RU-N to the TOP Program

In This Section

Overview: Fall 2016 - Spring 2022

This overview is for students entering Rutgers University-Newark as a new student from Fall 2016-Spring 2022.

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. This program solidifies 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 first-year students from the City of Newark and or transfer students from New Jersey’s County Colleges (NJCC).

The RU-N to the TOP program provides a “last-dollar” financial aid award that covers the cost of in-state tuition and mandatory fees. The award 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.

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 qualify for in-state tuition and meet the following student, citizenship, and household income requirements:

Student Requirement

  1. Be a resident of the City of Newark, NJ; or
  2. Be a graduate with an associate degree from a New Jersey Community College (NJCC)

Citizenship Requirement 

  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)

Household Income Requirements

  1. Students must have an household adjusted gross income (AGI) of $60,000 or less
  • Household income is determined by the student’s responses reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or on the HESAA NJ Alternative Financial Aid Application (for NJ Dreamers).
  • Students selected for federal and/or state verification will need to submit additional documentation to validate their reported income.
  • The online FAFSA at fafsa.ed.gov or the HESAA NJ Alternative Financial Aid Application will guide you through the application process.

Download Fall 2016 - Spring 2022 PDF

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).

Required Deadlines for RU-N to the TOP

All students must adhere to the following deadlines: 

Fall Enrollment

June 1  – Complete and submit the Admissions Application and the FAFSA or NJ Alternative Financial Aid Application

August 1  – Complete all financial aid requirements/requests for documentation

Spring Enrollment

December 1 – Complete and submit the Admissions Application and the FAFSA or NJ Alternative Financial Aid Application

February 1  – Complete all financial aid requirements/requests for documentation

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 award 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.  

Application Website: https://www.hesaa.org/Pages/NJAlternativeApplication.aspx

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 at https://njfams.hesaa.org.
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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

  • 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.

Checklist for Renewing Award Eligibility 

  • File the FAFSA or the NJ Alternative Financial Aid Application.
  • Meet all established deadlines and financial aid requirements. See deadline for details.   
  • Meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). See glossary for additional details.
  • NJCC - final and official transcript must be received by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions prior to the first day of the first semester in which the scholarship is being offered.
  • Be registered at least halftime (6 credits or more).

Currently Enrolled Appeal Process

Students who have been notified that their scholarship will not be renewed may submit an appeal for reconsideration. All appeals are reviewed by the RU-N to the TOP committee for final determination. All decisions are sent to a student’s email via the RU-N4Success (R4S) platform. Appeal submissions must be received by 11:59 pm on January 31, 2022 for consideration.

RU-N to the TOP Spring 2022 Appeal

If you have any appeal questions, please contact the Director, Office of Financial Aid, Natalia Morisseau at natalia.morisseau@ofa.rutgers.edu

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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

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

  • Semesters of Eligibility: 8 semesters or up to 120 credits, whichever comes first. ALL semesters of enrollment are counted toward the 8 semesters.

Award Type: First Year with Transfer Credits.

  • Semesters of Eligibility: Prorated up to 120 credits, whichever comes first.

Award Type: NJCC Transfer Student.

  • 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 financial aid award?
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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 City of Newark resident, who has some credits from a NJCC, but have not earned an associate degree, how long will I receive RU-N to the TOP award benefits?
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RU-N to the TOP is prorated at a rate of one semester for each full 15 credits that are transferred and accepted by the university.

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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 award 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 or eight semesters of eligibility.

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What happens to my RU-N to the TOP award if I withdraw from school?
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  • The RU-N to the TOP award will be adjusted according to the university's official refund schedule.
  • Details on the university’s refund schedule is available at https://studentabc.rutgers.edu/withdrawals
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If I have to take a semester off. How will this impact my RU-N to the TOP award?
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  • A student may take a semester off, but we 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: https://rutgers.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6Jz6cI5zsxRKRrn
  • Students are required to meet all renewing conditions to have their RU-N to the TOP award.
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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.

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I was enrolled at RU-N prior to the fall of 2016 semester. Can I receive the RU-N to the TOP award if I meet all of the other conditions of eligibility?
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No. Students must have been admitted in the fall of 2016 or after to be considered for RU-N to the TOP.

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How is my residency in the City of Newark determined?
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Newark 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 the City of Newark after applying to the university?
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  • Newark residency is determined at the time a student submits their Admissions application.
  • Students moving to the City of Newark 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 graduate of a NJCC. What documentation is required to determine my eligibility for the RU-N to the TOP award?
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Students must submit their final and official transcripts notated with the degree and graduation date 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 as a NJCC graduate?
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No. AAS recipients or other non-AA/AS associate degree recipients of NJCC's are eligible.

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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. If you matriculated at RU-N before you earned an associate degree, you are not eligible for RU-N to the TOP.

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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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I am required to apply for financial aid every year?
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Yes, all students must annually apply for financial aid by completing the FAFSA or NJ Alternative Application by stated deadlines.

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What school charges are covered by the RU-N to the TOP award?
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In-state tuition and all mandatory fees. Fee that are included are the technology, student, and school fees. 

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What charges are not covered by RU-N to the TOP award?
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Optional and variable fees such as the NJ PIRG, Student Health Insurance, or individual course fees are not covered.

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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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When renewing my RU-N to the TOP award, does my household income need to be at $60,000 or below?
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No. The household income for RU-N to the TOP is determined during the first semester of eligibility.

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Do I have to be enrolled full-time to receive the RU-N to the TOP award?
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No. Students may be enrolled at least halftime, which is the equivalent of (6) credits.

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How does part-time enrollment affect my RU-N to the TOP award?
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  • Part-time enrollment counts as full semesters towards the award and towards the maximum eligibility. 
  • Please see limitation for details on award maximums. 
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If I am a NJCC graduate, 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 TOP?
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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?
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 award.

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RU-N to the TOP Glossary

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 at https://financialaid.rutgers.edu/eligibility/academic-progress.

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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. TOP does not cover out-of-state tuition charges, fees for online programs, housing, dining, or special program fees associated with individual courses.

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Financing Your Education 

How Do I Apply for Financial Aid?
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Our team of financial aid professionals is ready to help you realize your goal of a Rutgers University-Newark degree. Through scholarships, grants, loans, student employment, and convenient payment plans, a Rutgers education is available and accessible.

Financial Aid

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Need More information on financing your education?
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We offer a wide variety of resources that includes federal, state, institutional and private financial assistance. Our Financial Aid professionals are available to guide and support you during all phases of your collegiate life from application to graduate

Financing Your Education Info here

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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