Ds Scholarship

Garden State Guarantee | Financial Aid

The College of New Jersey is proud to participate in the Garden State Guarantee Program, which is designed to help improve college affordability by reducing out-of-pocket costs for New Jersey students and families. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation funding this initiative on June 29, 2021, based on a statewide commitment to making a college degree more accessible and affordable.

The Garden State Guarantee Program will be effective beginning in the Fall 2022 semester.

Please check this page regularly for updated information, which TCNJ will provide as it becomes available.

Download the Garden State Guarantee/TCNJ fact sheet (PDF).

What is the state park guarantee?

The Garden State Guarantee is a financial aid program that will provide up to four semesters of free or reduced tuition and required fees at a public four-year higher education institution in New Jersey. To be eligible, students must be New Jersey residents enrolled full-time in their third or fourth year of study.

Students whose family adjusted gross income ranges between $0 and $65,000 annually may be eligible for free tuition and required fees. Students whose Family Adjusted Gross Income is $65,001 – $80,000 per year may be eligible to receive assistance so that the net cost of tuition and required fees is no more than $7,500 per year.

This program is a “last dollar” award. Therefore, all federal, state, institutional and private scholarships/scholarships must be submitted first. A student may qualify for a Garden State Guarantee funding, based on an adjusted gross income level, for any gap up to the cost of tuition and required fees.

What are the eligibility criteria?

  • Students must meet the New Jersey residency requirements set by the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority.
  • Adjusted gross income between $0 and $65,000 may make a student eligible for free tuition and post-assist fees.
  • Adjusted gross income of $65,001 – $80,000 may make a student eligible for assistance, reducing the cost of tuition and required fees to no more than $7,500 after assistance.
  • The Adjusted Gross Income figure (from the IRS tax return) is based on the parent’s AGI for dependent students or on the student/spouse’s AGI for independent students. The determination of AGI eligibility will be based on the income reported in the FAFSA for the respective academic year.
  • The third year at College of New Jersey is defined as earning 15-22 units (60-89 credits). This applies to both continuous and transformed students.
  • The fourth year at College of New Jersey is defined as earning 23-32 units (90-126 credits). This applies to both continuous and transformed students.
  • Students must be registered full-time without exception.
  • Students may receive a maximum of four semesters of funding at any government government institution.
  • Students must be making satisfactory academic progress.
  • Students must work towards their first bachelor’s degree.
  • Students must not have taken more than 32 units (126 credits); Both continuing students and incoming transfer students are eligible.
  • Students selected for federal and/or state verification must submit all required documents to the appropriate entity by the established deadlines before eligibility is determined and funds awarded.

I think I qualify. What do I need to do to receive a GSG?

  • Complete your free application for Federal Student Aid for the 2022-23 school year Use the TCNJ school code (002642). If you qualify as a NJ Dreamer, you should instead Apply for NJ Alternative Financial Aid. Students must submit a FAFSA or NJ Alternative Financial Aid application depending on state deadlines.
  • Submit any additional documentation required by the College of New Jersey Financial Aid Office or the Higher Education Student Aid Authority of New Jersey.
  • Check your TCNJ PAWS email regularly for updates.
  • Transfer Students: Until your final transcripts have been received and assessed by the TCNJ Office of Records and Enrollment, we will not be able to determine whether you have completed the required number of units (credits) to determine if you are in your third or fourth year. Eligibility. Therefore, the identification of the GSG may take longer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I qualify for the GSG if I have an undergraduate degree?

Yes, as long as you meet all the other criteria listed above.

What happens to my GSG eligibility if I take a semester leave?

The GSG is available to eligible students for up to four semesters in total while studying in Years 3 and 4 (as defined by credits earned). If you take a semester but continue to meet program requirements, including those for Adjusted Gross Income, you will receive a GSG upon return to TCNJ. The four seasons of eligibility include benefits earned at any public four-year university or college in New Jersey. If you received a GSG at another institution prior to transferring to TCNJ, these benefits will count toward your four eligibility classes.

If you are taking a leave of absence from TCNJ, you must identify yourself as a potential recipient of the Garden State Security upon your return.

Can I transfer to TCNJ and still qualify for the GSG?

Yes. If you receive a GSG at another institution and wish to transfer to TCNJ, you are still entitled to a GSG. There is no requirement that you must remain in one school to receive a GSG.

What are the “required fees”?

At TCNJ, the fees required are as follows: Public Services/Capital, Student Center, and Student Activity.


If you have any questions, please email us at osfa@tcnj.edu or call 609-771-2211.

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