Garden State Guarantee
What is the Garden State Guarantee?
The Garden State Guarantee (GSG) is New Jersey’s promise to make a college degree more accessible and affordable. By reducing out-of-pocket costs for students and families, New Jersey is limiting the amount of debt that residents must borrow to attend an in-state, public college or university. This program further builds on Governor Phil Murphy’s commitment to improving college affordability.
Who is Eligible?
- New Jersey residents who attend an in-state, public, four-year institution and have an annual adjusted gross income (AGI) between $0 and $65,000 will pay a net price of $0 for tuition and fees during their third and fourth years of study.
- New Jersey residents who attend an in-state, public, four-year institution and have AGIs between $65,001 and $80,000 will pay a discounted net price of no more than $7,500 for tuition and fees during their third and fourth years of study.
- In accordance with the New Jersey Higher Education Assistance Authority’s (HESAA) policy, households with negative AGIs are not eligible for the GSG.
- The third year at Rutgers is defined as having earned 60-89 credits.
- The fourth year at Rutgers is defined as having earned 90-126 credits.
- GSG is a “last dollar” financial aid award that covers the cost of tuition and fees that are not already covered by federal and state financial aid or other institutional or private scholarships.
- Students must be enrolled full time (at least 12 credits per semester) and must be working toward completing their first Bachelor’s degree.
- As with all New Jersey state financial aid, students must demonstrate Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) to remain eligible for aid. Click here for more details about SAP and eligibility.
How to Apply
You will automatically be considered for the GSG when you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or, if you qualify as a NJ Dreamer, the NJ Alternative Financial Aid Application (NJAFAA), by the posted state deadlines. Please use school code 002629 for Rutgers University.
Rutgers University Tuition Assistance Programs
In addition to GSG, Rutgers is committed to expanding financial aid programs for students. Click here to learn more about these programs: Bridging the Gap (Camden), RU-N to the TOP (Newark), and Scarlet Guarantee (New Brunswick).
GSG Questions and Answers
How do I determine my AGI?
For dependent students, only parent(s’)/guardian(s’) AGIs are considered, not the student’s income. For independent students, the AGI of the student and spouse, if applicable, is considered.
For how long am I eligible for GSG?
Students who satisfy all eligibility criteria may receive GSG up to the overall cap of four (4) semesters.
How many credits must I earn to be considered a third- or fourth-year student?
Third-year students are defined as having earned 60-89 total accumulated credits, and fourth-year students are defined as having earned 90-126 total accumulated credits, regardless of the institution(s) at which the qualifying credits were earned (i.e.: accepted transfer credits from another institution of higher education, Advanced Placement courses, dual-enrollment programs, etc.)
The third year at Rutgers is defined as having earned 60-89 credits.
The fourth year at Rutgers is defined as having earned 90-126 credits.
Will this new program help me if I was never eligible for state aid before?
Yes. Expanding equitable and affordable college access to a high-quality degree in New Jersey is the GSG’s driving force. Be sure to complete the FAFSA or NJAFAA by the posted state deadlines.
Do I qualify for this program if I am a first- or second-year student?
GSG funding is available only to third- and fourth-year students at in-state, public, four-year institutions. First- and second-year students who attend a New Jersey community college with an AGI between $0 and $65,000 may be eligible for the Community College Opportunity Grant. Together, these complementary programs create a tuition- and fee-free pathway to a Bachelor’s degree.
Rutgers is committed to expanding financial aid programs for students. Click here to learn more about last dollar award programs for first- and second-year Rutgers students.