RU-N to the TOP

In This Section

Overview: Fall 2022 & Beyond

This overview is for students who have been admitted, enrolled and matriculated into Rutgers University-Newark as a new student from Fall 2022 and beyond.

In 2016, the university established the Rutgers University–Newark Talent and Opportunity Pathways financial aid program, (RU-N to the TOP), for newly enrolled undergraduate students. The university expanded its reach of the RU-N to the TOP program for students who are newly admitted for fall 2022.  The expanded program continues to solidify our strategic plan and commitments to boundary-crossing scholarship, diverse talent cultivation, and engagement as an anchor institution. The RU-N to the TOP program enables us to build upon these commitments and recruit the most outstanding students from across the state of New Jersey.

The RU-N to the TOP program provides a “last-dollar” financial aid scholarship that covers the cost of in-state tuition and mandatory fees. The scholarship is offered after all federal, state, institutional, internal/external scholarships and grants have been applied. Students must meet the program’s eligibility and income requirements.  There is no separate application that is required for this scholarship.

Newly admitted students for fall 2022 and beyond will automatically be considered with the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Financial Aid (FAFSA) or the NJ Alternative Application if you are a NJ Dreamer. Students who are unable to complete the required financial aid form due to ineligibility will need to complete a paper FAFSA and submit supporting income document to validate their AGI.

Students who were admitted to the university before fall 2022 semester and deemed eligible for the TOP Scholarship will be evaluated and renewed based on the governing rules established prior to the fall 2022 program expansion

Student Eligibility and Income Requirements:

All qualified undergraduate students must be an admitted, enrolled, and matriculated student at Rutgers University–Newark seeking the completion of their first bachelor’s degree. Eligible students must legally qualify for in-state tuition. Only in-state tuition and mandatory fees will be calculated into the RU-N to the TOP Scholarship offer.  Eligible students must qualify for in-state tuition and meet the following student, citizenship, and household income requirements:

Student Requirement

  1. A resident of New Jersey legally qualifying for in-state tuition 
  2. Newly admitted, enrolled and matriculated student for fall 2022 and beyond
  3. Complete financial aid file (federal and/or state), which includes the submission of all requested final aid forms and documentation by the established deadlines.

Citizenship Requirements

  1. Be a U.S. Citizen or U.S. National; or
  2. Be a U.S. permanent resident who has an I-151, I-551, or I-551c (Alien Registration Receipt Card); or
  3. Be a recipient of New Jersey S2479 (the Tuition Equality Act/NJ Dream Act)
  4. Legally eligible for in-state tuition rate

Adjusted Gross Income Requirements

Students must have a household adjusted gross income (AGI) as laid out in the table below:

Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)  Annual Net Cost - Tuition & Mandatory Fees
0-$65,000 $0
$65,001-$80,000 $3,000
$80,001-$100,000 $5,000

A student’s AGI for scholarship consideration is determined by the completion of the FAFSA or NJ Alternative Application. The income responses will be evaluated based on the AGI table above. 

Applying for Financial Aid - U.S. Citizen OR U.S. Permanent Resident  

Consideration for the RU-N to the TOP financial aid program requires the submission of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Need help completing the FAFSA? 

Applying for Financial Aid - New Jersey Dreamers

The New Jersey Alternative Financial Aid Application allows NJ Dreamers enrolled in eligible New Jersey colleges and universities to apply for state financial aid. Consideration for the RU-N to the TOP program requires the submission of the New Jersey Alternative Financial Aid Application. 

Who should complete this application?
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The New Jersey Alternative Financial Aid Application is ONLY for undocumented/DACA students. U.S. Citizens and U.S. permanent residents must complete the FAFSA.  Students can access and complete the New Jersey Alternative Application Financial Aid Application located on the HESAA website. website.

