Downey Bill to Help Students Facing Hardship Maintain NJ STARS Scholarships Now Law

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TRENTON -- Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Joann Downey concerning student eligibility for NJ STARS scholarships has been signed into law. The law (A-2565) allows NJ STARS and NJ STARS II scholarship recipients to maintain program eligibility in the event that a medical condition, hardship, or recent death of a parent or spouse prevents enrollment as a full-time student.

"We should be removing all obstacles to a higher education not further burdening them with the threat of losing their scholarship while facing a medical condition or a family death," said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "This law protects students in their most vulnerable state and ensures them the opportunity to continue their education under the NJ STARS scholarship program."

Under current law, a recipient of an NJ STARS or NJ STARS II scholarship must maintain status as a full-time student unless on a medical leave or emergency leave or unless called to partial or full mobilization for state and federal active duty as a member of the National Guard or a Reserve component of the Armed Forces of the United States. 

"NJ STARS scholarship recipients have worked hard to get to where they are and deserve every opportunity to succeed in college," said Downey (D-Monmouth) "With this law, students will be supported and reassured during their time of need that their scholarship and place at the school will still be there when they return.

The law provides that a student who receives a scholarship or is already in the program is eligible to take less than 12 credits in a semester if the student presents to the institution at which the student is enrolled a written note from a physician or other licensed health care professional indicating the student's need to take a reduced number of credits due to a physical or mental health condition. A student who receives a medical exemption from the full-time course of study requirement will be eligible for additional semesters in the scholarship program, as necessary. 

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