Why go to College in New Jersey?
New Jersey is an ideal location for college students because the state features a variety of recreation, entertainment, and historic locations of interest. Students can visit Revolutionary War sites, including Fort Lee and the Red Bank Battlefield, or tour inventor Thomas Edison’s home. New Jersey also contains 11 lighthouses, nine National Parks, and a portion of the Appalachian Trail. The New Jersey Pinelands was the nation’s first National Reserve; it is also designated as an International Biosphere Reserve and features one million acres of wetlands and forests. Approximately 700 arts organizations, including music, dance, and theater groups, are located in the state. The Jersey Shore has 130 miles of coastline, and Atlantic City is famous for its many casinos, including Caesars and the Golden Nugget. New York City is also close enough for sightseeing trips and weekend getaways.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 8.94 million people reside in New Jersey. Its population increased 1.7% between 2010 and 2016. It is also the most densely populated state in the nation. Newark is the state’s most populous city, with Jersey City coming in second.
New Jersey is located on the East Coast of the U.S. and is one of the Mid-Atlantic States. Its climate varies depending on the region; for example, the clime in the Kittatinny Mountains in the northwest is quite different from the coastal zone on the Atlantic Ocean. The state experiences four distinct seasons and has an average precipitation of 43 to 47 inches each year. Snow can fall from October or November until April (source: Office of the NJ State Climatologist, Rutgers University).
- Number of Higher Learning Institutions
The state has 207 postsecondary education institutions. This includes public and private colleges and universities, community colleges, and technical institutes that prepare students for specific careers, such as dental and cosmetology schools.
- Sporting Events
As a close neighbor of New York, New Jersey is the home base for the New York Jets and New York Giants NFL teams, both of which play at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford. The New York Red Bulls MLS team plays in Harrison, and the New Jersey Devils NHL team is based in Newark. There are also many opportunities to attend minor league baseball games statewide – four teams call the state home.
From Atlantic City to Asbury Park to Newark, there is always something to do in New Jersey. The state’s many bars, restaurants, comedy clubs, dance clubs, casinos, and amusement parks offer opportunities to spend time with friends and meet new people.
What Options are Available for Colleges in New Jersey?
A variety of public and private two- and four-year higher education institutions are located in the state, offering students many opportunities for on-campus college experiences in New Jersey. Students seeking to integrate their living and learning environments may enjoy this type of setting. Communities are built within dormitories, libraries, coffee shops, and outdoor recreation areas, providing students with chances to forge friendships with their peers and build relationships with their professors. On-campus life also affords students the opportunity to join arts groups, sports teams, student government, and hundreds of other types of clubs and organizations.
Students attending online colleges in NJ enjoy the convenience of pursuing a degree program according to their own schedule. Most programs are taught asynchronously, which allows students to login at their convenience to access course material, review lectures, participate in message boards, and submit assignments. However, some courses and programs may feature synchronous elements. Online programs are ideal for students who work and/or have families and require extra flexibility while earning an education.
To be successful, students in online programs must be able to work independently. Diligence in meeting deadlines and participating in class discussions is also necessary because grades are often based largely on participation. Some programs offer a cohort learning model, which groups students together for the duration of their coursework and promotes a shared educational experience.
Certain degree programs at online schools in NJ offer hybrid opportunities. The majority of coursework in these programs can be completed online, typically asynchronously, but a portion of classes must be taken on campus. These in-person requirements may include lectures or labs. Some colleges provide weekend options or special week-long courses during the year. This helps make the on-campus component more manageable for students because they can integrate these requirements into their work and family schedules without having to commit to regular visits. Students interested in enrolling in a hybrid program at an online college in NJ should take the location of the school into consideration.
Popular Degree Programs in New Jersey
Most New Jersey residents are employed in jobs dealing with trade, transportation, and utilities. Careers in education, health services, and professional and business services are also popular. Because the state is home to numerous higher education institutions, healthcare facilities, and businesses, it is unsurprising that the following majors are among the most popular for New Jersey students.
Statistics and Decision Science
This major explores how people make decisions as both individuals and groups by studying psychology, philosophy, statistics, and calculus. Students in this major typically pursue master’s or doctorate degrees in the field. The findings of decision science scholars influence a variety of industries, from medicine to business management.
Business Management and Administration
Students majoring in business management and administration learn a range of skills to prepare them for leadership positions. This includes accounting, finance, human resources, marketing, and communication. Students also learn about business and how to best motivate and interact with their team members.