A student must meet ALL of these requirements for New Jersey state aid consideration:

  1. Attended a New Jersey high school for at least three (3) years and
  2. Graduated from a New Jersey high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma in New Jersey and
  3. Registered for Selective Service (male students only) and
  4. Demonstrate financial need and
  5. Be a resident of New Jersey for at least 12 consecutive months immediately prior to enrollment and
  6. Be a full-time undergraduate student enrolled in an approved degree or certificate program
  7. Complete The Rutgers University Tuition Equality Act Application and Affidavit (Rutgers requirement only)
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New Jersey Alternative Application
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  • The NJ Alternative Financial Aid Application must be received by NJ Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (NJ HESAA) by the established deadlines to be considered for state grants and scholarship.
  • Proof of income may be required to validate your award.
  • After application submission, NJ HESAA will contact you via your NJ FAMS account with any updates or requests for additional documentation.
  • Create a NJFAMS account online.
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Male Students - How to Register for Selective Service

Registering with OR without a Social Security Number (SSN)
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Contact - NJ HESAA

Phone Number and Hours + Confidentiality Note
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  • HESAA Customer Care: 1-609-584-4480 or 1-800-792-8670 (English and Español)
  • Hours: Monday-Thursday 8am to 8pm and Friday 8am to 5pm

Please take notice – the New Jersey Alternative Financial Aid Application is a confidential application that is used solely by the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) to qualify students for state financial aid. It is not used for federal financial aid purposes. Information that is shared with HESAA via this application is used only by HESAA and partner colleges, universities, and other state agencies in order to administer grants and scholarships. HESAA will do everything within its authority and jurisdiction to protect the ongoing confidentiality of this information.

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Checklist for Renewing Award Eligibility 

First and Second-Year Eligibility

RU-N to the TOP Scholarship will be awarded to fiirst year and second-year students who have been admitted, enrolled, and matriculated into Rutgers University–Newark for fall 2022 and beyond.  The definitions of a first-year and second-year student are:

  • A first-year is defined as a student who has earned 0-30 credits
  • A second-year is defined as a student who has earned 31-59 credits

Transfer Eligibility

RU-N to the TOP Scholarship will be awarded to a transfer student who has been admitted, enrolled, and matriculated into Rutgers University–Newark for fall 2022 and beyond.  The definition of a transfer student is below:

  • A Transfer student is defined as a student who has been admitted, enrolled and matriculated into Rutgers University-Newark from another college or university and has completed 60 credits or more  (i.e., accepted transfer credits from another institution of higher education, Advanced Placement courses, dual-enrollment programs, etc.).

Newark and Greater Newark

Only first and second-year students from the Cities of Newark, East Orange, Orange, and Irvington will qualify for the RUN to the TOP Residency Support Scholarship.

  • Newark, Irvington, East Orange and Orange residency is determined by the permanent home address submitted on the student’s Admissions application and then confirmed by cross checking against their high school records.
  • Full-time enrollment is defined as enrolled for at least 12 credits per semester
  • Part-time enrollment is defined as enrolled for at least 6 credits per semester
  • A total of six (6) credits of scholarship support for an alternative semester, which is enrollment in a winter or summer semester.  Courses taken in an alternative semester must be taken prior to achieving sixty (60) credit hours  (i.e.: accepted transfer credits from another institution of higher education, Advanced Placement courses, dual-enrollment programs, etc.).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If your questions are not answered in the FAQ’s, please see the contact section for additional guidance.

How long can I receive the RU-N to the TOP financial aid scholarship?
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Award Type: First-Year Student.

  • Semesters of Eligibility: 10 semesters or up to 120 credits, whichever comes first. ALL semesters of enrollment are counted toward the 10 semesters.

Award Type: Transfer Students

  • Semesters of Eligibility: 4 semesters or up to 120 credits, whichever comes first. ALL semesters of enrollment are counted toward the 4 semesters.

If a health or family emergency, or similar good reason, prevents you from completing your degree within your award time limit. Please see appeal process for details.

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Can I use the award to earn a second bachelor’s degree?
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No. RU-N to the TOP is intended to assist students in earning their first bachelor’s degree

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What constitutes a good reason for extending the duration of my RU-N to the TOP scholarship?
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It is impossible to list all cases, which is why the determination ultimately is left to the RU-N to the TOP Committee. The reasons for granting an extension are primarily those that reflect a student’s effort to persist through adversity. These may include gaps in pre-college preparation, the need to work full-time and/or support a family, ill health, or similar unexpected or extenuating circumstances.

