Online Colleges in New Jersey
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The Garden State boasts the second-highest number of bachelor's degree holders, with 45% of its residents possessing a college education (close to 90% graduate from high school). Only Massachusetts, with around 50% of its population completing a bachelor's degree, ranks higher.
New Jersey also made it to the 19th spot in the U.S. News & World Report "Best States Rankings." This report rates all 50 states according to eight main categories and more than five dozen subcategories. In addition to education, New Jersey ranked high for healthcare (#12), opportunity (#10), and crime and corrections (#3).
This guide includes relevant information and data to help you decide if New Jersey higher education supports your academic goals and long-term career objectives. Compare how the state fares in aspects such as in-state and out-of-state tuition rates, spending per student, and financial aid.
Job Outlook for Students With College Degrees in New Jersey
According to 2013 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 18% of all jobs in the country required the completion of at least a bachelor's degree. The Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University projects this number to rise to 23% by 2020, so future job seekers benefit from obtaining an undergraduate degree, regardless of their location. With the sixth-highest four-year college graduation rate in the country, New Jersey remains poised to take advantage of the increasing demand for college graduates in the American workforce.
Although New Jersey's unemployment rate (4.1%) remains higher than the national average (3.7%), it represents the lowest overall rate in the state in more than seven years (since June 2001). Several industries drive the state's economy forward by adding jobs steadily and expanding their presence in the region. These industries include life sciences, information technology, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, and transportation and logistics.
Brick-and-mortar New Jersey colleges have long-offered undergraduate programs in these disciplines. Now, thanks to the continuing advances in digital technology, several accredited New Jersey online colleges and universities offer these bachelor's degrees, as well.
Unemployment Rate, August 2018
Annual Mean Wage, May 2017
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Cost of Online Colleges in New Jersey
As displayed in the table below, students pay higher tuition in New Jersey than the national average, whether they attend a two-year college ($5,040 in New Jersey versus the U.S. average of $3,660) or a four-year university ($14,180 in New Jersey versus the average United States tuition of $10,230).
Institutions that offer both online and on-campus programs often charge similar tuition rates for their courses. However, students can still save money pursuing an online degree since they do not shoulder additional expenses such as housing, transportation, and food.
While there are several cheap online colleges in New Jersey, keep in mind that value may not always indicate a high-quality education. Whether you choose to enroll in an online or on-campus program, make sure the program or the college or university offering the program maintains regional or national accreditation from an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
The Office of the Secretary of Higher Education of the State of New Jersey also maintains an updated list of accredited colleges and universities operating throughout the state, giving college-bound online or onsite students plenty of academic options.
Average Price for In-State Tuition and Fees by Institution Type, 2018-19
|Public Two-Year||Public Four-Year|
Source: The College Board
In-State vs. Out-of-State Tuition in New Jersey
Out-of-state college students typically pay 150% more in tuition than in-state students. As seen in the chart below, in-state students attending a public university pay $10,230 in tuition, while out-of-state students (who may attend the same college) pay $26,290 in tuition. In New Jersey, out-of-state students pay almost twice the tuition shouldered by in-state enrollees ($26,430 and $14,180, respectively). This disparity corresponds to in-state students paying taxes that support the school systems in their home state, while out-of-state students do not.
Only public colleges and universities, institutions that receive some type of funding from the state government, maintain two-tier tuition systems. Private nonprofit schools charge out-of-state and in-state enrollees the same tuition and fees. Some schools charge nonresident online students the same tuition as their resident students, while others do not, so make sure to clarify the policies of your prospective schools on this matter. This specific expense can make a significant difference in the bottom-line cost of your college education.
Average Tuition and Fees, 2018-19
|Public Two-Year||Public Four-Year|
Source: The College Board
Financial Aid in New Jersey
As the cost of college education continues to rise throughout the country, both federal and state governments continue to seek out solutions that place a college degree within reach of their residents. When it comes to funding college education in the United States, each student should begin by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
The government, student aid offices, and private scholarship programs all use the information you include in the FAFSA to determine how much student aid you may receive. Financial assistance comes in the form of grants, scholarships, student loans, and work-study programs, all of which can help reduce the out-of-pocket cost of your college education.
New Jersey spends $1,340 on state grant aid per full-time undergraduate student, sitting at 170% higher than the U.S. average spending of $790, as seen in the chart below. In addition, New Jersey remains one of only 10 states to allocate 20% of their funding to student aid. This data displays New Jersey's commitment to supporting the higher education goals of its students.
State Grant Aid per Full-Time Equivalent Undergraduate Student, 2016-17
Source: The College Board
Scholarships and Grants for New Jersey College Students
The sticker price for a college education in New Jersey hovers above the average price for the rest of the country, whether you attend a public four-year institution as an in-state or out-of-state student. However, the state provides its students with several funding options that can considerably lower the cost of a college degree. Read on for 10 of these opportunities below.
