Trenton – Legislation sponsored by Senator Linda Greenstein and Senator Shirley K. Turner, which will clarify the eligibility of certain students receiving NJ STARS and NJ STARS II scholarships, was signed into law today by Governor Phil Murphy.
“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). “This law will assist incoming freshman enrolling in college or university as well. It will give them the flexibility and options needed to take time off without penalty in order to focus on their mental health or in the case of a parent or spouse passing away. By expanding this to incoming freshman who may feel overwhelmed during their transition to college, we will ensure they have the ability to recharge, if needed, and give their academics their full effort.”
The new law will 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.
“Students’ mental and emotional wellbeing should always be a priority,” said Senator Turner (D-Hunterdon/Mercer). “It is important that those entering college feel they can take care of themselves and adjust their course load as necessary without losing their scholarships. This legislation will allow students to put their health first and ease their transition to college.”
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.