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If I am a resident from one of the following Cities: Newark, Orange, East Orange or Irvington, who has some credits from another school, but have not received a degree, how long will I receive RU-N to the TOP award benefits
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  • If you are transferring into Rutgers-Newark with 0-59 credits, you will have 10 semesters or up to 120 credits, whichever comes first.
  • If you are transferring into Rutgers-Newark with 60 credits or more, you will have 4 semesters or up 120 credits, whichever comes first.
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If I transfer schools within Rutgers, do I remain eligible to receive my RU-N to the TOP?
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  • Recipients transferring to another undergraduate school at RU-N remain eligible to receive RU-N to the TOP.
  • Students transferring to an undergraduate program elsewhere within other Rutgers universities or academic schools, including Camden, New Brunswick, School of Nursing, or RBHS, are no longer eligible to receive RU-N to the TOP. 
  • Students matriculating in a graduate program anywhere at Rutgers (including RU-N) are no longer eligible to receive RU-N to the TOP.
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Can I use the RU-N to the TOP scholarship for summer or winter session courses?
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  • Generally, you may not use RU-N to the TOP for summer or winter session courses, though exceptions may be made at the discretion of the Director of RU-N Office of Financial Aid. When such exceptions are made, the summer or winter session for which RU-N to the TOP is used shall count as one of the four (4) or ten (10) semesters of eligibility.
  • Students who are residents of Newark, Irvington, Orange & East Orange with 0-59 credits will be eligible for no more than six (6) credits of funding for summer and winter courses.
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What happens to my RU-N to the TOP scholarship if I withdraw from school?
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If I have to take a semester off, how will this impact my RU-N to the TOP scholarship?
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  • A student may take a semester off, but will need to appeal to evaluate if their RU-N to the TOP award can be reinstated. 
  • The appeal application is available at this link: RUN to the TOP Appeal.
  • Students are required to meet all renewing conditions to have their RU-N to the TOP award reinstated.
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Is there a separate RU-N to the TOP application?
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  • There is no separate application required. Students are reviewed for the RU-N to the TOP award at the time of admittance to the university.
  • Newly admitted students for fall 2022 and beyond will automatically be considered with the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Financial Aid (FAFSA) or the NJ Alternative Application, in the cases of NJ Dreamers.
  • Students who are unable to complete the required financial aid form due to ineligibility will need to complete a paper FAFSA and submit supporting income document to validate their AGI.
  • Students will need to complete the FAFSA or NJ Alternative Financial Aid Application each year by the published state dealine.
  • Renewed eligibility for the RUN to the TOP scholarship will be evaluated based on AGI responses every year based on the completion of the FAFSA or NJ Alternative Financial Aid Application.
  • Students must meet the state deadlines for completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or on the HESAA NJ Alternative Financial Aid Application (for NJ Dreamers).
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I was enrolled at RU-N prior to the fall 2022 semester. Can I receive the expanded RU-N to the TOP scholarship if I meet all of the other conditions of eligibility?
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How is my residency in the Cities of Newark, Irvington, East Orange, or Orange determined?
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Newark, Irvington, East Orange and Orange residency is determined by the permanent home address submitted on the student’s Admissions application and then confirmed by cross checking against their high school records.

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What if I move to Newark, Irvington, East Orange, or Orange after applying to the university?
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  • Newark, Irvington, East Orange, or Orange residency is determined at the time a student submits their Admissions application.
  • Students moving to the Cities of Newark, Irvington, East Orange or Orange between the time of their application and the first day of the semester may submit a letter of appeal to the Office of Admissions via email at: newark@admissions.rutgers.edu
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I am a transfer student with 60 credits or more. What documentation is required to determine my eligibility for the RU-N to the TOP scholarship?
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  • There is no separate application required. Students are reviewed for the RU-N to the TOP award at the time of admittance to the university.
  • If you are a full-time transfer student transferring into RU-N with more 60 credits or more, you will also be reviewed for the Garden State Guarantee Program
  • As part of the admissions process, students must submit their final and official transcripts to the Office of Admissions by the first day of classes in the semester RU-N to the TOP is offered. 
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Do I have to be eligible for the full benefits of the NJ Presidents’ Council Statewide Transfer Agreement (aka “Lampitt Law”) in order to qualify for the RU-N to the TOP award?
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No. RU-N to the TOP is provided to transfer students who are transferring into Rutgers University-Newark with 60 or more credits.

