The Impact of the Garden State Guarantee and Scarlet Guarantee Programs on NJ College Affordability

Good news for in-state college students (and their parents!): Rutgers University continues New Jersey’s commitment to invest in New Jersey college students with its Scarlet Guarantee program, an extension of the statewide Garden State Guarantee program previously launched by Gov. Phil Murphy. These last-dollar tuition assistance programs are going to be hugely impactful to lower income and underrepresented college students in the 2022-2023 academic year and beyond. Not only will they put college educations within reach for thousands of qualified students, but it will allow these students to graduate without the staggering student loan debt that so many of us are still trying to dig out of.

In addition to helping students, these programs will help lighten the load for divorced or divorcing parents who have college-bound children but are finding it difficult or impossible to contribute due to financial constraints.

Here is a run-down of the programs currently being offered for in-state NJ students:

Community College Opportunity Grant (CCOG)

You may have already read about the Community College Opportunity Grant (CCOG) program in my prior blog post. To recap, the program provides last-dollar grants to eligible county college students for those tuition costs and fees not already covered by any other State, federal, and institutional need-based grants and merit scholarships. Students from households earning less than $65,000 or less per year in adjusted gross income are eligible for this program for up to five (5) semesters.

Garden State Guarantee (GSG)

The Garden State Guarantee (GSG) program builds upon the CCOG program, by providing tuition assistance for in-state students attending NJ public colleges and universities for third and fourth years of study. So, after a student completes their study at one of NJ’s community colleges, they can apply to the GSG program to complete their bachelor’s degree at one of NJ’s fine public institutions. This applies to eleven (11) public colleges and universities in NJ[1]. From the website:

Students who have AGIs between $65,001 and $80,000 will pay a discounted net price of no more than $7,500 for tuition and fees. GSG covers the cost of tuition and fees that are not already covered by federal and state financial aid or other scholarships. Students must be enrolled full time (at least 12 credits per semester) and must be working toward completing their first Bachelor's degree.

Scarlet Guarantee (SC)

Rutgers University is taking the GSG program a step further, and (in partnership with the State of New Jersey) is providing the Scarlet Guarantee (SG). While the GSG program applies to third and fourth years of school, the SG program is applicable for the first two (2) years that a qualified, in-state Rutgers student attends school. Eligibility requirements include (but are not limited to) that the student has matriculated and enrolled full-time, as well as be working towards their first bachelor’s degree, and meet the school’s Satisfactory Academic Progress standards.

Students are automatically considered for these programs when they complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or, if they qualify as a NJ Dreamer, the NJ Alternative Financial Aid Application. Applications for the CCOG, GSG, and SG programs can be made through the HESAA website, here.

Remember, the deadline is April 15, 2022!

Please read the State’s or Rutgers’ websites for all of the applicable eligibility requirements for these programs. If you have questions about these programs and how it might impact your family or your family law matter, contact us at Hoagland Longo. Reach out to Andrea Mackaronis at or at 732-545-4717 to schedule a free initial consultation.

[1] Kean University | Montclair State University | New Jersey City University | New Jersey Institute of Technology | Ramapo College of New Jersey | Rowan University | Rutgers University – Camden, New Brunswick, Newark | Stockton University | The College of New Jersey | Thomas Edison State University | William Paterson University