Trenton – Legislation sponsored by Senator Linda Greenstein, which would clarify the eligibility of certain students receiving NJ STARS and NJ STARS II scholarships, cleared the Senate Higher Education Committee yesterday.
“The NJ STARS and NJ STARS II programs have helped thousands of part-time students receive an affordable education,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “Under this bill, incoming freshman enrolling in college or university will be able to take time off to focus on their mental health or for a death of a parent or spouse without penalty. Expanding this to incoming freshman who may feel overwhelmed during their transition to college level education will ensure they have the ability to recharge, if needed, and give their academics their full effort.”
The bill, S-2787, would expand the existing NJ STARS and NJSTARS II scholarships to be given to students enrolled part-time and taking no less than six credits. A 2017 law allowed students in the program to take fewer credits due to a physical and, or, mental health condition or the verification of the recent death of a parent or spouse. Under the bill, incoming freshman would have the ability to take fewer credits under certain circumstances as already enrolled students are offered.
NJ STARS is the first state-sponsored scholarship program exclusively for New Jersey residents that cover the cost of tuition at New Jersey’s 19 community colleges. The NJ Stars II program is a continuation of the NJ STARS program that provides successful NJ STARS students at New Jersey county colleges with funding to transfer to a New Jersey four-year college or university to earn a bachelor’s degree.
New Jersey high school students who graduate in the top 15 percent of their New Jersey high school class may be eligible for NJ STARS.
The bill was released from committee by a vote of 4-0, and next heads to the full Senate for further consideration.