We know financing your education can be a challenge. That’s why Rutgers-Newark offers an affordable education that includes scholarships, grants, and generous financial aid programs to ensure our students have low debt upon graduation.
At Rutgers University-Newark, we work with you to build an affordable education package. Our team of financial aid professionals is ready to help you realize your goal of a Rutgers degree. Through scholarships, grants, loans, and student employment, a Rutgers University-Newark education is possible.
The Rutgers University-Newark Talent and Opportunity Pathways program, or RU-N to the TOP, is a financial aid program that provides a “last-dollar” scholarship, meaning that this scholarship will cover the cost of in-state tuition and mandatory school fees after all federal, state, and internal/external scholarships and grants have been applied. The scholarship program starts for students entering Rutgers University-Newark for the first time in Fall 2016.
Who is eligible for the RU-N to the TOP Scholarship?
In order to be eligible for the RU-N to the TOP scholarship, a student must be in one of the following categories:
- Be a U.S. Citizen or U.S. National
- Be a U.S. permanent resident who has an I-151, I-551, or I-551c (Alien Registration Receipt Card)
- Be a recipients of New Jersey S2479 (the “Dream Act”)
In addition, students must meet both the student and the income requirement:
- All qualified students must be an admitted, enrolled, matriculated student at Rutgers University-Newark seeking the completion of their first bachelor’s degree, starting no earlier than the Fall 2016 semester; and
- Meet one of the following requirements:
- Be a resident of the City of Newark NJ, or
- A graduate of a New Jersey County College (NJCC)
Income Requirement Eligibility:
Student must have a total household income of $60,000 or less. Household income will be determined by your responses to the questions about your and your parents’ and/or spouse’s income reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The online FAFSA at fafsa.ed.gov will guide you through the application process.
Is there a separate RU-N to the TOP scholarship application?
There is no separate application that is required for the RUN to the TOP Program. All qualified students will need to be admitted and enrolled no earlier than the Fall 2016 semester to meet the eligibility requirements (stated above), and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Financial Aid (FAFSA) to be evaluated for the scholarship.
I was enrolled at RU-N prior to the Fall 2016 semester. Can I receive the scholarship if I meet the other conditions of eligibility?
Conditions of eligibility for the RUN to the TOP program include being admitted and enrolled no earlier than the semester in which you apply for the program. Therefore, students admitted prior to the Fall 2016 semester are not eligible for this program. All students are strongly encouraged to contact the Office of Financial Aid (OFA) to work with their counselor to devise an educational finance plan that best addresses their educational costs and financial aid package.
Newark Residency Questions:
How is my residency in the City of Newark determined?
Newark residency is determined by the home address submitted on the student’s Admissions application to the university and confirmed by cross checking against high school records.
What if I move to the City of Newark after applying to the university?
The RU-N to the TOP program requires students to be residents of the City of Newark as of the first day of the first semester of enrollment at Rutgers-Newark as a matriculated student. Students moving to the city between the time of their application and the first day of the semester may request a review of their residency status with the Office of Admissions.Transfer Student Questions:
What is used to determine whether I’m a graduate of a New Jersey County College (NJCC)?
All graduates of NJCCs shall be determined by the final official transcript that the NJCC sends to the Rutgers-Newark Office of Admissions. In order to be eligible, this final transcript must be received prior to the first day of the first semester in which you’ll be enrolled as a matriculated student.
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 TOP Scholarship as a NJCC graduate?
No. AAS recipients or other non-AA/AS associate degree recipients of NJCCs who are admitted to RU-N also are eligible.
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 TOP?
No. If you are not a resident of Newark, and you matriculate at RU-N before you earned an associate’s degree, you are not eligible for the RU-N to the TOP scholarship.
If I’m a Newark resident, or earn a degree from a NJCC, and attended another college before applying to RU-N, am I still eligible for TOP?
Yes. It is only prior matriculation at RU-N that matters for eligibility.
If I’m neither a United States citizen, nor a permanent resident of the United States, am I eligible for TOP?
If you are an undocumented student, including DACA, follow these steps:
- Complete and submit the Affidavit for Nonresident Tuition Exemption for Eligible New Jersey High School Graduates.
- In order to be considered for a TOP scholarship, the Office of Financial Aid will need to review your total household income. To accomplish this, we ask that all students file a FAFSA. Students with a valid Social Security Number can complete the online FAFSA. All other students should complete a paper version of the FAFSA. The paper FAFSA should be submitted directly to the Office of Financial Aid.
- Assistance with completing the FAFSA is available online. Students may also schedule an appointment with the Office of Financial Aid for one-on-one advisment.
Financial Aid and Funding Questions:
Why do I need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Financial Aid (FAFSA)?
All students who wish to be considered for this scholarship will need to complete a FAFSA to show that they meet the income total household criteria of $60,000 or less and to be evaluated for any state or federal financial aid programs for which they may qualify.
How will Rutgers-Newark determine my household income?
Household income will be determined by your responses to the questions about your and your parents’ and/or spouse’s income reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
What costs are covered by the RU-N to the TOP Program?
The scholarship covers the cost of in-state tuition and all mandatory fees: campus, school, and computer fees. Optional and variable fees such as the NJ PIRG fee, the Student Health Insurance fee, or individual course fees are not covered.