Best Online Colleges in New Jersey for 2017
Selecting the right college is one of the most important decisions you can make for your future. This undertaking can feel overwhelming, so we’ve simplified part of the research process for you. The following information should make it easier to compare online colleges in New Jersey. This ranking details the state’s best online colleges, including some of the characteristics that make each school unique. It should make it easier to see what makes these online schools in NJ special, how their degree programs work, what they cost, and which ones best match your educational goals.
Rutgers University-New BrunswickNew Brunswick, NJ
Admissions Rate 58%
Default Rate 5%
Retention Rate 93%
Graduation Rate 80%
Online Enrollment 4%
Though physically based in New Brunswick, Rutgers offers the university's rigorous academic programs to students throughout the country. Several fully online, asynchronous programs are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Undergraduates can pursue bachelor's degrees in nursing, business administration, or labor relations. Master's degrees are also available in liberal studies, public administration, and social work.
On top of its other graduate-level programs, Rutgers offers master's and doctoral degrees in education in areas such as language education, adult and continuing education, and music education. Graduate admissions requirements vary by program. Some programs require GRE or GMAT scores. Undergraduate applicants should submit transcripts, essays, and test scores. In-state and out-of-state students pay the same tuition rate.
Rowan UniversityGlassboro, NJ
Admissions Rate 71%
Default Rate 5%
Retention Rate 86%
Graduation Rate 67%
Online Enrollment 7%
A leader in online education, Rowan offers 30 fully online or hybrid academic programs. Live instruction in the hybrid programs takes place at the university's Camden or Glassboro campuses. Online undergraduate programs include bachelor's degrees in construction management, law and justice studies, and nursing. A number of master's and doctoral programs are also offered in areas such as finance, special education, and educational leadership.
Students use the latest multimedia tools including audio, video, and discussion boards technologies that are managed through eLearning platforms. Most programs have three start dates in the fall, spring, or summer. Applicants should submit their undergraduate or graduate transcripts. In-state and out-of-state online students pay the same per-semester hour tuition rate.
Seton Hall UniversitySouth Orange, NJ
Admissions Rate 76%
Default Rate 4%
Retention Rate 84%
Graduation Rate 63%
Online Enrollment 5%
Renowned throughout the country since 1856 as a leading Catholic university, Seton Hall is also well known among online colleges in New Jersey for offering a variety of online graduate degree and certificate programs. Students can pursue master's degrees in accounting, business administration, adult gerontology, and non-profit management. A unique certificate program in post-conflict state reconstruction and sustainability is also available.
While specific admissions requirements vary by program, all applicants should have earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and must submit transcripts that showcase a GPA of at least 3.0. GMAT or GRE scores are generally required but may be waived if a student has relevant work experience. All students pay the same per-credit tuition rate regardless of state residency. Financial aid is available to qualified applicants.
Stockton UniversityGalloway, NJ
Admissions Rate 64%
Default Rate 6%
Retention Rate 87%
Graduation Rate 73%
Online Enrollment 2%
Stockton is one of several online schools in New Jersey to offer both fully online and hybrid class options. While a majority of programs are available entirely online through the Blackboard learning platform, some classes have occasional face-to-face meetings at the university's Galloway campus. Online students must also attend a mandatory on-campus orientation.
New undergraduates should submit SAT scores, high school transcripts, AP scores, and an essay. Graduate applicants should have completed their bachelor's degree and must submit transcripts and letters of recommendation. Transfer students with GPAs of 2.0 or higher are also welcome to apply. New Jersey residents receive discounted tuition.
Montclair State UniversityMontclair, NJ
Admissions Rate 70%
Default Rate 5%
Retention Rate 83%
Graduation Rate 66%
Online Enrollment 2%
Montclair State in New Jersey offers a number of online graduate and certificate programs for working professionals and distance learners. Montclair is distinctive among online colleges in New Jersey for its master of fine arts in dance. The two-year hybrid program is designed for working mid-career dance professionals. Students in this innovative program take on-campus classes for four weeks every summer, but complete the majority of their coursework online during the rest of the academic year.
Other notable programs at Montclair include its master's degrees in child advocacy, business administration, and sustainability science. In-state and out-of-state students pay the same per-credit tuition rate and may qualify for financial aid. Applicants to Montclair's graduate programs must have earned a bachelor's degree. An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher may exempt some applicants from GRE requirements.
Rider UniversityLawrenceville, NJ
Admissions Rate 69%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 64%
Online Enrollment 4%
Though physically located in Lawrenceville, Rider's online undergraduate and graduate degrees are accessible from anywhere. Rider offers bachelor's degrees in nursing, business administration, health studies, and psychology. Its graduate degree offerings include a master of arts in athletic leadership, a master of accountancy, and a master of business administration.
