New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy recently announced the beginning of a new program allowing about 13,000 students the ability to attend one of 13 community colleges for free, beginning this spring semester. (Check below to see if your community college is on the list.)

All of the 19 community colleges in the state had applied to be part of the program named, the Community College Innovation Challenge. As part of the program, each community college will receive a $250,000 grant for student outreach, recruitment, and to build up to future expansion.

Governor Murphy stated in a public address that he hopes this program will help New Jersey residents advance their careers into post secondary degrees and help building a talented workforce to support the “engine of our state’s economy.”

The 13 Community Colleges on the List

  • Atlantic Cape Community College
  • Bergen Community College
  • Camden County College
  • Cumberland County College
  • Hudson County Community College
  • Mercer County Community College
  • Middlesex County College
  • Ocean County College
  • Passaic County Community College
  • Rowan College at Gloucester County
  • Salem Community College
  • Union County College
  • Warren County Community College

Who Can Benefit from the Free Tuition Program

Students enrolled at least half time at these 13 listed schools will be able to receive “last-dollar” Community College Opportunity Grants, covering any remaining costs of tuition and approved educational fees after applying all other financial aid grant awards to the student’s account.

The pilot program will allow students coming from families with incomes between $0 to $45,000 access to the awards. Students must maintain satisfactory academic progress in order to remain qualified.

Current students who have already completed a financial aid application for the fall 2018 semester will be automatically considered for eligibility if they enroll at one of the 13 pilot institutions for at least six credits in the spring 2019 semester.

Students at one of these pilot community colleges who have not yet filed for financial aid for academic year 2018-2019 will have until February 15, 2019 to apply for awards by completing the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid and the supplemental New Jersey state questions, or by completing the Alternative Application for New Jersey Dreamers.

Bottom Line

Make sure that you apply for financial aid if you attend or are looking to attend community college in New Jersey. However, you should always apply just in case!

Don’t live in New Jersey and still wonder if free tuition may happen in your state? Take a look at one of my previous postings about free college tuition in other states and cities in the U.S.  It’s a growing trend!


Author: College Mamma

College Mamma is a professor who blogs for students. She is also a mother of two and a lover of coffee.