Zina Kumok Image Written By: Zina Kumok | Edited By: Kevin Ladd | Updated: June 15, 2024

New Jersey Scholarships

new jersey skyline night time

Residents of New Jersey have a lot to be proud of. Bruce Springsteen, saltwater taffy and “The Sopranos” are just the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately, New Jersey residents also have one of the highest average student loan balances in the country. The average New Jersey borrower owes about $35,000 in student loans, the sixth-highest balance in the country. Fortunately, there are ways for students from New Jersey to reduce their student loan debt. How? By applying for New Jersey scholarships. Read below to see where to find these scholarships, how to apply and how to qualify.

Continue reading the article below the scholarship list.

25 New Jersey Scholarships with Approaching Deadlines

What is a New Jersey scholarship?

A New Jersey scholarship is an award that requires students to be current residents of the Garden State, be attending college or university there or often both.

New Jersey scholarships may have several different components, including academic major, athletic ability, artistic ability or financial need. Some scholarships will take into account multiple factors, whereas others may only be focused on one.

Many students may mistakenly assume that they won’t qualify for a scholarship based on financial need, but they could be wrong. Unless the scholarship has a specific household income or net worth limit that you know your family exceeds, you should still apply.

Where to find New Jersey scholarships

The first place to start should be with the school you're applying to. When completing the general admission application, you should check off that you want to be considered for all possible scholarships.

If you're not sure how to find all the possible institutional awards, you should contact the school's financial aid office directly. Also, if you’ve already declared a major, you should also look for scholarships through your specific department. For example, if you're planning on majoring in business, the business school may have its own scholarships that you can apply for.

You should also create an account on Scholarships.com, where you will have to answer various questions about your background. These answers will also be used to find scholarships that you're eligible for. You’ll be notified when a new scholarship matching your information pops up.

Looking for scholarships via a search engine can be effective, especially if you find specific scholarships that match your interests and background.

If you're looking for state-based scholarships, you should also try to find more granular awards. For example, let’s say you’re interested in public service. Go to Google.com and type in “public service New Jersey scholarships.”

You might be surprised at how many scholarships you can find that will fit that criteria. You can do this with any descriptor, whether it’s an interest, hobby, skill or demographic detail. Take a few days to brainstorm anything about you that is unique or different, no matter how minor it might seem.

Then, start looking for scholarships that match those keywords. Use a spreadsheet to organize your findings, including required documents, deadlines and more.

How to apply for New Jersey scholarships

When you're applying for a scholarship, the most important thing is to submit all required documents by the deadline. For state financial aid, you need to complete everything by New Jersey's financial aid deadline, which is May 15th. This may differ from your school's financial aid deadline. When in doubt, send everything in by the earliest deadline. Third-party scholarships may have even earlier deadlines.

Another key thing to keep in mind is that scholarships are available at any point in your academic career, whether you're a middle schooler or a Ph.D. student. While many New Jersey scholarships require that you still be in high school to apply, others have more lenient requirements.

One of the biggest tasks when applying for scholarships is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Many students and families don't realize that submitting the FAFSA is actually a core part of winning many scholarships.

Not only do many schools only award scholarships to students who have filled out the FAFSA, but many third-party organizations also use the FAFSA in their application process. Plus, the FAFSA will help you qualify for student loans to meet any remaining financial need, after scholarships. The FAFSA can also give you access to federal grants, like the Pell Grant, as well as work-study.

New Jersey scholarships may require that you submit an official or unofficial transcript, one or more recommendation letters and an essay. Some may ask for more than one essay, while others will ask for a video or other type of creative work in lieu of a written essay.

Every scholarship may have different requirements, so read the documentation carefully before applying. If you have any questions, reach out directly to the scholarship coordinator.

New Jersey scholarship FAQs

Are there New Jersey scholarships for certain minority groups?

There are many New Jersey scholarships that require students to be from a certain minority background.

For example, the Governor’s Industry Vocations Scholarship is given to a student of color who is interested in construction. You must be attending a New Jersey community college, vocational school or trade school.

If you are already part of a minority organization, see if they offer college scholarships. Make sure to check the local chapters as well as the national branch. Remember, you usually don't have to be an official member of an organization to apply for one of their awards.

Even if you don't think you're part of a traditional minority group, you may still qualify for minority scholarships if you’re underrepresented in the field or profession you're interested in studying.

Do you have to attend a public school in New Jersey to get a New Jersey scholarship?

Most New Jersey scholarships don't care whether you attend a public or private college. Whether you want to go to Princeton University or Rutgers, the scholarships you apply for usually won’t mind. However, the Garden State Grant is one major exception.

