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NJ STARS Frequently Asked Questions

What is NJ STARS?
The New Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Reward Scholarship, NJ STARS, is a merit-based scholarship available exclusively to New Jersey residents identified in the top 15 percent of their high school class in either their junior or senior year and attend their home county college.

What does NJ STARS cover? 
NJ STARS covers the cost of tuition only less any federal or state grant eligibility at the community college for 12-18 college-level credits per term. Students are responsible for payment of the remainder student fees, associated course fees, books and supplies.

Does NJ STARS cover the cost of summer courses?
NJ STARS will pay for summer courses if state funding is available. Currently, state funding is not available to pay for summer classes. NJ STARS students may take summer courses to expedite their graduation or to help boost their GPA, but are responsible for payment for those courses.

How do I qualify for NJ STARS?
To be eligible for NJ STARS, there are two eligibility components that must be met. The initial eligibility criteria for NJ STARS is for a student to be identified in top 15 percent of his or her high school class in either junior or senior year. Further academic criteria requires that students also present a final, official high school transcript as proof of high school graduation and complete a rigorous high school course of study*. Finally, students must also prove college readiness for English, reading, and math.

*All courses of high school study are considered rigorous for 2012.

In addition to the academic eligibility requirements, students must complete the financial aid component. For this, students must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) (fafsa.ed.gov) and state applications each year by the deadlines. Rowan College at Burlington County must be listed as the first choice college for both the state and federal applications (college code: 007730). Students must also report additional information for state aid. This can be done by going to hesaa.org and clicking on Report Additional Information for State Aid. Finally, if the student is selected for state or federal verification, students must submit the required verification paperwork by the required deadlines. For more information on financial aid, please visit the RCBC Financial Aid website or email financialaid@rcbc.edu.

How do I register as an NJSTARS student at Rowan College at Burlington County?
Once a student’s academic eligibility has been determined, the student will contact the NJ STARS Coordinator for their account to be flagged. To schedule an appointment, please email at njstars@rcbc.edu or call 609-894-9311, ext. 1343.

What is college readiness and how is it determined?
College readiness is a student’s ability to take college-level courses in a particular subject. College readiness at Rowan College at Burlington County in English and math is determined by:
SAT Scores: 450 Reading (540 if taken prior to March 2016), 500 Math (530 if taken prior to March 2016), PARCC testing 4 or 5, ACT Scores: 20 Reading, 23 Math; or 23 Composite, 65 or higher on the ASVAB, or Placement Exam test scores or CAP courses in English or math or College courses in English or math taken at another accredited institution.

* Beginning Fall 2017 Student's who are deemed college ready may need to take an additional College Level Math (CLM) test to determine the appropriate math course sequence. This test is required for student's who are declaring a major that requires a calculus math track.

**For students in a degree program requiring the math sequence for pre-calculus and calculus may involve an additional developmental level course. Students can take an additional placement test to potentially waive out of the course, use pre-calculus or calculus CAP courses, AP scores or pre-calculus or calculus taken at another accredited institution (C or higher required). This is required only for students whose degree requires this math sequence.**

What happens if I am required to take developmental courses for English or math?
If a student is not waived out of developmental courses for English and/or math via test scores, CAP courses or transfer credit, the student has until September 1st one year following high school graduation in order to complete any required developmental coursework. NJ STARS will not pay for developmental courses or any courses taken simultaneously. Upon successful completion of the courses; however, provided it is within one year of high school graduation, the student will be eligible for NJ STARS.

When I first enrolled, I was determined college ready. I have since changed my major and now require developmental course(s) for my new course of study. Do I lose my NJ STARS eligibility?
No, the student will not lose his or her eligibility. The student could take the required remedial/developmental course(s) during the summer or during the fall or spring term at his or her expense (or paid out of non-NJ STARS funds). If taken during the fall or spring term, the student must also enroll for at least 12 college-level credits in addition to the remedial course/s to retain NJ STARS eligibility.

I have met the academic criteria for NJ STARS. What are the required financial aid criteria?
In order to receive NJ STARS funding, students must complete the FAFSA application every year by the required deadlines and make Rowan College at Burlington County the first choice college (college code 007730). Additional information also must be reported for state aid. You can do this by going to www.njgrants.org and clicking on Report Additional Information for State Aid. Students must also submit any requested documentation asked by the financial aid office or the state of New Jersey. For more information on financial aid, please visit the Financial Aid website.

I was eligible for NJ STARS when graduating high school, but decided not to use it right away. Am I still eligible for NJ STARS?
Possibly. Students have until their 5th term following high school graduation to activate their STARS eligibility. Please contact the Coordinator of NJ STARS to assess your eligibility. (njstars@rcbc.edu or (856) 291-4261

If I am determined as being academically eligible as a transfer student, what else do I need to do?
If you are transferring in from another school mid-year, several steps will need to be completed. Students will need to request that their official transcripts from the institution be sent to Rowan College at Burlington County, Office of Registration to be evaluated. Bring unofficial transcripts with you on the day of registration. Students will also be required to update their financial aid information. This includes updating the FAFSA first choice college code to reflect Rowan College at Burlington County and reporting the college code change directly to the state. This can be done by going to hesaa.org. If a FAFSA was not filed for the appropriate academic year, an application must be completed for the new term. Additional information also needs to be reported to the state, which can also be done at hesaa.org and clicking on "Report Additional Information for State Aid." Students are responsible to confirm with the financial aid office that all documentation has been received.

