As New Jersey continues to invest in economic and professional development, earning a degree has become increasingly beneficial. With a college degree, you can gain more career opportunities, financial rewards, and additional educational options. For state residents, earning a degree from one of the cheap online colleges in New Jersey provides numerous benefits and opportunities that out-of-state students might not receive. For starters, some of the best online colleges in New Jersey, and the state itself, offer tuition discounts and scholarships to New Jersey residents. Finally, studying in your home state provides unparalleled networking and career opportunities as you build relationships with neighboring organizations.
Higher Learning Initiatives in New Jersey
Building Our Future Bond Act
In November 2012, residents voted to pass the Building Our Future Bond Act, a bill granting New Jersey permission to borrow $750 million. The money, collected from taxpayers, helps improve the overall quality of state colleges and universities in an effort to encourage college-bound New Jersey students to attend school in the state.
Popular Degree Programs in New Jersey
The most popular degrees in each state typically reflect the state’s industry outlook. In New Jersey, some of the most booming industries require analytically minded graduates with communication and problem-solving skills. To fill the workforce demands in thriving industries, such as financial services, manufacturing, and transportation and logistics, the following majors prove popular in New Jersey schools.
- Business Management: In New Jersey and across the country, business management represents the most popular degree choice for good reason. The communication, problem-solving, and leadership skills earned by graduates apply broadly to many careers and industries, including many of the industry clusters driving New Jersey’s economy.
- Statistics and Decision Science: In New Jersey, many of the thriving industries rely on big data and analytics in some fashion, including healthcare, financial services, and life sciences. As these industries dominate the growth landscape, a higher percentage of students pursue statistics degrees and analytical skills than anywhere else in the country.
Paying for College in New Jersey
Financing a college education remains one of the biggest concerns for students across the country. On average, New Jersey tuition costs come in higher than the national average, so cost should represent a major consideration for students when deciding on the best school. The following section examines how the average New Jersey tuition prices compare to the rest of the country, information that might help students decide if their desired program matches their budget.
While the table below highlights the average tuition fees in New Jersey compared to the national average, it does not include all other costs associated with a college education. Some other costs not factored into these numbers may include transportation, books, and room and board.
Average Price for In-State Tuition and Fees by Institution Type, 2017-18
|Public Two Year||Public Four Year|
Source: College Board
Employment Outlook in New Jersey
New Jersey offers new graduates a positive outlook for employment opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the state’s unemployment rate ranks higher than the national average, the 4.1% represents the lowest rate in New Jersey in nearly two decades. Much of the state’s economic growth came from technology, sciences, and advanced manufacturing, industries that require highly trained and educated professionals. Analysts project that by 2020, 29% of jobs in the state may require a bachelor’s degree, the highest percentage of any state. Consequently, New Jersey now hosts one of the most highly educated workforces in the country, with more than 38% of the population over the age of 25 holding bachelor’s degrees.
Accreditation for Colleges in New Jersey
When choosing a school or program, consider each school’s accreditation. In the U.S., the U.S. Department of Education (ED) entrusts six regional agencies to grant accreditation to the nation’s colleges and universities. At the institutional level, these organizations provide the only accreditation that matters. For online and on-campus schools in New Jersey, the stamp of approval comes from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). MSCHE verifies that each institution meets regional standards and provides quality assurances for attending students.
While schools receive regional accreditation, programs do not. However, some national associations provide accreditation for programs that meet the association’s standards. These programs may include healthcare programs, legal programs, or those that lead to national certifications or licensure. National accreditation assures students that the desired program meets the association’s national standards. Organizations may require specific accreditation from applicants, so students should explore what national accreditations exist for their field prior to admission. The ED offers an institutional accreditation database for school and program searches.
Scholarships for New Jersey Online College Students
While federal funding remains the most consistent form of higher education assistance, scholarships present a valuable and accessible option for students in New Jersey and across the country. Scholarships come from a variety of sources, including state funding, organizations, and specific schools and programs. The following list highlights some of the best scholarships available to students in New Jersey.
- NJ Best Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Awarded to applicants who opened a NJBEST 529 College Savings Plan more than four years prior to application and contributed at least $1,200 toward it, this scholarship requires applicants to attend an accredited New Jersey college.
