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 2022-2023 year.
NJ Stars Information Session
Join us for an information session to learn more about the NJ STARS program at OCC!
The in person information session will be held on Thursday, March 23, 2023, at 7:00 pm in the Instructional Building (#5) room 114.
We look forward to seeing you!
NJ STARS General & Financial Aid Info
- OCC Financial Aid Page – Federal Code: 002624
- FAFSA filing is now open for Fall 2023. File early to beat the deadlines!
- FAFSA filing for the 2023-2024 academic year is available from October 1st, 2022 – use your 2021 tax information to complete the form.
- O.P.E.N. Workshops – click for more information – then click below to register.
- Recent Changes to the Student Aid Programs
- Pell Lifetime Eligibility
- How to answer New Jersey State Additional Questions
- How to Check Your Status in Your HESAA Student Portal
- Apply for Financial Aid (FAFSA)
- Common Errors on Financial Aid Applications
- Common Questions about Financial Aid
- How to apply for a Student Loan
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.
If I rank just outside of the top 15% of my high school class and another student eligible for the NJ STARS program decides not to attend OCC, could I possibly become eligible?
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.
The New Jersey Council of County Colleges has determined that students who are in the top 15.0% of their high school class are ready for college-level coursework. Effective for Fall 2021, standardized test scores no longer need to be submitted to prove college readiness. (Pre-nursing majors with SAT scores of 1100 or higher should still submit official SAT scores as they may factor into the date of completion for the nursing program.)
You may be. However, STARS does not cover costs for remedial coursework and, as having graduated in top 15% of your class deems you college-ready, you are not required to take any remedial coursework.
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.
In my final semester, if I need fewer than 12 credits to fulfill my degree requirements, must I still attend full-time?
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.
If my tuition is fully funded by other grants and scholarships, will I still receive my NJ STARS scholarship?
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.