New Jersey students who are eligible for NJ STARS would receive notification of eligibility during each year of high school, and general information in eighth grade, under a bill introduced Monday by Senator Robert Singer (R-Monmouth) and Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean (R-Union.) Currently, students only receive notification of eligibility to NJ STARS in their freshman and junior years of high school.
“Each year, tens of thousands of graduates leave to pursue a four-year degree out of state,” Senator Singer said. “Unless we work to keep students here, this will have a serious impact on our economy. NJ STARS gives talented students a solid reason to choose to complete their college education in New Jersey. To secure a strong and prosperous future, we need to ensure eligible students receive notification of this program as early as eighth grade, and at every stage of their high school education.”
Under Singer and Kean’s bill, S-2182, students in eighth grade would now receive general information about the NJ STARS program. Additionally, the new bill ensures students in 10th and 12th grade who rank in the top 25 percent of the class also receive notification of eligibility to NJ STARS.
Under current law, a student receives general information about the NJ STARS program and the program’s requirements for eligibility in the ninth grade. 11th graders in the top 25 percent of their class also receive notification in September of their junior year, if the student’s class rank at the completion of 11th or 12th grade is within the top 15 percent of the class.
“As the cost of college tuition continues to rise, more and more families are struggling to find a way to secure a brighter future for their children, without saddling these young folks with crushing school debt,” Senator Kean, a sponsor of the successful Building Our Future Bond Act, said. “NJ STARS empowers hardworking kids to study at New Jersey’s community colleges, which rank among the best in the nation. Increasing awareness about NJ STARS will generate a better-educated workforce that stays invested in the State of New Jersey.
NJ STARS provides scholarships covering tuition for New Jersey students who attend community college full time. Students who rank in the top 15 percent of their high school class at the end of their junior or senior year may be eligible for an NJ STARS scholarship.