Financial Aid to an Increased Number of Students Allows New Jerseyans toPursue Postsecondary Education and Contribute to New Jersey's Economic Success
TRENTON – The Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) today announced that New Jersey is on pace to award financial aid to more college students than ever before. New Jersey financial aid data from the fall 2019 semester project 85,172 students will receive state financial aid this academic year, representing more than a 12 percent increase over last academic year.
The state’s nation-leading Tuition Aid Grant (TAG) program, as well as initiatives such as the tuition-free Community College Opportunity Grant (CCOG) and the expansion of state aid to New Jersey Dreamers, are enabling more students to qualify for this assistance.
In the fall 2019 semester, 70,872 students received TAG awards totaling $226 million; 2,353 students received $3.8 million in New Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Reward Scholarships (NJSTARS); 7,610 students received CCOG awards totaling $9.7 million; 6,065 part-time students at county colleges received $4.5 million in part-time TAG awards; 353 students received Governor’s Urban Scholarships totaling $178,000; 57 students received $141,500 in World Trade Center Scholarships; two students received a total of $14,000 in Survivors Tuition Benefit Scholarships; eight students received $117,000 in Law Enforcement Officer Memorial (LEOM) Scholarships; and 517 students received NJBEST Scholarships totaling $685,000.
“Under this Administration, we are taking bigger strides to make a New Jersey college education more accessible and affordable,” said Acting Governor Oliver. “We are proud of our progress and will continue to ensure that more students are able to obtain a higher education that will open the doors of opportunities for a good job and a brighter future.”
“It is a good sign that increasing numbers of eligible New Jersey students have learned about the significant financial support the state offers to help them pursue a college education,” said David J. Socolow, HESAA’s Executive Director.
“Opening access to higher education to our state's residents is not only a focus of our State Plan for Higher Education but also a key to strengthening our economy," said Dr. Zakiya Smith Ellis, New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education. “The success of New Jersey’s students in attaining postsecondary credentials will enable them to contribute further to the state’s progress.”
Governor Murphy launched the CCOG program in the spring 2019 semester. Through an expansion in the FY2020 budget, the CCOG program is now in its first full academic year at all 18 county colleges across New Jersey, where students from families with adjusted gross incomes between $0 to $65,000 are eligible to receive “last-dollar” CCOG scholarships filling in any gaps remaining to cover tuition and approved educational fees, after accounting for all other student grant and scholarship aid. Judging from the first half of this year, early indicators suggest that the program is assisting community college students with attempting more credits per semester, thus reducing their time to degree completion and increasing their chances of success.
A law signed by Governor Phil Murphy in May 2018 enabled eligible New Jersey Dreamers to apply for state-funded financial aid, starting with the 2018-2019 academic year. The fall 2019 semester welcomed 1,044 New Jersey Dreamers who received a collective total of $3.37 million in state financial aid to pursue a postsecondary education in the first term of the academic year. During the comparable fall 2018 semester, less than half – 513 – the number of New Jersey Dreamers received a state financial aid award. To qualify as an NJ Dreamer, students not only met the same income requirements, scholastic achievement criteria, and deadlines for state aid as other New Jersey students, but they also attended a New Jersey high school for at least three years; graduated from a New Jersey high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma in New Jersey; registered for Selective Service (male students only); and filed an affidavit stating that they applied to legalize their immigration status or will file an application as soon as they are eligible to do so.
“Increasing numbers of eligible New Jersey Dreamers have completed HESAA’s Alternative Financial Aid Application, thanks to our efforts to raise awareness in coordination with our dedicated partners, including high school counselors, financial aid officers, and community-based organization leaders,” said Socolow.