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.

NJ STARS Benefits

The NJ STARS award covers the cost of tuition, less any State and/or Federal grants and scholarships, for up to five semesters. The award covers these charges for up to 18 credits per semester. Funding for NJ STARS awards is dependent upon annual State appropriations.

Student Eligibility

  • Legal New Jersey resident, at the time of high school graduation and upon county college enrollment. A dependent student’s residency is presumed to be that of his or her parent(s).
  • Student must be U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen and legal New Jersey resident for a minimum of 12 consecutive months prior to high school graduation.
  • Rank in the top 15.0% of their class at the end of either junior or senior year of high school.
  • Student must demonstrate college readiness by meeting one of the following:
    1. Have an unweighted GPA of a 3.0 or higher and have completed 4 years of High School English and 3 years of High School Math courses. Student must submit appropriate high school transcript(s) to the Admissions office.
    2. Provide official transcripts from the College Board indicating student scored a 450 or better on the Evidence-based Reading and Writing (ERW) or 500 or better on the Math portions of the SAT.
  • Student must be enrolled full-time (12-18 credits), in a degree program, no later than the 5th semester following high school graduation.
  • Student must apply for all forms of State and Federal need-based grants and merit scholarships and submit any requested documentation to complete and verify application data within established State deadlines.

Application Process

  • Apply for admissions to UCNJ
  • Meet all admissions and application requirements established by UCNJ.
  • File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) ANNUALLY within established State deadlines.
  • After filing the FAFSA, log-on to https://njfams.hesaa.org to review your State grant record.
  • **Provide an NJ STARS Advisor with your Official Transcript**
  • Check your 2020-2021 HESAA/NJFAMS file:
  • Gather the information requested by the state
  • Submit the information to the state via Mapping Xpress

Be sure to meet with your NJ STARS Academic Advisor before you register. He will help you make sure that you are selecting the courses that allow you to graduate within 5 semesters so that you won’t lose eligibility for the NJ STARS II program.

Special Circumstances

  • Students who postpone college attendance must be enrolled full time at their home county college by the fifth semester after high school graduation to retain eligibility. Note for example: 2007 high school graduates had to enroll full time at a New Jersey county college by Fall 2009 semester.
  • Students who have attended one semester at another post secondary institution may be eligible for a NJ STARS award provided they enroll full time in a degree program at their home county college the following semester.
  • Students and parent(s) must be permanent New Jersey residents pursuant to regulations established by HESAA.
  • Students must be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens and legal New Jersey residents for a minimum of twelve consecutive months prior to high school graduation.

If you have further questions about what NJ STARS is, please refer to HESAA’s website at www.hesaa.org, keyword NJ STARS

What do I have to do to stay an NJ STARS student?

  • Students must achieve a minimum cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher prior to the start of the third semester of enrollment in the NJ STARS program. Summer courses are included in determining the GPA.
  • Students must maintain continuous full-time enrollment unless on a medical leave, approved by UCNJ, due to the illness of the student, a member of the student’s immediate family, or a family emergency. The only other exception applies to NJ STARS students called to partial or full mobilization for State or federal active duty as a member of the National Guard or a Reserve component of the Armed Forces of the United States.
  • Students may receive the scholarship for up to five semesters.


NJ STARS II allows students who graduate while in the NJ STARS program to receive the NJ STARS II scholarship at an approved New Jersey State College or University. If you graduate with at least a 3.25 GPA, have a family income less than $250,000, and meet all other program eligibility requirements, you may be eligible to receive an NJ STARS II award.

Four-Year Colleges & Universities Participating In NJ STARS II

Berkeley CollegeKean University
Bloomfield CollegeMontclair State University
Caldwell CollegeNew Jersey City University
Centenary CollegeNew Jersey Institute of Technology
College of Saint ElizabethRamapo College of New Jersey
DeVry UniversityRowan University
Drew UniversityRutgers University
Fairleigh Dickinson UniversityStockton University
Felician CollegeThe College of New Jersey
Georgian Court UniversityThomas Edison State University
Monmouth UniversityWilliam Paterson University of New Jersey
Rider University
Saint Peter’s University
Seton Hall University
Stevens Institute of Technology