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If I earn a degree from a NJCC after matriculating at Rutgers-Newark (e.g., through “reverse transfer” or after academic dismissal from Rutgers-Newark), am I still eligible for RU-N to the TOP?
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No. Students are reviewed for the RU-N to the TOP award at the time of admittance to the university.

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If I attended another college before applying to Rutgers-Newark, am I still eligible for RU-N to the TOP?
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Yes. It is only prior matriculation at Rutgers-Newark that disqualifies you from RU-N to the TOP.

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Am I required to apply for financial aid every year?
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Yes, students must  completion the Free Application for Federal Student Financial Aid (FAFSA) or the NJ Alternative Application, in the cases of NJ Dreamers and meet the annual state deadlines. Students not meeting the state deadlines may lose eligibility for the program.

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What school charges are covered by the RU-N to the TOP scholarship?
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In-state tuition and all mandatory fees. Mandatory fees for RU-N to the TOP include that include student fee, school fee, and technology fee.

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What charges are not covered by RU-N to the TOP scholarship?
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Optional and variable fees such as the NJ PIRG, Student Health Insurance, housing, dining, out-of-state tuition, specific program fees, offsite instructional support fee, new student fee, individual course fees and summer session fee are not covered as well as miscellaneous fees. 

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If I am in default on a Federal Student Aid Loan, can I receive RU-N to the TOP?
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No. A student who is in default will not qualify for RU-N to the TOP. 

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How do I renew the RU-N to TOP scholarship?
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  • Students must  complete the FAFSA or NJ Alterative Application by all published state deadlines
  • Students must complete their financial aid file by all published state deadlines.
  • Student must register for the appropriate credit load based on their eligibility. 
  • Residents of the Cities of Newark, Orange, East Orange and Irvington and Transfers may elect to be part-time (6-11 credits).   All other students must be enrolled full-time (12 credits or more) 
  • Student must meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy 
  • Students must continue to meet the qualifying AGIs (see AGI table) based on their renewed FAFSA or NJ Alternative Application  
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Do I have to be enrolled full-time to receive the RU-N to the TOP scholarship?
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  • First and second-year students NOT from the Cities of Newark, Irvington, Orange & East Orange must be enrolled full-time (at least 12 credits) to qualify.
  • Residents of Newark, Irvington, Orange & East Orange my elect to be enrolled full-time (at least 12 credits) or part-time (at least 6-11 credits). However, all periods of enrollment are counted towards the ten (10) semesters of eligibility.  Students who are enrolled part-time may lose their scholarship eligibility before achieving their 120 credits.
  • The transfer students admitted with at least 60 credits may elect to be enrolled full-time (at least 12 credits) or part-time (at least 6-11 credits). However, all periods of enrollment are counted towards the four (4) semesters of eligibility.  Students who are enrolled part-time may lost their scholarship eligibility before achieving their 120 credits. 
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How does part-time enrollment affect my RU-N to the TOP scholarship?
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  • Part-time enrollment (6 -11 credits) counts as full semesters towards the award and towards the maximum eligibility. 
  • The program covers part-time transfer students and residents of Newark, Orange, East Orange and Irvington.
  • Please see limitation for details on award maximums. 
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If I am a transfer student who transferred in with 60 or more credits, and I enroll at one of Rutgers Higher Education Centers (the Western Monmouth HEC in Freehold [Brookdale], the North Branch HEC [Raritan], or the Morris HEC) can I receive RU-N to the
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Yes, if you are otherwise eligible and are matriculated at a Rutgers University–Newark school.

