The College of New Jersey is proud to participate in the Garden State Guarantee program, designed to help improve college affordability by reducing out-of-pocket costs for New Jersey students and families. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation funding this initiative on June 29, 2021, building on a statewide commitment to make a college degree more accessible and affordable.
The Garden State Guarantee program will be effective as of the Fall 2022 semester.
Please check this page regularly for updated information, which TCNJ will provide as it becomes available.
What is the Garden State Guarantee?
The Garden State Guarantee is a financial aid program that will provide up to four semesters of free or reduced tuition and mandatory fees at a four-year, public institution of higher education in New Jersey. To be eligible, students must be New Jersey residents enrolled full time in their third or fourth years of study.
Students may qualify for an award based on three (3) tiers of eligibility.
Tier #1 students are those whose family’s Adjusted Gross Income is $0–$65,000 annually. These students may be eligible for free tuition and mandatory fees after financial aid is applied.
Tier #2 students are those whose family’s Adjusted Gross Income is $65,001–$80,000 annually. These students may be eligible to receive assistance such that their net cost for tuition and mandatory fees is no more than $7,500 per year after financial aid is applied.
Tier #3 students are those whose family’s Adjusted Gross Income is $80,001–$100,000 annually. These students may be eligible to receive assistance such that their net cost for tuition and mandatory fees is no more than $10,000 per year after financial aid is applied.
This program is a “last dollar” award. Therefore, all federal, state, institutional, and private grants/scholarships must be awarded first. A student may qualify for Garden State Guarantee funding, based on the Adjusted Gross Income tier, for any gap up to the cost of tuition and mandatory fees.
What is the eligibility criteria?
- Students must meet the New Jersey residency requirements established by the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority.
- Students must have a complete financial aid record with the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority
- Adjusted Gross Incomes of $0–$65,000 may make a student eligible for free tuition and required fees after aid.
- Adjusted Gross Incomes of $65,001–$80,000 may make a student eligible for assistance, lowering the cost of tuition and required fees to no more than $7,500 after aid.
- Adjusted Gross Incomes of $80,001–$100,000 may make a student eligible for assistance, lowering the cost of tuition and mandatory fees to no more than $10,000 after aid.
- Negative Adjusted Gross Incomes are not eligible for the program.
- The Adjusted Gross Income figure (from the IRS tax return) is based on the parents’ AGI for dependent students or on the student’s/spouse’s AGI for independent students. The AGI establishing eligibility will be based on the income reported on the FAFSA for the academic year in question. Only those who filed a tax return or will file a tax return, as indicated on their FAFSA, can be considered.
- Mandatory fees are defined as General Service/Capital, Student Activity and Student Center fees.
- The third year at The College of New Jersey is defined as having earned 15–22 units. This applies to both continuing and transfer students.
- The fourth year at The College of New Jersey is defined as having earned 23–32 units. This applies to both continuing and transfer students.
- Students must be enrolled full time without exception.
- Students may receive a maximum of four semesters of funding at any state public institution.
- Students must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress.
- Students must be working toward their first bachelor’s degree.
- Students must have earned no more than 32 units; both continuing students and incoming transfer students are eligible.
- Student must have met all federal and State application deadlines.
- Students selected for federal and/or state verification must submit all required documents to the appropriate entity by the established deadline dates before eligibility can be determined and funds awarded.
I think I am eligible. What do I need to do to receive the GSG?
- Complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid for the 2023-24 academic year and use TCNJ’s school code (002642). If you qualify as a NJ Dreamer, you should instead file the NJ Alternative Financial Aid Application. Students must file the FAFSA or the NJ Alternative Financial Aid Application by state deadlines.
- Provide any additional documentation requested by The College of New Jersey Office of Financial Aid or by the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority.
- Check your TCNJ PAWS email regularly for updates.
- Transfer students: Until your final transcripts are received and evaluated by the TCNJ Office of Records and Registration, we will not be able to determine if you have completed the required number of units (credits) to determine if you are in your third or fourth year of eligibility. Academic transcript evaluations will begin at the end of June. Therefore, the GSG determination may take longer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I eligible for the GSG if I have an associate degree?
Yes, as long as you meet all other criteria above.
What happens to my GSG eligibility if I take a semester off?
The GSG is available to eligible students for up to four semesters total while studying in their third and fourth years (as defined by earned units). If you take a semester off but continue to meet program requirements, including those related to Adjusted Gross Income, you will receive the GSG when you return to TCNJ. The four semesters of eligibility include benefits earned at any four-year, public university or college in New Jersey. If you have received the GSG at another institution prior to transferring to TCNJ, those benefits will count toward your four semesters of eligibility.
If you take time off from TCNJ, you must self-identify as a potential Garden State Guarantee recipient upon your return.
Can I transfer to TCNJ and still be eligible for the GSG?
Yes. If you are receiving the GSG at another institution and wish to transfer to TCNJ, you are still entitled to the GSG. There is no requirement that you must stay at one school to receive the GSG.
What are “required fees”?
At TCNJ, required fees are as follows: General Service/Capital, Student Center, and Student Activity.
If you have any questions, please email us at email@example.com or call 609-771-2211.