Riley Urges College Bound Students to Apply for NJ Grants & Loans; Complete their Financial Aid Apps to Help Offset Expense

(SALEM) – With the first day of college just weeks away, Assembly Higher Education Committee Chair Celeste Riley (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem) today reminded college bound students in New Jersey to finalize their financial aid applications and take advantage of all available state grants and loans to help ease the soaring cost of tuition.

“College is a worthy, but expensive investment that very few can make without relying on some form of financial aid. As the end of summer vacation nears, I want to encourage all students heading to college in the fall to seek out all available state grants and loans to help offset the cost of tuition,” said Riley. “The sooner you file your financial aid application, the better your chances of receiving federal financial aid. Granted, the application process can be complicated and frustrating. If you’re having trouble with the application or have questions, please speak to a financial aid advisor who can guide you through the application and help you get the most financial aid available to you.”

Riley suggested students consider the New Jersey Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF), the Tuition Aid Grant (TAG) Program and the New Jersey College Loan to Assist State Students (NJCLASS) as they complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The NJ EOF provides financial assistance and support services to students from educationally and economically disadvantaged backgrounds who attend institutions of higher education in New Jersey. To participate, students must be New Jersey residents and must apply to a New Jersey college or university and file a FAFSA. Grants are generally available to students from families with a background of poverty, whose annual income falls within the scale listed below and who meet the academic criteria set by the institution of their choice.

The TAG program is one of the nation’s largest and most generous financial aid programs, with nearly one in every three full-time New Jersey undergraduates receiving awards. Students can use TAG awards at participating New Jersey colleges, universities, and degree-granting proprietary schools. Tuition Aid Grants are awarded to full-time undergraduate students who have been legal residents of New Jersey for at least 12 consecutive months before enrolling in a New Jersey institution.

The NJCLASS program offers a low cost supplemental loan. Available to New Jersey residents attending any college or students attending a New Jersey college, NJCLASS can help pay college costs not already covered by other sources of grants, scholarships or loans. This loan offers three repayment options and a fixed interest rate for undergraduate students. A student or parent may apply for NJCLASS once they completed their FAFSA and need additional funding.

To apply for, or for more information about these and other grants and loans available to New Jersey college students, visit the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority website.

“I hope students will take advantage of these financial resources as they ready to head off to school in New Jersey or elsewhere. The cost of tuition is cripplingly high and many families are struggling to finance their children’s education,” said Riley. “Applying early and for all available loans, grants and scholarships can make a big difference in what you have to pay and what you actually end up paying. Pursuing a college degree should not be determined by your income bracket.”