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FAQ’s

If I am determined as being academically eligible as a transfer student, what else do I need to do?

If you are transferring in from another school mid-year, several steps will need to be completed. Students will need to request that their official transcripts from the institution be sent to Bergen Community College, Office of Registration to be evaluated. Bring unofficial transcripts with you on the day of registration. Students will also be required to update their financial aid information. This includes updating the FAFSA first choice college code to reflect Bergen Community College.  You must also report the college code change directly to the state. This can be done by registering on the HESAA website and clicking “Change My School Choice or Enrollment Status” in the HESAA student portal.  If a FAFSA was not filed for the appropriate academic year, an application must be completed for the new semester.  Additional information also needs to be reported to the state, which can also be done in the HESAA  student portal by clicking on “Answer New Jersey State Grant Questions.” Students are responsible to confirm with the financial aid office that all documentation has been received.

If you are transferring for the fall semester, request an official transcript to be sent to Bergen Community College, Office of Admissions to be evaluated. Bring an unofficial copy with you on the day of registration.   A FAFSA application will need to be completed for the appropriate academic year and Bergen Community Community College must be indicated as the First Choice College. You must also report the college code change directly to the state by registering on the HESAA website and clicking”Change My School Choice or Enrollment Status” in the HESAA student portal.

Additional information will also need to be reported to the state by going to the HESAA website  and clicking on “Answer New Jersey State Grant Questions.” Students are responsible to confirm with the financial aid office that all documentation has been received.

What does NJ STARS cover?

NJ STARS covers the cost of tuition only at a community college for 12 to 18 college-level credits per semester. Students are responsible for payment of student fees, associated course fees, books and supplies.

What is NJ STARS?

The New Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Reward Scholarship, NJ STARS, is a merit-based scholarship available exclusively to New Jersey residents identified in the top 15 percent of their high school class at the end of either their junior or senior year, and attend their home county community college.

Does NJ STARS cover the cost of summer courses?

NJ STARS will pay for summer courses if state funding is available. Currently, state funding is not available to pay for summer classes. STARS students may take summer courses to expedite their graduation and are responsible for payment for those courses.

What is college readiness and how is it determined?

College readiness is a students ability to take college-level courses in a particular subject. College readiness at Bergen Community Community College in English and math is determined by:
SAT Scores: 540 Critical Reading, 530 Math
or
ACT Scores: 20 Reading, 23 Math; or 23 Composite
or
Accuplacer test scores
or
CAP courses in English or math
or
College courses in English or math taken at another accredited institution
**For students in a degree program requiring the math sequence for pre-calculus and calculus may involve an additional developmental level course. Students can take an additional placement test to potentially waive out of the course, use pre-calculus or calculus CAP courses, AP scores or pre-calculus or calculus taken at another accredited institution (C or higher required). This is required only for students whose degree requires this math sequence.**

What happens if I am required to take developmental courses for English or math?

If a student is not waived out of developmental courses for English and/or math via test scores, CAP courses or transfer credit, the student has until September 1st one year following high school graduation in order to complete any required developmental coursework. NJ STARS will not pay for developmental courses or any courses taken simultaneously. Upon successful completion of the courses; however, provided it is within one year of high school graduation, the student will be eligible for NJ STARS.

How do I qualify for NJ STARS?

To be eligible for NJ STARS, there are two eligibility components that must be met. The initial eligibility criteria for NJ STARS is for a student to be identified in top 15 percent of his or her high school class in either junior or senior year. Further academic criteria requires that students also present a final, official high school transcript as proof of high school graduation and complete a rigorous high school course of study*. Finally, students must also prove college readiness for English and math.

*All courses of high school study are considered rigorous for 2012.

In addition to the academic eligibility requirements, students must complete the financial aid component. For this, students must file the FAFSA and state applications each year by the deadlines. Bergen Community College must be listed as the first choice college for both the state and federal applications

When I first enrolled, I was determined college ready. I have since changed my major and now require developmental course(s) for my new course of study. Do I lose my NJ STARS eligibility?

No, the student will not lose his or her eligibility. The student could take the required remedial/developmental course(s) during the summer or during the fall or spring semester at his or her expense (or paid out of non-NJ STARS funds). If taken during the fall or spring semester, the student must also enroll for at least 12 college-level credits to retain NJ STARS eligibility.

I have met the academic criteria for NJ STARS. What are the required financial aid criteria?

In order to receive NJ STARS funding, students must complete the FAFSA application every year by the required deadlines and make Bergen Community Community College the first choice college (college code 004736).  You must also report the college code change directly to the state.  This can be done by registering on the HESAA website and clicking “Change My School Choice or Enrollment Status” in the HESAA student portal.  Additional information also needs to be reported to the state, which can also be done in the HESAA  student portal by clicking on “Answer New Jersey State Grant Questions.” Students must also submit any requested documentation asked by the financial aid office or the state of New Jersey.  For more information on financial aid, please visit the Financial Aid website.