If you are transferring for the fall term, request an official transcript to be sent to Rowan College at Burlington County, Office of Admissions to be evaluated. Bring an unofficial copy with you on the day of registration. A FAFSA application will need to be completed for the appropriate academic year and Rowan College at Burlington Countymust be indicated as the First Choice College. Additional information will also need to be reported to the state by going to hesaa.org and clicking on "Report Additional Information for State Aid." Students are responsible to confirm with the financial aid office that all docuRowanmentation has been received.

I am graduating from a high school with small class sizes. Am I still eligible for NJ STARS?
Potential NJ STARS eligibility for small graduating classes is shown below.
Class size of 1: not eligible
Class size of 2-6: #1 student is potentially NJ STARS eligible
Class size of 7 or greater: top 15 percent of students are potentially NJ STARS eligible.

I have met all of the academic and financial aid eligibility criteria- now what?
Students should make an appointment to meet with the Coordinator of NJ STARS to assess their NJ STARS eligibility, register for courses and review the NJ STARS contract. Contact information for appointments:njstars@rcbc.edu or 609-894-9311, ext. 1343.

How do I renew my NJ STARS eligibility each term?
To receive NJ STARS each term, current NJ STARS students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA, enroll in a minimum of 12 college-level credits and complete the FAFSA and state financial aid applications each year by the deadlines. Once registered for classes, students must let both the NJ STARS department and Financial Aid know of their enrollment. It is highly recommended students register early to have the most options for classes and pay for any fees by the payment deadline.

How do I maintain my NJ STARS eligibility?

To maintain NJ STARS eligibility, students must maintain a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA) and maintain continuous full-time enrollment (12 college-level credits) in fall and spring terms. FAFSA and state information must also be completed each year by the required deadlines. In order to qualify for NJ STARS II, students must graduate as a NJ STARS student with a minimum 3.25 cumulative GPA as well as have a family income (taxable and untaxed income) less than $250,000. NJ STARS does not guarantee acceptance at the four-year institution; students must meet all acceptance criteria and adhere to the admissions deadlines required by the four-year transfer institution.

What happens if I drop/add/withdraw from a class? 
Prior to making class schedule changes, STARS students must communicate any change made after initial registration with the Coordinator of NJ STARS and/or Financial Aid before doing so. Any action that changes a student's enrollment status (dropping, adding, withdrawing from courses) may result in a balance being owed, being dropped from classes or loss of NJ STARS eligibility. In order to protect your NJ STARS eligibility, it is imperative to communicate these changes prior to making them. Students will also complete the Change of Course Schedule Form.

Will my credits transfer?
Proper planning is the key to successful transfer. Rowan College at Burlington County has many resources to help students with successful transfer. Students should begin doing research early on possible majors and transfer schools and meet with a transfer advisor before attempting their 20th credit.

For more information on transfer, including guaranteed admissions programs, articulation agreements, on-campus bachelor degree completion programs and to make an appointment with a transfer advisor, visit the Transfer website.

What happens if my GPA falls below a 3.0?
NJ STARS legislation requires that students maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA by the start of the 3rd term of eligibility. Students whose GPA falls below a 3.0 must meet with the coordinator to discuss options to bring up the GPA before the start of the 3rd term.

How many terms of NJ STARS eligibility do I have? 
Students are eligible for up to 5 terms of eligibility. NJ STARS students must graduate within 5 terms in order to qualify for NJ STARS II. Nursing and engineering majors may take a 6th, unfunded term in order to meet graduation requirements.

I do not need to be a full-time student in my final term in order to meet all of my graduation requirements. Am I eligible to attend part-time?
A student may attend part-time in his or her final term provided that he or she will meet all graduation requirements as a part-time student. Students MUST meet with the NJ STARS Coordinator to discuss this and fill out paperwork. Failure to complete this step may result in loss of NJ STARS and/or NJ STARS II.

How do I qualify for NJ STARS II?
NJ STARS students can qualify for NJ STARS II if they graduate as a NJ STARS student from community college with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25. Students must graduate within 4-5 terms (6th, unfunded term available for nursing and engineering majors) and have a family income (taxable and untaxed income) of less than $250,000. Students must apply and be accepted to a NJ STARS II participating 4-year institution. NJ STARS and NJ STARS II eligibility does not guarantee or give preference to a student for transfer admission. All other admissions criteria and procedures required by the 4-year institution must be met by the student.

What does NJ STARS II cover?
NJ STARS II will award qualifying students with $2,500 per year for two years at participating 4-year institutions in the state of New Jersey. NJ STARS II can now be used at public and private New Jersey schools.

Can I receive NJ STARS and other scholarships or financial aid at the same time?
If a student qualifies or any additional financial aid award or scholarship, those monies will apply first to the students account before NJ STARS. NJ STARS will cover a balance up to the amount of the remaining tuition. If additional fees are still outstanding, payment for these is the responsibility of the student. Students who are fully funded from other sources outside of NJ STARS funding do not lose their NJ STARS designation.

If NJ STARS is a merit-based scholarship, why do I need to apply for financial aid?
If a student qualifies for any need-based aid, those monies will be applied to the students account before NJ STARS will be applied. Eligibility for additional aid besides NJ STARS is determined by completing the FAFSA application and the state financial aid paperwork.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Regulations

The Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the confidentiality of a student’s academic records and prohibits the college from releasing information about the student to anyone but the student. This legislation requires verification of the student’s identity to release information and prohibits information being released over the phone or to a parent, family member, friend, etc. without the students consent. FERPA consent forms are available for the student to complete authorizing the college to release certain information to individuals whom the student identifies.