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Can I receive RU-N to the TOP as a non-matriculated student?
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No. Eligibility is determined at the point of matriculation.

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If I have taken classes at RU-N as a non-matriculated student, can I receive the scholarship if I am admitted and enroll as a matriculated student in an undergraduate program?
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Yes. You will need to meet the criteria of the program as outlined above.

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If I attended another university (other than Rutgers-Newark) and did not earn a degree and transferred into RU-N, am I still eligible for RU-N to the TOP?
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Yes. You would have been admitted, enrolled and matriculated into Rutgers Univeristy-Newark with 60 credits or more (i.e.: accepted transfer credits from another institution of higher education, Advanced Placement courses, dual-enrollment programs, etc.)

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If I attended another university (other than Rutgers-Newark) after earning a degree from a NJCC, am I still eligible for RU-N to the TOP?
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Yes. Only prior matriculation at RU-N disqualifies you from receiving the RU-N to the TOP scholarship.

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I was enrolled at RU-N prior to the fall of 2022 semester and was a recipient of RU-N to the TOP under the old income requirements. Can I receive the expanded RU-N to the TOP that includes different adjusted gross income eligibility?
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RU-N to the TOP Glossary

Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)
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All taxable income as reported on a U.S. income tax return. For dependent students, only parent(s’)/guardian(s’) adjusted gross incomes are considered, not the student’s income. For independent students, the AGI of the student and spouse, if applicable, is considered.

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Associate Degree
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An undergraduate academic degree awarded by community colleges, bachelor’s degree-granting colleges, and universities upon completion of a course of study usually lasting two years or 60 credits.

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Defaulted (Loan)
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A status of a loan for which the borrower has failed to make a payment when due, or if the borrower violates other terms and conditions of the promissory note. Borrowers who default on federal education loans lose eligibility for further federal student aid, will have their default reported to national credit bureaus, and may have their wages garnished or tax refunds offset by the government.

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Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
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This form is used to determine the amount of money a family is expected to contribute to the price of attending a college. The results of the FAFSA are used in determining student grants, work study, and loan amounts. The online FAFSA at fafsa.ed.gov will guide you through the application process.

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Full-Time Student
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A student enrolled in and attending a minimum of at least 12 credits per semester.

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Lampitt Law
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Lampitt Law is designed to facilitate a smooth transfer from a New Jersey community college to the New Jersey public four-year colleges and universities. The Agreement provides for full transfer of the Associate of Arts (AA) and Associate of Science (AS) degree credits for community college graduates; provided the student plans to enroll in a coordinating major at the upper division college/university, and the student has followed certain recommended guidelines as are posted on NJ Transfer.

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Last-dollar Scholarship
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For the purpose of RU-N to the TOP, a last-dollar scholarship pays the remaining in-state tuition and mandatory fees after federal, state, and external/internal scholarships and grants have been awarded.

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Reversed Transfer
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The transfer of credits from a four-year institution to any two-year institution from which a student transferred.

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Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
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A required measurement of a student's academic progress towards their academic goal. Progress must be measured by both grade-based (qualitative) and time/pace of completion (quantitative) standards. For programs lasting one year or less, SAP must be assessed at the end of each payment period. For programs lasting more than one year, SAP must be assessed annually (corresponding with the end of a payment period). SAP must be measured cumulatively. Additional details are available online on Scarlet Hub.

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Tuition and Mandatory Fees
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Tuition and Mandatory Fees: Tuition and mandatory fees include credit hour charges and institutional fees that are charged to all enrolled students including technology fee, student fee and school fee.  RU-N to the TOP does not cover out-of-state tuition charges, NJ PIRG, student health insurance, fees for online programs, individual course fees, new student fees, summer session fee, offsite instruction support fee, housing, dining, or special program fees associated with specific programs.

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Key Contacts

Blumenthal Hall3rd Floor
249 University AvenueNewarkNJ07102

The Office of Financial Aid can assist with any questions in reference to federal, state and institutional aid.

Contact us by clicking here