The story of the American ideal is one that has been repeated countless times throughout generations of families living in the United States of America. Through hard work and dedication, a person can rise up and overcome whatever circumstances they are faced with to become what they dream of being. These are the principles of our country’s beliefs and they largely hold true given that people apply themselves fully. Some people may need to do so more than others, depending on their living situations, but hard work will generally be rewarded. What kind of hard work? In a word, education. A child who is born into unfavorable circumstances such as a household in poverty can overcome these struggles by gaining an education. The Bureau of Labor Statistics conducted a study titled “Education Pays” and demonstrated that a Bachelor’s Degree holder makes $20,600 more per year than a high school graduate. This amount of money is already more than an income at the poverty line.
The Costs of Attending a College or University
The benefits of an education are quite clear from the above figures, but this education is not free. The typical college student must pay for tuition, fees, housing, textbooks and a meal plan in order to finance their educational experience. The costs of tuition have been increasing year after year for a long time. According to the College Board, tuition and fees range from an average of $2,713 per year at public two-year colleges to $27,293 at private four-year institutions with public universities charging an average of $7,605 for in-state students and $11,990 for out-of-state students. The education attained should pay off within a few years, but the costs still must be paid for while attending a college or university.
New Jersey Cares About Higher Education
The state of New Jersey realizes that education is a property for growth and advancement among its population and provides opportunities for all students to attend a college or university. One of these is the New Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Rewards Scholarship (STARS).
STARS Scholarship Criteria
There are two separate areas of the STARS program: STARS I and STARS II. STARS I is the scholarship for students attending one of New Jersey’s nineteen community colleges and STARS II is for students transferring from the STARS I program into a public four-year college or university.
- Student Requirements for STARS I
- Must graduate in the top 15 percent of their high school class
- Must take at least 12 credits per semester and will be allowed to take up to 18 credits per semester
- Must maintain a 3.0 grade point average to renew scholarship in second year
- Have five semesters of eligibility for STARS I
- Student Requirements for STARS II
- Must earn a 3.25 grade point average from STARS I program
- 3.25 to 3.49 GPA = $6,000 per year scholarship; 3.5+ = $7,000 per year
- Family income must be below $250,000 per year
- Must enroll in a public college or university