FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 27, 2021
Higher Education Student Assistance Authority Board Adopts Tuition Aid Grant Award Table for Academic Year 2021-2022
Historic increase in need-based financial aid to boost college success for tens of thousands of New Jersey students
TRENTON – During its quarterly Board meeting, the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) unanimously voted in favor of increased Tuition Aid Grant (TAG) award tables for the upcoming 2021-22 academic year. New Jersey's TAG program, which leads the nation as the most generous, need-based state grant to help low- and moderate-income students pay for college, received a funding increase of $35 million for academic year 2021-22 in the Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriations Act signed into law by Governor Murphy on June 29, 2021.
As a result of this 8% funding increase and the TAG schedule approved by HESAA's Board, tens of thousands of students will qualify for an increase of more than $2,000 in their annual TAG awards, enhancing their prospects of academic success and reducing their student loan debt. The HESAA Board's recent action will deploy these funds to redress disparities among the dollar values of TAG awards for equally needy students enrolled at the state's senior public colleges and universities, while increasing the grant schedules for students at every participating institution in New Jersey.
"I am delighted that we can use these added resources to increase awards and advance parity for thousands of lower-income students at public four-year schools, while also providing a two percent increase to the TAG award amounts for all other students," said
Christy Van Horn, HESAA's Board Chair.
"HESAA is implementing Governor Murphy's mission of expanding access to all New Jersey students who want to earn a postsecondary degree. We will make college more affordable and help students close the funding gap by significantly increasing the per-student value of need-based financial aid grants in the coming academic year," said David J. Socolow, Executive Director of HESAA.
The HESAA Board also approved regulations to implement a new college savings incentive that Governor Murphy recently signed into law. The New Jersey College Affordability Act (P.L. 2021, c. 128) became law at the same time as the FY 2022 Appropriations Act, and appropriated $10 million to HESAA to offer dollar-for-dollar matching grants when lower-income New Jerseyans open a new NJBEST 529 College Savings account. These new, one-time grants will match up to $750 in individual contributions to newly opened accounts by New Jersey residents with income of $75,000 or less. HESAA will now work to raise awareness of this crucial new support for college savings, along with an additional provision of the New Jersey College Affordability Act that makes up to $10,000 in annual contributions to an NJBEST account deductible for State income taxpayers with incomes of $200,000 or less. These two new incentives build on the regulation that the Board approved at its last meeting to double the value of NJBEST scholarships to award as much as $3,000 to NJBEST account beneficiaries who enroll at a postsecondary institution in New Jersey.
"The enhancements to the NJBEST program will encourage more New Jersey families to pursue long-term, consistent savings, helping reduce the amount of debt they take on when the student ultimately enrolls in college,"
In addition, HESAA recently expanded eligibility for supports to borrowers who struggle with repayment of New Jersey College Loans to Assist State Students (NJCLASS). HESAA is now offering its Repayment Assistance Program (RAP) and Household Income Affordable Repayment Plan (HIARP) to all eligible Standard NJCLASS loan borrowers, providing options for affordable payments based on the annual incomes of all the parties to the loans. The RAP and HIARP programs were codified when Governor Murphy signed P.L. 2019, c. 62 more than two years ago. At the outset, RAP and HIARP could only be offered to new loans prospectively based on requirements of the annual bond indentures that finance NJCLASS loans. Because HESAA recently secured amendments to earlier bond indentures to provide for these affordable repayment option going forward, the Authority can now extend the options of RAP and HIARP to all borrowers with eligible Standard NJCLASS loans that are in a non-defaulted repayment status.
The FY 2022 budget law also maintained State-funded financial aid accounts at the prior year's levels, including part-time TAG for county college students and for EOF students, Community College Opportunity Grant, New Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Reward Scholarships (NJ STARS and NJ STARS II), Governor's Urban Scholarships, New Jersey World Trade Center Scholarships, and the Loan Redemption Programs for Primary Care Practitioners and Nursing Faculty.
To review the Academic Year 2021-22 TAG Table Awards, click