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Established in 2004, New Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Reward Scholarship Program (NJ STARS) is a state scholarship that covers up to five semesters of tuition* at your local community college. For more details about the STARS program, please see the State Fact Sheet below. Potential NJ STARS students looking to attend OCC can view steps to getting started on the NJ STARS Preparation Checklist below.

*OCC’s tuition charges now include books and most fees which are not covered by the STARS scholarship, the STARS scholarship is being awarded at $137.27 per credit for the 2020-2021 year.

Frequently Asked Questions

The New Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Reward Scholarship (NJ STARS) program rewards high achieving New Jersey high school graduates by providing scholarships to cover the cost of tuition* for up to 5 semesters of full-time study at their home county college.

*OCC’s tuition charges now include books and most fees which are not covered by the STARS scholarship, the STARS scholarship is being awarded at $137.27 per credit for the 2020-2021 year.

In order to be eligible for the NJ STARS program, a student’s high school must provide the state with a rank. If rank is not listed on the official high school transcript, the school can complete a certification of rank form or provide a letter on school letterhead indicating the student’s rank.

Students graduating from high schools with small class sizes can use the listing below to determine potential eligibility in the NJ STARS program

  • Class size of 1 – not eligible
  • Class size of 2 to 6 – #1 student is potentially eligible
  • Class size of 7 or more – top 15.0% of students are potentially eligible

A homeschooled student may only qualify for the NJ STARS program if he/she has attended an accredited program that provides official ranking for its students. Homeschooled students will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

No, only students that rank in the top 15.00% of their high school class at the end of their junior or senior years can be eligible for the STARS program.

In addition to ranking in the top 15% of class at the end of junior or senior year, a STARS student must prove college readiness. A STARS student can prove college readiness by any of the following means:

  • SAT scores: Reading/Writing 450+   Math 500+
  • PARCC scores: Grade 11 Language Arts/Literacy 4+   Algebra II 4+
  • OCC’s Accuplacer test
  • College Level English/Math credits already earned from another college or AP scores

You may be. However, STARS cannot be activated until you have completed all developmental courses. Students have until September 1 of the year following high school graduation to complete developmental courses and demonstrate college readiness.

A student must maintain a 3.0 GPA going into the start of his/her third semester. If his/her GPA is below a 3.0 at that time, eligibility for the STARS program is lost and cannot be regained.

No, a STARS student may attend part-time in their final semester if fewer than 12 credits are needed to complete his/her degree program. However, if the student does not graduate during the specified part-time semester due to failing a course, NJ STARS funds will not cover the cost of the part-time semester and he or she becomes ineligible for STARS II.

No, the NJ STARS award does not apply to summer courses at this time.

Yes, in order to qualify for the NJ STARS program, a student must have a FAFSA on file. The NJ STARS scholarship is applied once any other federal (ex. PELL) and state (ex. TAG) grants and scholarships are deducted from the tuition amount. You must file the FAFSA to determine if you are eligible for any other types of grant assistance.

No, as the NJ STARS scholarship only applies to tuition, no monies will be awarded if student does not have a tuition balance. However, the student is still considered a STARS student and tracked as such in case the financial aid changes the following year and for the purposes of being possibly eligible for STARS II upon transfer.

Yes, a NJ STARS student must attend their home county college. Exceptions are only made when the home county college does not offer the desired degree program.

STARS II is a continuation of the STARS program for students who graduate in good standing from their community college with a GPA of 3.25 or higher and transfer no later than the second semester following county college graduation. If eligible, a student will receive $1250 per semester for up to 4 semesters at the 4-year school.

While a student can transfer at any time, in order to maintain eligibility for STARS and STARS II, a student must graduate by the end of the 5th semester (6th semester for nursing and engineering majors although 6th semester is not funded) before transferring to the 4-year school.

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