- Governor’s Urban Scholarship
Who Can Apply: New Jersey presents this scholarship to students in the top 5% of their high school class from the state’s economically challenged communities. Eligible applicants must hold an 3.0 GPA average and attend or plan to attend an eligible New Jersey higher education institution.
- Tuition Aid Grant
Who Can Apply: This award benefits New Jersey residents planning to attend a college or university in the state. Applicants must demonstrate financial need, with the award value varying by school.
- New Jersey DECA State Scholarships
Who Can Apply: Presented by the State Association of New Jersey DECA, these scholarships reward DECA member students in business programs and courses. Applicants must also demonstrate financial need.
- NJ Stars
Who Can Apply: The state presents this scholarship to New Jersey residents who rank in the top 15% of their high school class. Applicants must plan to attend one of the eligible New Jersey county colleges, demonstrate financial need, and boast a 3.0 GPA.
- NJ Stars II
Who Can Apply: New Jersey presents this award to former recipients of the NJ Stars award and graduates of a New Jersey county college. Applicants must plan to enroll in an eligible New Jersey college or university, demonstrate financial need, and boast a 3.25 GPA.
Amount: Up to $1,250 per semester
- Unified Scholarship
Who Can Apply: By completing the Unified Scholarship application, New Jersey students become eligible for several different awards. While most awards require a demonstration of financial need and academic merit, some require applicants to live in specific New Jersey counties.
- New Jersey Foster Care Scholars Program
Who Can Apply: Awarded to students from New Jersey’s foster care program or those from an out-of-home placement, this scholarship provides students applying to college in New Jersey with financial aid to help with schooling costs.
- Community College Opportunity Grant
Who Can Apply: Awarded to students attending one of the specific community colleges, this opportunity grant covers many of the program costs for New Jersey students. Applicants must be enrolled in a minimum of six credits during the application period.
- Educational Opportunity Fund
Who Can Apply: This opportunity fund covers many of the supplemental costs of education, costs not covered by the Tuition Aid Grant Program. Applicants must be New Jersey residents with financial need and demonstrate motivation to complete their studies.
Resources for Students in New Jersey
- State of New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education: This resource contains in-depth information on New Jersey colleges and universities, including links to scholarships, licensure, and program information. Students can find out what program might interest them, what New Jersey school offers it, and how that school and program measure up to others.
- New Jersey Education Agency: In addition to fighting for better work conditions for New Jersey higher education faculty members, this agency provides valuable resources for students. Those applying to higher education in the state can find links for information about community colleges, college locators, and scholarship information.
- New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities: This association advocates for improved higher education standards in the state and provides several resources for aspiring students. Learners can access to information on various colleges and universities, along with scholarship resources and information on the different higher education initiatives going on in New Jersey.
- Higher Education Student Assistance Authority: This state agency provides easy access to financial aid resources for students and their families. Students gain access to application links and information about funding. They can also compare loans and read up on statewide legislation regarding financial aid.
- New Jersey Independent Colleges: In addition to providing information about New Jersey’s independent colleges, this resource allows students to learn more about scholarship opportunities, different types of financial aid, and the many ongoing independent college initiatives.
Online Schools in New Jersey
- Graduation Rate: 51%
- Average Net Price: $16,722
Fairleigh Dickinson University-College at Florham
- Graduation Rate: 58%
- Average Net Price: $23,069
- Graduation Rate: 42%
- Average Net Price: $18,562
- Graduation Rate: 50%
- Average Net Price: $18,603
- Graduation Rate: 50%
- Average Net Price: $20,395
- Graduation Rate: 67%
- Average Net Price: $26,846
- Graduation Rate: 72%
- Average Net Price: $23,722
Rutgers University-New Brunswick
- Graduation Rate: 79%
- Average Net Price: $19,894
Saint Peter's University
Jersey City, NJ
- Graduation Rate: 52%
- Average Net Price: $16,651
Thomas Edison State University
- Graduation Rate: 40%
- Average Net Price: $13,155
William Paterson University of New Jersey
- Graduation Rate: 48%
- Average Net Price: $15,897