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

Notification to Prospective NJ STARS Students

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

Prospective NJ STARS students should have received a letter from HESAA sometime at the end of February or in early March during their senior year of high school. Students who did not activate their NJ STARS eligibility by the date 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.

This year, postcards were mailed out on March 4th from Bergen Community College to all qualifying students in Bergen County containing QR Codes that can be scanned to find out why you should take advantage of the NJ STARS program as well as to RSVP to upcoming NJ STARS events.  The postcard will be followed by a letter in mid-March or so with additional information about the NJ STARS program.

*If you did not receive a letter from HESAA, or a postcard and letter from Bergen Community College, 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 postcard 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 since if you did not qualify at the end of your junior year, 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 will not receive correspondence from Bergen Community College

Placement Tests Not 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 do not have to take the Next Generation Accuplacer placement tests.  However, students must be waived from taking placement tests before they register for their 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 the year you graduated high school.

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.  When you self-identify, if you have not applied to the college yet, please email Mrs. Krostek after you apply so she can complete these tasks.

Sometime in July, Ms. Krostek will temporarily protect the courses of students who have self-identified 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 as long as all steps are completed and their NJ STARS Application/Contract is signed and submitted before the first day of the semester.

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 Weekly 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.