What is NJ STARS?

NJ STARS is an initiative created by the State of New Jersey in 2004 that provides New Jersey’s top students with free tuition at their local community college.  Any published information is subject to change based on the decision of the New Jersey State legislature.

What are the requirements for NJ STARS?

  • Students must graduate in the top 15 percent of their high school class in either their junior or senior year and declare a major at the community college.
  • Students who meet the top 15 percent requirement must first apply for all other federal and state financial aid available to them by filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and complete their file with HESAA (Higher Education Student Assistance Authority) annually within New Jersey's deadline. If a student receives financial aid, NJ STARS will cover the remaining cost of tuition. If a student is not eligible for financial aid, NJ STARS will cover the entire tuition.
  • Students must take at least 12 college credits per semester and will be allowed to take up to 18 credits each semester if they are able to handle the course load and wish to accelerate their graduation.
  • Students will be permitted to use summer sessions to maintain a 3.0 GPA at a community college and will be responsible for the tuition and fees.
  • Students must complete a rigorous series of high school courses as a first step toward eligibility, as determined by the New Jersey Higher Education in consultation with the New Jersey Commissioner of Education.
  • Students will be permitted to take fewer than 12 credits in their final semester if they need fewer than 12 credits to graduate.
  • Students have five (5) semesters of eligibility for NJ STARS.
  • Students majoring in areas that require an additional 6th semester (for example: nursing and engineering) -- the student is responsible for paying for the additional semester and will still be eligible for STARS II.
  • Students who do not achieve the required placement test scores will be notified by the college that they are currently in need of remediation prior to pursuing college coursework through the NJ STARS program. Students will be able to take appropriate courses while still in high school to improve their skills or they can attend remedial courses at the community college while enrolled in high school.  Students who graduate from high school and still need remediation will be given up to one year at their own cost or using other non-STARS funds to gain the skills they need to be college-ready. They will not be considered NJ STARS scholars until they meet the requirement, but they will still have five semesters of eligibility upon meeting the requirements.
  • Dependent students of military families assigned to a military base and whose parents have established New Jersey as their state of residence will be eligible for NJ STARS as long as all other conditions are met.
  • NJ STARS students must have a 3.0 or better grade point average moving from freshmen to sophomore years to be eligible for scholarship renewal for the second year. 

For more information about NJ STARS and other state-sponsored scholarships and financial aid programs, visit the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority.

Contact Information

For more information on NJ STARS at Atlantic Cape, make an appointment to meet with our STARS representative: Jessica Brown, or call (609) 343-4922 or (609) 463-4774, ext. 4922.