loan through FAFSA, which provides most of the institutional loans throughout the United States. But New Jersey is a little different. It is one of the few states that has its own loan system that works much like FAFSA but provides loans through state education funds.
Of course, prospective students are also encouraged to explore funding options through FAFSA as well as exploring other options with private loan servicers outside of the typical student loan channels.
This state-funded and sponsored loan system works similarly to a privately sourced loan you might get from an independent student loan provider. You can select either a ten or fifteen-year repayment term and qualify at three different interest rates. The loans are all serviced in-state, so you won’t have to worry about your loans suddenly being sold or consolidated to out-of-state private loan servicing companies.
Federal student loans
Prospective New Jersey students can receive federal financial aid assistance by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid(FAFSA).
Private co-signed student loans
There are many private student loan opportunities for those who need additional assistance on top of federal student loans. Many banks, credit unions, and dedicated lending companies offer private student loans, but almost all require a co-signer.
No co-signer student loans in New Jersey
Funding U began because we identified thousands of students who were unable to qualify for a private student loan because they didn’t have an eligible co-signer. While we’re no longer the only provider of such loans, we offer no co-signer student loans to career-focused students currently enrolled full time in college. The requirements for receiving a loan are dependent upon the GPA of the student and the graduation rate of the institution they attend. To learn more about our no co-signer student loans click here.
What Schools Does Funding U Lend To In New Jersey?
Generally speaking, Funding U’s no co-signer loans are offered to students at eligible four-year, non-profit, undergraduate degree-granting universities (which means we do not lend to for-profit schools, 2-year schools, graduate schools, or trade schools). Our eligibility requirements are based off of models that aim to predict how likely a student is to graduate, and because of that we have minimum GPA requirements that students must meet and minimum 6-year graduation rates that schools must reach in order to be eligible. To find out more about how we determine our eligibility, click here.
Below is a table listing all of the schools in New Jersey that Funding U is currently lending to, with additional details on which grades we are currently lending to, based on the school’s 6 year graduation rate.
|Bais Medrash Toras Chesed||No||No||No||No||25||80|
|College of Saint Elizabeth||No||No||Yes||Yes||50||68|
|Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham Campus||No||No||Yes||Yes||54||81|
|Fairleigh Dickinson University-Metropolitan Campus||No||No||No||No||46||74|
|Georgian Court University||No||No||Yes||Yes||54||72|
|Montclair State University||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||71||80|
|New Jersey City University||No||No||No||No||39||77|
|New Jersey Institute of Technology||No||No||Yes||Yes||65||84|
|Rabbi Jacob Joseph School||No||No||No||No||10||79|
|Rabbinical College of America||No||No||No||No||8||65|
|Ramapo College of New Jersey||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||74||86|
|Rutgers University-New Brunswick||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||80||94|
|Saint Peter's University||No||No||Yes||Yes||50||82|
|Seton Hall University||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||70||85|
|Stevens Institute of Technology||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||87||94|
|The College of New Jersey||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||86||94|
|William Paterson University of New Jersey||No||No||Yes||Yes||52||77|
|Yeshiva Toras Chaim||No||No||No||No||20||98|
|Yeshiva Yesodei Hatorah||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||79||63|
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