Houghtaling and Downey Bill to Preserve NJ STARS Scholarship For Students in Need Clears General Assembly

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Assembly legislation sponsored by Monmouth County Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey to maintain NJ STARS scholarship eligibility for students who suffer a medical condition or death of a loved one has cleared the General Assembly. The bill received unanimous approval, and would preserve scholarship eligibility for NJ STARS and NJ STARS II recipients in the event of tragic circumstances that prevent enrollment as a full-time student.

"We as legislators should be doing all we can to encourage residents wishing to further their education, and we can do that by standing with them in their time of need," said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth), "This legislation would allow students to continue their education even after unforeseen circumstances occur."

Under current law, recipients of NJ STARS or NJ STARS II scholarships must maintain status as a full-time students unless on medical leave, emergency leave, or due to partial or full mobilization as a member of the National Guard. In order to ensure that students facing circumstances that prevent full-time enrollment do not lose eligibility, this bill (A2565) would allow eligible students to take less than twelve credits in a semester due to a physical or mental health condition, or due to the death of a parent or spouse.

"We have Monmouth University right in our district, as well as countless students attending colleges all over New Jersey. We have to advocate for these students, and make sure that they have every opportunity to get the education they deserve," said Downey (D-Monmouth), "This legislation would do the right thing by helping these students follow their dreams."

The legislation was approved by the Assembly 71-0 and now awaits further consideration by the Senate.

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