Who Can Apply: A mentoring and scholarship program, Give Back selects future college scholars from as early as ninth grade. The program partners students with mentors who work with them until high school graduation and assist applicants with college admission.
Amount: Covers tuition, fees, room and board
Who Can Apply: Applicants must belong to the top 5% of their class at the end of their junior year of high school and reside in economically-challenged communities designated by the program.
Who Can Apply: Launched in September 2018, this program provides funding for students enrolled in at least six credits in the participating community colleges throughout the state. Students must possess adjusted gross incomes of no higher than $45,000.
Amount: Award amounts include tuition and approved educational fees not covered by applicant's other available funding sources
Who Can Apply: This scholarship program gives preference to women and minority students pursuing degrees or certificate programs in the construction field or a closely-related discipline.
Amount: $2,000 per year or up to the cost of tuition
Who Can Apply: A need-based financial aid program, TAG accepts applications from New Jersey residents enrolled full-time for approved degrees in participating states or private institutions.
Amount: Up to the cost of tuition
Who Can Apply: This program welcomes New Jersey residents between the ages of 16 and 23 who have experienced Child Protection & Permanency placements. Each applicant must maintain current enrollment in a degree or certificate program at an accredited institution.
Who Can Apply: This program considers New Jersey junior or senior high school students who belong to the top 15% of their class. Recipients must enroll in at least 12 credits hours each semester in their home county colleges.
Amount: Cost of tuition, up to 18 hours per semester
Who Can Apply: Former NJ Stars recipients can apply for this program. Each applicant must possess an associate degree from an NJ county college, a 3.25 GPA, and acceptance to a four-year NJ institution participating in the New Jersey TAG program.
Amount: Up to $1,250 per semester
Who Can Apply: Eligibility exists for children and surviving spouses of New Jersey emergency service workers, firefighters, or law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.
Amount: Free tuition at any New Jersey public college or university
Who Can Apply: This program grants education benefits to children and surviving spouses of New Jersey residents who died on September 11, 2001, or from complications of an illness contracted by being exposed to the attack sites.
Amount: Up to full tuition, fees, and room and board
Best Majors for Online Students in New Jersey
New Jersey added 68,500 private sector jobs from October 2017-October 2018. The professional and business services sector created the most jobs (25,800), followed by the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (17,700). Education and health services produced the third highest number of jobs, generating 10,300 employment opportunities for New Jersey residents.
The professional and business services sector includes jobs that provide administrative, managerial, scientific, and technical support services. College majors that prepare students for jobs in this sector include business, computer science, or finance. The trade, transportation, and utilities sector usually employ graduates with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees.
The education and health services sector remains a broad field, open to students with varying undergraduate concentrations including nursing, teaching, and occupational therapy. Some of the best online colleges in New Jersey offer degrees in these and several other related disciplines.
Bachelor of Science in Computer ScienceA versatile degree, a computer science program prepares students for jobs such as computer systems analyst, database administrator, computer programmer, and information security analyst. It also provides an excellent foundation for advanced studies in the field, which can lead to managerial and top-level technology support positions.
Bachelor of Science in NursingThe country's nursing shortage provides BSN graduates with plenty of professional options, especially in a state like New Jersey which has 76 hospitals, more than 360 nursing homes, and at least 50 hospices. BLS projects an 18% growth in healthcare occupations through 2026 and a 9% growth for jobs in the education and training sectors.
Bachelor of Science in EngineeringThose with bachelor of science in engineering degrees face several career opportunities in New Jersey's transportation, logistics, and distribution center industry. The state's location along the northeast corridor makes it a major hub for transportation facilities, moving $2 trillion in merchandise each year. Engineers, including civil engineers and transportation specialists, help make this transfer of goods and people safe and efficient.
Resources for Online College Students in New Jersey
Higher Education Student Assistance Authority: HESAA's website provides financial aid information, higher education news, and policy announcements for college-bound students and their parents, school counselors, and administrators of financial aid programs. Students can create an account on the site to help organize their data, making it easy to retrieve and submit.
NJ Transfer: This website assists students transferring from a community college in New Jersey to a four-year college or university (also in New Jersey). They can explore majors offered by the participating schools, courses that fulfill both associate and bachelor's degree requirements, and updated contact information for all participating colleges and universities.
Office of the Secretary of Higher Education: Students, professors, school administrators, and other stakeholders can turn to this website to find out current information about the state of higher education in New Jersey, including the latest scholarship and grant programs, policy changes and development, and regional or state-wide higher education initiatives.
Troops to College Program: This site provides veterans with relevant information designed to help them transition to college life, including certificate and degree programs offered by the participating New Jersey colleges and universities, benefits and services for veterans in each school, and funding options.
Virtual Academic Library Environment of New Jersey: VALE exists as a consortium designed to enhance the learning process and improve the research capabilities of students throughout the state by establishing a collaborative approach to the use and application of information resources. To date, VALE comprises 53 state college and university libraries, LibraryLinkNJ, and the state public library system.