Students in Westminster's online programs can also earn an online certificate in critical pedagogy and enroll in a number of unique two-month-long seminars. Rider is especially accommodating to transfer students. Applicants can gain admission and a generous scholarship by participating in a special "Transfer Tuesday" event. All applicants should fill out the online application and submit transcripts.
Caldwell UniversityCaldwell, NJ
Admissions Rate 64%
Default Rate 9%
Retention Rate 82%
Graduation Rate 64%
Online Enrollment 4%
Caldwell offers a host of online graduate programs, including master's degrees in educational administration, higher education, and business administration. The school also offers an affordable RN to BSN completion program for registered nurses. All programs are delivered entirely online in an asynchronous format for maximum flexibility. Some degrees are available in an accelerated format, with classes offered in eight-week-long sessions throughout the calendar year.
To apply, students should complete the online applications and submit transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution. Caldwell awards up to 90 transfer credits. Due to regulations, online courses are not open to residents of California, Florida, and Massachusetts. The university is located in Caldwell, New Jersey. Tuition is the same regardless of state residency.
Fairleigh Dickinson University-Metropolitan CampusTeaneck, NJ
Admissions Rate 80%
Default Rate 6%
Retention Rate 74%
Graduation Rate 49%
Online Enrollment 7%
Fairleigh Dickinson has the distinction of serving as New Jersey's largest independent university. It offers two fully online undergraduate degrees: an associate of arts in liberal studies and bachelor of arts in individualized studies. Both degrees are taught asynchronously. Designed as a degree completion program, the bachelor's degree allows up to 90 credits to be transferred in from another accredited institution. The associate degree also accepts up to 30 transfer credits. Classes are delivered in 10- to 12-week terms.
Applicants should submit transcripts along with their online applications. Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis, and there are four start dates throughout the year: September, January, April, and July. The school's metropolitan campus is located in Teaneck. In-state and out-of-state residents pay the same tuition for online classes.
Saint Peter's UniversityJersey City, NJ
Admissions Rate 67%
Default Rate 9%
Retention Rate 81%
Graduation Rate 55%
Online Enrollment 2%
Saint Peter's is known among online schools in New Jersey for infusing its distance programs with a rich Jesuit tradition. The university offers two fully online undergraduate programs: the bachelor of science in business administration and the RN to BSN program. The university also offers an Ed.D. and master's degree in higher education, both of which are taught in a hybrid format.
Admissions requirements vary by program, but all programs require transcripts from prior institutions. Graduate applicants must submit GRE or GMAT scores. Prospective students wishing to pursue the Ed.D. must have earned a master's degree. Transfer students are welcome to apply to all four programs. The Ed.D. accepts up to nine transfer credits, while the RN to BSN program requires students to have earned an associate degree. Tuition is the same for all online students.
Centenary CollegeHackettstown, NJ
Admissions Rate 87%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 78%
Graduation Rate 59%
Online Enrollment 2%
Centenary is proud that its professors and administrators know every student by name. This personal attention is extended to online students, who are able to enroll in a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs. Notable degree programs include the associate degree in business, bachelor's degree in business administration, and the accelerated master's degree in business administration. The school also offers certificates in health administration, leadership, and social media marketing.
Applicants should submit transcripts from prior institutions. Bachelor's degree applicants should be at least 20 years old and have one year of work experience. Graduate applicants must have earned a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 2.5. In-state and out-of-state students pay the same per-credit tuition rate. The university's campus is located in Parsippany.
How We Ranked the Schools
To determine the best programs, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the best online master’s in management information systems programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.
Education Trends in New Jersey
Education spending and tax structuring vary by state. New Jersey spends less on each of its full-time postsecondary students than the national average and allocates much less of its tax revenue to higher education than the U.S. average. However, it is important to understand that states have differing tax rates and tax sources (e.g., income, property, sales, services, and/or lottery taxes). New Jersey residents are more educated than the average U.S. resident; a significantly higher percentage of them hold an advanced degree.
|New Jersey||United States|
|Source: SHEEO and U.S. Census|
|Postsecondary Education Spending per Full-Time Student||$5,766||$6,954|
|Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education||3.6%||5.8%|
|Percentage of adults over 25 with associate degree||6.3%||8.1%|
|Percentage of adults over 25 with bachelor’s degree||22.8%||18.5%|
|Percentage of adults over 25 with graduate degree or higher||14.0%||11.2%|
Paying for College in New Jersey
When researching New Jersey colleges, it’s crucial to understand their financial impact on your future. Tuition prices are just one piece of the higher education financial puzzle. It is important to also consider college fees, books, supplies, rent, transportation, food, and all of the other living costs you’ll have to cover while enrolled in school. Financial aid opportunities should be prioritized when looking at colleges. It is also prudent to be diligent about pursuing a variety of funding sources, including scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study options.