How does the “last-dollar” scholarship work?
A last-dollar scholarship funds any remaining in-state tuition and mandatory fees costs after federal, state, and internal/external scholarships have been applied. The scholarship will not exceed the actual in-state tuition and mandatory fees charged by Rutgers University-Newark.
Do I need to file a FAFSA each year in order to continue receiving the scholarship?
Yes. While you will not lose the scholarship if your household income rises above $60,000 after your first year, we need to have an official record of that income for assessment and other purposes. You will need to file a FAFSA by June 1 each year and also complete all required federal and state verification by August 1 in order to remain eligible.
Do I need to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for Federal financial aid to continue receiving the scholarship?
Yes. If you do not meet SAP, you must comply with the terms of your current academic contract to continue to receive Federal financial aid and remain eligible for TOP. Those who do not meet SAP, and either do not complete, or do not adhere to, an approved academic plan, will no longer receive the scholarship. However, if you later come to meet SAP, your TOP scholarship may be reinstated.
If I’m in default on a Federal student loan, can I receive the scholarship?
No. A student who is in default on a Federal Student Loan will not qualify for the TOP Scholarship. If you are currently in default for loans taken out at a prior institution, you are encouraged to defer your admissions until you can make the payments required to come out of default. If you default on a Federal student loan after matriculation at RU-N, you may be reinstated for the scholarship when you no longer are in default.
Must my household income remain at $60,000 or below for the duration of the scholarship in order to remain eligible to receive it?
No. Federal or state aid policies may require us to verify your household income at various points. However, if your household income meets the eligibility requirements in your first year, then you will remain eligible to receive it in future years as long as you remain otherwise eligible.
Limitations of Scholarship
Can I use the scholarship to earn a second bachelor’s degree?
No. If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you cannot use TOP to earn a second one. This program is intended to assist students in earning a first bachelor’s degree.
Can I receive the scholarship as a non-matriculated student?
No. Eligibility is determined at the point of matriculation.
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?
Yes. For example, Newark residents who have taken dual enrollment courses through RU-N, or who have transferred to RU-N from NJIT after having taken RU-N courses through cross-registration, qualify. The same holds for students who enrolled at a NJCC after having taken dual enrollment courses through RU-N in high school.
If I attended another university (other than Rutgers-Newark) after earning a degree from a NJCC, am I still eligible for TOP?
Yes. Again, it is only prior matriculation at RU-N that matters for eligibility.
How long can I receive the RU-N to the TOP scholarship?
Entering first-year students may receive the scholarship for up to four years (or eight semesters) of enrollment. Entering NJCC graduates may receive the scholarship for up to two years (or four semesters) of enrollment. If a health or family emergency, or similar good reason, prevents you from completing your degree within your scholarship time limit, you may appeal in writing to the Director of the RU-N OFA for an extension.
What constitutes a good reason for extending the duration of my TOP scholarship award?
It is impossible to list all cases, which is why the determination ultimately is left to the discretion of the Director of the RU-N OFA. 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.
How do I submit an appeal?
Prepare a statement in writing that explains why you feel that you deserve an extension. This statement should be submitted directly to the Office of Financial Aid for review and a determination.
Do I have to be enrolled full-time to receive the scholarship?
No, but semesters of part-time enrollment count as full semesters towards the award and towards the maximum eligibility, so frequent part-time enrollment may cause you to lose eligibility for TOP before you can earn enough credits to graduate. A limited number of extensions may be granted to the term of the scholarship for students who have good reason to enroll part time, but this still may not be enough to enable them to receive the scholarship through to graduation. Students who believe they may qualify for extensions should confirm with the Director and staff of RU-N OFA in advance where possible.
If I’m a City of Newark resident, who has some credits from a NJCC, but have not earned an associate’s degree, how long will I receive scholarship benefits?
Your scholarship will be prorated at a rate of one semester for each full 15 credits that you transfer in towards your degree.
If I transfer schools within Rutgers, do I remain eligible to receive the scholarship?
It depends on the school. Recipients transferring to another undergraduate school at RU-N remain eligible to receive the scholarship. Students transferring to an undergraduate program elsewhere within other Rutgers universities or academic schools (including the Camden, New Brunswick, School of Nursing, or the School of Health Related Professions) or matriculating in a graduate program anywhere at Rutgers (including RU-N) are no longer eligible to receive the scholarship.
If I’m 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 the scholarship?
Yes, if you are otherwise eligible and are matriculated at a Rutgers University–Newark school.
Can I use the scholarship for Summer or Winter Session courses?
Generally, no, though exceptions may be made at the discretion of the Director of RU-N OFA. When such exceptions are made, the Summer or Winter Session for which the scholarship is used shall count as one of the four or eight semesters of eligibility.
RU-N to the TOP Glossary
Associate’s Degree: 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.
Full-Time Student: A student enrolled in and attending a minimum of at least 12 credits per semester.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): 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.
Last-dollar Scholarship: 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.
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, or special program fees associated with individual courses.
Defaulted (Loan): 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.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP): 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.
Lampitt Law: 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.
Reversed Transfer: The transfer of credits from a four-year institution to any two-year institution from which a student transferred.