Millions in College Tuition Grants for NJ Students
The New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) Board unanimously approved across-the-board increases to Tuition Aid Grants (TAG) for the academic year 2022-2023.
This decision releases $478 million in TAG funding approved in the state’s FY2023 budget. These funds, which lead the nation as the most generous need-based state higher education grant, help low- and moderate-income students pay for college.
To administer this year’s new round of funding - $5 million above the previous fiscal year – the HESAA Board adopted award schedules that boost award amounts by three (3) percent for qualifying students, and adjusted eligibility criteria to target awards to students with significant financial needs.
The fiscal year 2023 budget also increases funding for New Jersey’s Community College Opportunity Grant (CCOG) program by $8 million helping to expand program eligibility.
Students with Adjusted Gross Incomes (AGIs) between $0 and $65,000 will continue to be eligible for CCOG grants enabling them to attend community college tuition-free.
Starting next month, students with AGIs between $65,001 and $80,000 will become eligible for CCOG grants that cover nearly half the cost of their tuition. An additional 7,000 students in the newly eligible income range are expected to receive a CCOG grant through this year’s expansion, with a total of more than 20,000 students expected to receive awards under the program in the academic year 2022-2023.
The expanded eligibility of the CCOG program aligns the program with the Garden State Guarantee’s eligibility requirements – another program that provides grants to low- and moderate-income students to fund higher education enrollment.
Together, the Garden State Guarantee and the Community College Opportunity Grant form the New Jersey College Promise, which covers tuition fees for eligible students through two years of community college followed by their third and fourth years at a public, four-year institution.
Additional assistance for students in the FY23 budget includes an increase of $150,000 in funding for the Governor’s Urban Scholarship (GUS) program. HESAA will use these funds to expand eligibility to college-bound students who meet the program’s merit- and need-based eligibility requirements and reside in one of 33 municipalities listed on the updated GUS fact sheet.
The GUS program offers $1,000 annual scholarships to high school students from low-income families who achieve excellent academic performance and attend any New Jersey college or university.
A new $1.5 million line item in the FY23 budget will fund a pilot program that offers tuition assistance to adult learners at Thomas Edison State University. Students at Thomas Edison typically do not qualify for traditional State financial aid grants that require full-time enrollment, since the university is uniquely designated to meet the needs of working adult students who generally enroll part-time.
HESAA also received $4 million from the FY23 budget to start a new pilot program to provide tuition-free education to adult postsecondary students enrolled in a certain career and technical education programs at county vocational schools.