Assembly Higher Ed Committee passes NJ STARS reform bill

TRENTON – The Assembly Higher Education Committee today unanimously released a bill that makes changes to the NJ STARS II scholarship program to essentially preserve it in tough economic times.   

The bill (A-1176) allows applicants to attend a New Jersey independent four-year institution of higher education, as opposed to just four-year public institutions.

The bill makes it tougher for students to qualify for the greater amounts of scholarship money.

“Currently a student with a GPA equal to or greater than 3.25 and less than 3.50 may receive a scholarship in an amount up to $3,000 per semester and a student with a GPA equal to or greater than 3.50 may receive a scholarship in an amount up to $3,500 per semester,” according to the bill.

“The bill maintains the minimum GPA threshold at 3.25 and limits scholarships for all NJ STARS II students to $1,250 per semester, students who are receiving an NJ STARS II scholarship and are in their third academic year of study will receive an NJ STARS II scholarship for the fourth year of academic study in accordance with the provisions of the NJ STARS II law as it read prior to the bill’s effective date.”

The bill also moves financial responsibility for NJ STARS entirely to the state. Under current statute, the cost is divided between the State and the institution of higher education.

“In a way, these scholarship programs have been victims of their own success in tough economic times,” said Assemblywoman Pam Lampitt (D-6), a co-prime sponsor of the bill. “In light of the higher education cuts these past few years, we hope these adjustments will provide more predictability and stability to these successful programs. Ultimately, we hope to retain New Jersey’s best and brightest students who plan to pursue higher education in one of our state’s great colleges and universities. This is not only an investment in our students, but an investment in New Jersey’s future.”

Assembly Higher Ed Committee passes NJ STARS reform bill