What should I expect after learning about the NJ STARS program?

Notification to Prospective NJ STARS Students

Your high school should have notified you of your eligibility at the end of your junior year if you were in the top 15% of your class.

During the week of February 6, 2023, HESAA sent an email to all Prospective NJ STARS students in New Jersey to the email address on file with students’ high schools.   To activate NJ STARS eligibility, students were asked to click on the link in the email which is specific to each student, and register on the NJFAMS website.  Unfortunately, many students did not receive the email and were not able to activate their NJ STARS eligibility.  If you did not receive the email, please click here to read the instructions and email Catherine Krostek to request your individualized link.

In addition, a letter from HESAA was mailed the week of February 21, 2023. Students who did not activate their NJ STARS eligibility by May 7, 2023, the date noted in the letter, will still be eligible to apply to the NJ STARS program at Bergen Community College until September.  Students signing their NJ STARS Application/Contract after the start of the Fall semester will have to pay their tuition and wait for reimbursement from the State of New Jersey.

A letter will be mailed from Bergen Community College by mid-March to all qualifying students in Bergen County with information about the NJ STARS program.

*If you did not receive a letter from HESAA, or a letter from Bergen Community College by the end of March, please see below.

Students who did not receive correspondence from HESAA or Bergen Community College

If you did not receive a letter from HESAA, you will not receive a letter from Bergen Community College since you may not have ranked in the top 15% of your class at the end of your junior year.  Please check with your high school guidance office if you did not qualify at the end of your junior year since you can still qualify if you rank in the top 15% of your class at the end of your senior year.

Students whose names are not on the HESAA list of qualifying junior high school students but should have been, and students who qualify at the end of their senior year are potentially eligible for the NJ STARS Program. However, these students will need to provide proof of their class rank and class size either on an official, final signed and sealed transcript or on the Certification of High School Class Rank Form from their high school which must contain the school seal.

Qualified out-of-county students should receive a letter from HESAA but should receive correspondence from their home county college.

Placement Tests are No Longer Required

On June 21, 2021, the full New Jersey Council of County Colleges unanimously approved a resolution that changes the test used for final NJ STARS eligibility, designating “a student’s high school academic ranking as the test of a student’s final eligibility for NJ STARS.”

Accordingly, prospective NJ STARS students no longer have to take the Next Generation Accuplacer placement tests but they must be waived from taking the tests before registering for their courses. Students who still wish to take the placement tests may do so.  If a student takes the tests and requires a remedial course or courses, they can either choose to be waived, or they can take the remedial course or courses if necessary, but they must still register for 12 or more college-level credits.  Please note:  NJ STARS will only pay for college-level courses.

First Steps

To ensure that you meet all of the eligibility requirements, please visit the HESAA website and check the NJ STARS Fact Sheet for 2023 High School Graduates or for the year you graduated high school.  2021 and 2022 high school graduates are still eligible, even if they already attended another college or university.

Next, download the Self-Identification Form for Prospective NJ STARS Students and save it to your computer.  Then complete the form, save it again, and email it to Catherine Krostek, the Bergen Community College NJ STARS Representative.  Once your self-identification form is received, if you have applied to the college, you will be identified as a prospective NJ STARS student in your college record.  After verifying your NJ STARS program eligibility, you will be waived from taking placement tests.  If you have not applied to the college when you self-identify, please email Mrs. Krostek after you apply so she can complete these tasks.

Sometime in July, Ms. Krostek will temporarily add protection for Fall 2023 to students’ records if they have self-identified as prospective NJ STARS students so they will not have to pay their tuition and their courses will not be dropped for non-payment.  Protection of courses for students will be extended to later in the semester as long as all steps are completed and the NJ STARS Application/Contract is signed and submitted before the first day of the semester.  Students signing their contract after the semester begins will have to pay the tuition and will be reimbursed later by the State.

Please visit the How to Apply to the NJ STARS Program webpage to begin the NJ STARS certification process.  The steps outlined above are also the first steps on the webpage.

Students and their parents can view the new videos that are currently being added to the FAQs webpage, or join us at one of the NJ STARS Webinars to be scheduled shortly for help or to find out everything you need to know about the NJ STARS program.  Visit the NJ STARS Events webpage for dates and times, and to RSVP.