I was eligible for NJ STARS when graduating high school, but decided not to use it right away. Am I still eligible for NJ STARS?

Possibly. Students have until their 5th semester following high school graduation to activate their STARS eligibility. Please contact Admissions to assess your eligibility.

I have met all of the academic and financial aid eligibility criteria- now what?

Students should make an appointment to meet with a counselor to assess their NJ STARS eligibility, register for courses and review the NJ STARS contract. Additionally, please review the NJ STARS Checklist to make sure all steps have been completed.

I am graduating from a high school with small class sizes. Am I still eligible for NJ STARS?

Potential NJ STARS eligibility for small graduating classes is shown below.
Class size of 1: not eligible
Class size of 2-6: #1 student is potentially NJ STARS eligible
Class size of 7 or greater: top 15 percent of students are potentially NJ STARS eligible.

How do I renew my NJ STARS eligibility each semester?

To receive NJ STARS each semester, current NJ STARS students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA, enroll in a minimum of 12 college-level credits and complete the FAFSA and state financial aid applications each year by the deadlines. It is highly recommended students register early to have the most options for classes and pay for any fees by the payment deadline.

What happens if I drop/add/withdraw from a class?

Prior to making class schedule changes, STARS students must communicate any change made after initial registration with one of the NJ STARS Academic Counselors and/or Financial Aid before doing so. Any action that changes a students enrollment status (dropping, adding, withdrawing from courses) may result in a balance being owed, being dropped from classes or loss of NJ STARS eligibility. In order to protect your NJ STARS eligibility, it is imperative to communicate these changes prior to making them.

Will my credits transfer?

Proper planning is the key to successful transfer. Bergen Community College has many resources to help students with successful transfer. Students should begin doing research early on possible majors and transfer schools and meet with a transfer advisor before attempting their 20th credit.

For more information on transfer, including guaranteed admissions programs, articulation agreements, on-campus bachelor degree completion programs and to make an appointment with a transfer advisor, visit the Transfer Services.

What happens if my GPA falls below a 3.0?

NJ STARS legislation requires that students maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA by the start of the 3rd semester of eligibility. Grades for any remedial courses taken will not be included in the cumulative GPA.  Students whose GPA falls below a 3.0 must meet with one of the NJ STARS Academic Counselors to discuss options to bring up the GPA before the start of the 3rd semester. Students will also engage in an academic support forum during the warning period.

How many semesters of NJ STARS eligibility do I have?

Students are eligible for up to 5 semesters of eligibility. NJ STARS students must graduate within 5 semesters in order to qualify for NJ STARS II. Nursing and engineering majors may take a 6th, unfunded semester in order to meet graduation requirements.

I do not need to be a full-time student in my final semester in order to meet all of my graduation requirements. Am I eligible to attend part-time?

A student may attend part-time in his or her final semester provided that he or she will meet all graduation requirements as a part-time student. Students MUST meet with the NJ STARS Coordinator to discuss this and fill out paperwork. Failure to complete this step may result in loss of NJ STARS and/or NJ STARS II.

How do I qualify for NJ STARS II?

NJ STARS students can qualify for NJ STARS II if they graduate as a NJ STARS student from community college with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25. Students must graduate within 4-5 semesters (6th, unfunded semester available for nursing and engineering majors) and have a family income (taxable and untaxed income) of less than $250,000. Students must apply and be accepted to a NJ STARS II participating 4-year institution. NJ STARS and NJ STARS II eligibility does not guarantee or give preference to a student for transfer admission. All other admissions criteria and procedures required by the 4-year institution must be met by the student.

What does NJ STARS II cover?

NJ STARS II will award qualifying students with $2,500 per year for two years at participating 4-year institutions in the state of New Jersey. NJ STARS II can now be used at public and private New Jersey schools.

Can I receive NJ STARS and other scholarships or financial aid at the same time?

If a student qualifies or any additional financial aid award or scholarship, those monies will apply first to the students account before NJ STARS. NJ STARS will cover a balance up to the amount of the remaining tuition. If additional fees are still outstanding, payment for these is the responsibility of the student. Students who are fully funded from other sources outside of NJ STARS funding do not lose their NJ STARS designation.

If NJ STARS is a merit-based scholarship, why do I need to apply for financial aid?

If a student qualifies for any need-based aid, those monies will be applied to the students account before NJ STARS will be applied. Eligibility for additional aid besides NJ STARS is determined by completing the FAFSA application and the state financial aid paperwork by registering on the HESAA website and clicking on “Answer New Jersey State Grant Questions.” Finally, if the student is selected for state or federal verification, students must submit the required verification paperwork by the required deadlines. For more information on financial aid, please visit the BCC financial aid website or email Financial Aid.