This need-based award is given to students whose families have an adjusted gross income (AGI) between $0 and $65,000. During your third and fourth years of school, the grant will cover all tuition and fees. Students whose families have AGIs between $65,001 and $80,000 will pay some amount of tuition. However, this will be capped at no more than $7,500.

Only full-time students who are attending a public school in New Jersey can apply for this award. Students at the following schools are eligible:

To be considered for this award, you must fill out either the FAFSA or the NJ Alternative Financial Aid Application, if you have DACA status. The Garden State Grant is only available for four semesters total.

Do you have to attend school in New Jersey to win a New Jersey scholarship?

Many students assume that if you apply for a New Jersey scholarship, you have to attend school in the Garden State to be eligible. And, while some scholarships may have that requirement, it doesn’t apply to all awards.

For example, the Janet Logan Daily Foundation Scholarship is given to a New Jersey high school senior who plans to attend an accredited school anywhere in the U.S.

While you can often receive more grants and scholarships if you stay in-state, you can still find plenty of financial aid no matter where you are studying as long as you’re persistent.

Do you have to be from New Jersey to win a New Jersey scholarship?

New Jersey is one of the most populated areas in the country, so many of its scholarships are available to students who aren’t necessarily local.

For example, the CMAA Mid-Atlantic Chapter Scholarship is given to a student who is either from or attending school in Pennsylvania (zip code >17000), New Jersey (zip code >08000) or Delaware.

Are there scholarships for students from specific New Jersey counties or cities?

Many state scholarships are open to students who live anywhere within the borders of the state, but others have strict geographic rules that students must meet.

For example, the Governor’s Urban Scholarship Program is only available to students who live in one of the following areas: Asbury Park City, Burlington City, Bridgeton, Camden City, East Orange City, Elizabeth, Garfield, Gloucester City, Harrison, Hoboken, Irvington Township, Jersey City, Keansburg, Lakewood, Long Branch, Millville City, Neptune Township, Newark City, New Brunswick City, Orange, Passaic City, Paterson City, Pemberton Township, Perth Amboy, Phillipsburg, Plainfield City, Pleasantville, Roselle Borough, Salem City, Trenton City, Union City, Vineland City, West New York.

This award will provide a scholarship to students who are within the top 5% of their class and have a 3.0 GPA or higher. Only full-time students are eligible. You must be a U.S. citizen, eligible noncitizen or able to complete the NJ Alternative Financial Aid Application.

You must also attend one of several eligible institutions to qualify. A list of qualifying institutions can be found here.

Are New Jersey scholarships available for community college students?

One of the worst things any student can do is to assume they're not eligible for a scholarship. And many community college students think that scholarships are only for those attending a four-year institution.

Fortunately, they’re mistaken. There are many awards for both two- and four-year students, and some are just for those attending a two-year school.

For example, the New Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Reward Scholarship (NJ STARS) is given to a student who ranks in the top 15% of their class in either their junior or senior year of high school. To be eligible, students must enroll in a New Jersey Community College after graduation. If they win, they receive a full-ride scholarship.

If you're applying to a community college, their financial aid department should have a list of possible awards.

Are New Jersey scholarships available for graduate or professional students?

For example, NYIPLEF Diversity Scholarships are given to students from the tri-state area who are attending law school. Students must be interested in intellectual property law to qualify. There are two $10,000 awards available.

Are there specific New Jersey scholarships for certain majors or degrees?

For example, the Land Conservancy of New Jersey Scholarships are available to students who are studying park administration, conservation, natural resource management, environmental science and other similar degrees.

Five awards are given, each worth $7,500.

Can DACA students qualify for New Jersey scholarships and grants?

While DACA students are not eligible for federal financial aid, they can still qualify for state-based aid in New Jersey.

To be considered, students must fill out the New Jersey Alternative Financial Aid Application by the deadline. You must have attended a New Jersey high school for at least three years and have a New Jersey high school diploma or the equivalent. You or your parents do not need to have a Social Security Number to apply.

Are there special 9/11 scholarships for New Jersey residents?

The New Jersey World Trade Center Scholarship is given to students or spouses of a family member who was killed or died from injuries that happened during 9/11. The scholarship amount can vary depending on various factors.

Citizens, eligible non-citizens and those with DACA status are eligible.

What kind of GPA do I need to win a New Jersey scholarship?

When a scholarship committee looks for a winner, they often consider several key factors, including GPA. Most scholarships will list a minimum GPA, often a 3.0, that students should have.

However, some scholarships may have higher or lower GPA requirements. Some awards may not have a specific GPA listed at all.