NJ Extends Free Tuition For Community College Students

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New Jersey’s Free Tuition Program

NJSTARSMy home state of New Jersey has its share of problems. Congestion, pollution, and high taxes are pressing issues facing the state, never mind the budget crunch impacting virtually every level of government across the Garden State.

One thing that New Jersey does have that few other states offer is free college tuition for students attending the state’s community (two-year) college programs. Dubbed, the New Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Rewards Scholarship (NJSTARS) program, students who meet specific academic criteria are guaranteed full tuition and fees to their local community college.

Extending Free Tuition Another Two Years

Qualifying high school students must graduate in the top 20% of their class and successfully maintain a 3.0 grade-point average while in college. These students will then be able to transfer their credits to a state run 4-year public college where they can get their tuition and fees paid, effectively obtaining a four-year college degree for free. Textbooks and other expenses are still the responsibility of the student.

A family income cap of $100,000 was being considered for the program, but that proposal has been shelved, at least for now. When the program was introduced in 2004, 933 students participated. At last count, the number of participating students passed the 4,000 mark, with that number expected to surge again this year.

Restrictions Lifted For Now

New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine wanted the family income cap put in place for the coming year, but the state’s legislature found the funds necessary to keep that restriction off, with the Higher Education Committee planning to revisit the issue for the 2009-2010 academic year.

For more information on other state-sponsored scholarships and financial aid programs, visit the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority.

(Source: Press of Atlantic City)

Resources

Free Tuition Is In The Stars!

NJ Stars Free Tuition Program

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