Rutgers will offer free tuition to undergraduates from low-income families

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Thousands of Rutgers University students will benefit from a new financial aid program that dramatically reduces tuition and fees for families with incomes below $100,000.

The program, called Scarlet Guarantee, will be available to first- and second-year students on the school’s New Brunswick campus beginning in the 2022-23 school year. Rutgers officials expect 7,600 students — nearly 20% of enrolled undergraduates — to qualify for the program.

The initiative is launching the same semester as Garden State Guarantee, a college affordability program enacted by Governor Phil Murphy aimed at helping third- and fourth-year students from low- and middle-income households.

If students from families with an adjusted gross income of $65,000 or less take advantage of both programs, full tuition and compulsory fees would be covered for four years.

For families with income between $65,001 and $80,000, the cost would be a maximum of $3,000 annually. The maximum cost would increase to $5,000 per year for families earning between $80,001 and $100,000.

Students would still be responsible for meal plans, housing, textbooks, transportation, and other costs.

Scarlet Guarantee is expected to cost $24 million for the first year, with the state paying $10 million. This will be what is called a “last dollar” program, which means it will be on top of other scholarships and grants.

“The Scarlet Guarantee program will help qualified students across New Jersey achieve their hopes, dreams and ambitions and help Rutgers become an even richer and more diverse university,” Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway said in a statement. a statement.

The program is part of a national movement to reduce the astronomical cost of higher education. The college councilwhich tracks trends in college prices and student aid, reports that the national average tuition at a public college was $10,740 for the 2021-2022 academic year.

According to National Center for Education Statisticsthe cost of a college education jumped 169% from 1980 to 2019.

For the academic year 2021-2022, in-state tuition at Rutgers costs $12,536, while nonresident New Jersey residents pay upwards of $29,000. Room and board cost students an additional $13,400, and fees average $3,268.

Tuition fees for 2022-2023 have not been set.

A 2022 study by Education Data Initiative New Jersey is the fifth most expensive state for college tuition, behind New Hampshire, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and Illinois.

Students do not need to complete any additional paperwork to be considered for the Scarlet Guarantee. Anyone who completes the FAFSA or New Jersey Alternative Financial Aid Application for Dreamers—DACA-protected undocumented students—is automatically considered.

Students must be full-time, enrolled in at least 12 credits per semester toward their first bachelor’s degree, and meet academic progression standards. Fifth year students and graduate students are not eligible.

Rutgers Camden and Rutgers newark already have similar programs offering free tuition to some families earning less than $65,000 and reduced tuition for students from households earning less than $100,000. Other schools across the Garden State, including University of Stockton and City University of New Jerseyhave expanded their financial aid to help reduce costs for low- and middle-income students.

New Jersey is also home to the Community College Opportunity Grantwhich offers free tuition at 18 community colleges for undergraduates from homes with incomes of $65,000 or less.

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