NJ STARS to Shine at CCC


By Dr. Kenneth L. Ender, President

The State of New Jersey’s recently adopted operating budget created an exciting new program for high school students throughout New Jersey - and in Cumberland County. The state budget funded a new program, titled New Jersey STARS (Student Tuition Assistance Reward Scholarships) that provides New Jersey’s brightest high school students with free tuition at their local community college.

The top 20 percent of each high school class in the state may participate in NJ STARS, which begins this fall.

In Cumberland County, more than 300 recent high school graduates qualify for this program. Each of these students has been contacted by Cumberland County College, and an informational seminar was conducted last night.

We are very excited about NJ STARS.

Think about the implications of this program. Our county has already embraced the School Counts! program, which enables high school graduates - beginning with the class of 2005 - the opportunity to earn a free scholarship to Cumberland County College by attending school regularly, making C grades, taking rigorous courses and graduating in eight consecutive semesters from high school.

Now with NJ STARS, students graduating in the top 20 percent of their class can qualify for free college scholarships to earn a two-year associate’s degree.

So, it should be possible, through multiple paths, for all students in Cumberland County who want to attend college to do so, at no cost to themselves or their families.

This is a fantastic opportunity.

Make no mistake about it. Anyone participating in the 21st century economy is going to need post-secondary education to assure that a middle-class lifestyle is attainable. This does not necessarily mean a bachelor’s degree, but it certainly requires skills and competencies beyond the high school curriculum. This education is now available for all who earn it.

So to high school students: Make good grades, develop good work habits, and you can assure your success. We hope to see many STARS at Cumberland County College this fall.