Attending college in New Jersey is more expensive relative to most other U.S. states. Tuition rates are significantly higher than the U.S. average, as noted below. In addition to tuition, you’ll have to budget for a range of other costs, from books and supplies to living expenses and transportation.
Regardless of the state where you go to school, you should research and apply for a variety of financial aid. After completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you should have a complete understanding of the options available to you. Federal-, state-, and employer-funded grants are ideal because they don’t have to be repaid. Additionally, many public and private scholarships are available based on your degree program, academic/athletic talent, financial need, heritage, life experiences, etc. Federal, state, and private loans are also an option, and work-study opportunities can be used to further supplement a student’s funding.
Cost for Online Programs in New Jersey
If you elect to attend an online college in New Jersey, you have the same financial aid options as on-campus students. Distance learners should complete the FAFSA and apply for suitable grants, scholarships, and loans. While tuition for online programs tends to be comparable to that of on-campus programs, the overall cost for a degree is typically less. This is because online students don’t incur the same costs of living, transportation, book, and supply fees that on-campus students experience. Attending an online school in NJ is a relatively affordable option, and the cost can be significantly alleviated by financial aid opportunities.
Cost of Living by Region
Many college graduates pursue careers in the cities where they attended college. This is important to keep in mind as you look into possible degree programs. It’s also helpful to do some research about the cost of living in the cities and regions where you may attend school. These costs can impact your financial requirements and lifestyle during your studies.
Scholarships for New Jersey College Students
- AAA South Jersey Scholarship Program
$5,000; must be a high school senior in Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester, or Salem counties in New Jersey and entering a two- or four-year accredited educational institution.
- Architects League of Northern New Jersey Scholarship
$2,000; must be a high school student residing in Bergen, Hudson, Passaic, or Sussex counties in New Jersey and accepted into a NAAB accredited architecture program at a U.S. college.
- Bernard Kilgore Memorial Scholarship
$5,000; must be graduating from a New Jersey high school, have a minimum GPA of 3.0, have participated in journalism for at least two years in high school, and be pursuing a degree program in journalism or media studies.
- Betsy Niles Scholarship and Missy’s Miracle Scholarship
$5,000 each; must be a high school senior and resident of New Jersey. Applicants must also have a personal experience with (or have a relative who experienced) organ/tissue donation or transplantation or be an “awareness advocate.”
- Builders League of South Jersey Scholarship Foundation
$2,000; must reside or attend school in Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, or Salem counties in New Jersey and be entering a construction or real estate degree program (this includes heating, air conditioning, plumbing, and CAD drafting).
- Hellenic University Club of Philadelphia Undergraduate Scholarship
varies; must reside in Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, or Salem counties in New Jersey and be of Greek heritage or pursuing a Greek studies major.
- Janet Logan Daily Foundation Scholarship
$10,000 over four years; must be a New Jersey resident and high school senior who has worked approximately 30 hours per week during summer vacations (since the student was 16 years old), have a minimum 2.5 GPA, and participate in an extracurricular activity.
- Melissa Anne Centrella Scholarship Foundation
varies; must be a New Jersey resident, have a minimum 3.0 GPA, be an active volunteer, and be entering a degree program in nursing, medicine, or medical technology.
- Monmouth Civic Chorus Vocal Scholarship
varies; must be a high school senior and resident of New Jersey. A vocal audition is also required for application.
- National Association of Water Companies New Jersey Chapter Scholarship
$2,500; must be a five-year resident of New Jersey and a high school senior or college student with a minimum 3.0 GPA who is attending/planning to attend a New Jersey higher education institution. Applicants must also be interested in the water utility industry.
- New Jersey Educational Opportunity Fund
varies, up to $2,500; must be a New Jersey resident (for at least 12 consecutive months), demonstrate financial need, and be accepted in a degree program at one of the 41 participating New Jersey higher education institutions.
- NJ STARS (Student Tuition Assistance Reward Scholarship) Program
$12,500; applicants must be a New Jersey high school junior or senior ranked in the top 15% of their class and be enrolling full-time at a community college in their home county.
- New Jersey State Golf Association Caddie Scholarship
$3,000; must have caddied a minimum of two seasons at a NJSGA club, be able to demonstrate financial need, and have a high GPA and SAT scores.
