Free College FAQ

Do I need to live in New Jersey?

Yes, all applicants to the CCOG program must live in the state of New Jersey.

How does a student apply for CCOG?

All students must complete and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the New Jersey Alternative Financial Aid Application to apply for all available forms of federal and state need-based grants and merit scholarships by September 15, 2019. The student must satisfy all requirements to determine his or her eligibility to receive payments of these state and federal grants and scholarships within established state deadlines.

The FAFSA can be completed at www.fafsa.gov.

New Jersey Dreamers should complete the New Jersey Alternative Financial Aid Application at https://www.hesaa.org/Pages/NJAlternativeApplication.aspx.

If a student already submitted their FAFSA or Alternative Application but missed the original April 15, 2019 deadline, do they need to reapply?

No, as long as their application is submitted by September 15, 2019, they will be considered for the Community College Opportunity Grant for Academic Year 2019-2020.

What are the Adjusted Gross Income requirements?

To be eligible for CCOG Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) must be no less than $0 and no more than $65,000. • For a dependent student, the AGI refers to parental AGI as reported on the financial aid application. • For an independent student, AGI refers to the AGI reported on the financial aid application for the student and, if applicable, the student’s spouse.

If a student is not enrolled full-time, are they eligible for Community College Opportunity Grant funding?

Any student enrolled for a minimum of 6 credit hours may be eligible for this funding. Funding is available for a maximum of 18 credit hours.

If a student chooses to attend an out-of-county college, is that student eligible for a CCOG award?

Funding is available for out-of-county enrollment as described below:

(a) CCOG is available for eligible students enrolled in the student’s home county college.

 (b) The sole exceptions in which students are eligible for CCOG awards at a county other than the student’s home county college is where the student attended an approved out-of-county program following the procedure set forth in the Policies and Procedures.

(c) In cases where the student is eligible for a CCOG award at a county college other than the student’s home county college, the award amount shall be computed as though the student were a resident of the county served by that college.

Are students eligible for CCOG if they are taking remedial courses?

A student is considered eligible for State financial aid, including CCOG, provided s/he meets the institution’s published definition of part-time to full-time enrollment in accordance with N.J.A.C. 9A:9- 2.10 Verification of Enrollment and Academic Performance.

TAG recipients who are required to enroll in remedial, bilingual, and/or developmental courses to increase the probability of success in college-level work may not be receiving credit toward a degree for these courses. These students are, however, considered eligible for TAG and CCOG if they meet the institution’s definition of part-time or full-time enrollment.

Are students eligible for CCOG if they are in a dual enrollment program?

Students who are in a dual enrollment program while still in high school are not eligible for CCOG. CCOG recipients must be matriculated county college students who have earned a high school diploma or GED.

Do students have to meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements?

To remain eligible for State financial aid, including CCOG, students must meet the minimum standards for academic performance and progress as defined by the college or university in the institution’s catalog.

To determine eligibility for State financial aid, including CCOG, HESAA recognizes the same standards for academic performance and satisfactory academic progress an institution adopts to determine eligibility for Federal student aid programs under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, and its implementing regulations and rules.

For purposes of CCOG, students must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress in the academic year immediately prior to receiving an award. Each institution is required to monitor academic progress at least once a year, prior to the fall semester. Institutions may not credit a student’s account if it has been determined that a student is not making satisfactory progress.

What fees are acceptable to be paid under the CCOG award?

Listed below are the categories of educational fees approved for payment under CCOG, and the types of non-educational fees that are not eligible for CCOG payment.

Approved Educational Fees:

  • General Fees
  • Registration Fees
  • Facility Fees
  • Technology Fees o Lab Fees
  • Program/Course Fees, including fees for coursework in nursing, culinary, and other career and technical education programs o Student Activity Fees

Non-Educational Fees that are not covered by CCOG

  • Books (purchase or rental) o Equipment/Supplies/Uniforms (purchase or rental)
  • Insurance/Health Fees
  • Application Fees
  • Library Fees o Online access fees
  • Late Fees
  • Fines
  • Testing/Portfolio/Audit Fees
  • Licensing/Certification Fees
  • Criminal Background Check Fees
  • Parking Fees
  • Gym/Fitness Fees
  • Aviation/Flight Time Fees
  • Change Fees
  • Graduation/Diploma Fees
  • Transcript Fees
  • International Fees
  • Out-of-state Fees
  • Curriculum Review Fees
  • Payment Plan Fees

How will a student be notified of eligibility of the CCOG award?

The New Jersey county college the student attends shall notify the student of eligibility as part of the financial aid award information, as well as any supplemental methods the college determines appropriate. Such notification by the county college will include the amount of the CCOG award.

What happens if the student feels they were eligible but did not receive the award?

If for any reason a student, his or her family, or an institution feels that the application of these policies results in an unfair determination of eligibility, an appeal shall be filed with the Authority within 60 days of initial notification of eligibility or ineligibility for the CCOG award. All appeals shall be in writing, and if appropriate, shall include any supporting documentation. Appeals shall be addressed to the Director of Grants and Scholarships in the Authority, PO Box 540, Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0540 or submitted electronically, and shall contain the student's full name, NJHESAA ID number, college of attendance, and a description of the basis for the appeal. The Director of Grants and Scholarship will respond with the Authority's final determination of the appeal within 30 days of the Authority’s receipt of the appeal.