- The Governor's Urban Scholarship Program
$1,000; must be a resident of Asbury Park City, Camden City, East Orange City, Irvington Township, Jersey City, Lakewood, Millville City, Newark City, New Brunswick City, Paterson City, Plainfield City, Roselle Borough, Trenton City, or Vineland City in New Jersey (for at least one year). Applicants must also have a minimum GPA of 3.0 at the end of their junior year of high school or rank in the top 5% of their class and be enrolled in a degree program at a postsecondary institution in New Jersey.
- Young Christian Leaders Scholarship
$1,000; must be a permanent resident of New Jersey and a high school senior or undergraduate student with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Applicants may be attending college in another state but must be active in their home church.
Can all Scholarships be Used for Online Programs?
Most scholarships can be applied to any and all degree programs, whether they are on-campus or online colleges in NJ. However, it is important to inform scholarship sponsors that you are an online student and ask about any additional requirements. You should be sure to only apply for scholarships that you are eligible for.
Employment Outlook in New Jersey
Students who select an on-campus or online college in New Jersey have a variety of employment opportunities available to them after graduation. As outlined in the data below, the unemployment rate in the state is slightly lower than the U.S. average, and the annual mean salary is significantly higher. New Jersey is home to many healthcare, education, and private institutions that employ thousands of people. However, the trade, transportation, and utilities industry employs the greatest number of New Jersey residents.
|New Jersey||United States|
|Source: BLS and BLS|
|Unemployment Rate, May 2017||4.1%||4.3%|
|Annual Mean Wage, May 2016||$56,030||$49,630|
Top Employers and Industries in New Jersey
Top Industries in New Jersey
- Trade, Transportation, and Utilities: This industry includes several types of employers related to trade, from retail stores and wholesalers to warehousing and transportation of goods. Utility companies, such as natural gas, sewage removal, and water supply, also fall within this sector.
- Education and Health Services: New Jersey has more than 200 higher education institutions and almost 100 hospitals. Along with elementary and secondary education and other health services organizations, recent graduates of related degree programs have a variety of opportunities for employment. This is a BLS-labeled “supersector” industry.
- Professional and Business Services: This industry is also considered a “supersector” by the BLS because it includes so many different types of jobs. These are all service-related jobs, including legal, advertising, engineering, computer systems design, scientific research, accounting, and bookkeeping.
Top Employers in New Jersey
- RWJ Barnabas Health: 31,683 employees
- Rutgers University: 29,336 employees
- Johnson & Johnson: 13,996 employees
Accreditation for Colleges in New Jersey
College accreditation is important to understand when researching college degree programs. Accreditation provides assurance that an educational institution and/or its specific programs meet quality standards. There are six regional accreditation agencies in the U.S. that grant accreditation to colleges and universities. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognizes these and other accreditation agencies in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education. They publish a list of accredited institutions.
Regional accreditation is generally considered to be more prestigious than national accreditation. However, national accreditation is appropriate for certain schools that offer career training programs, as well as Bible colleges. Transferring credits between regionally- and nationally-accredited schools can be challenging; keep this in mind when researching schools.
If you’re interested in pursuing your degree through an online school in New Jersey, be sure to review each college’s accreditation credentials; attending an unaccredited school makeS it harder to secure employment or go on to pursue an advanced degree. Checking the history of each school’s accreditation and making sure that they are accredited by CHEA-approved organizations provides peace of mind that schools aren’t “degree mills” and are legitimate options.
Resources for Students in New Jersey
- Higher Education Student Assistance Authority: HESAA provides New Jersey students with educational and financial resources for college. It is the only state agency with this mission and offers need- and merit-based scholarships, grants, and loans. HESAA also works with students to pursue federal funding sources and offers information to families about the financial aid opportunities available to them.
- State of New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education: This state office gathers data about higher education institutions, manages the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement for online schools in New Jersey, and oversees the Educational Opportunity Fund for students who require additional financial aid not covered by the Tuition Aid Grant Program (managed by HESAA).
- New Jersey Higher Education Resources: This state-operated web portal allows users to research higher education institutions, employment opportunities, and quality of life facts, in addition to other information related to living and working in New Jersey.
- Inventory of Program Offerings at New Jersey Colleges and Universities: This is a helpful research tool for identifying degree programs at New Jersey’s higher education institutions. You can search by the degree level and program sector.
- New Jersey’s Troop to College Program: This program connects veterans with the resources required to enter a college degree program at one of New Jersey’s 31 public institutions or one of the 12 participating independent institutions. It offers guidance about the GI Bill, Yellow Ribbon Program, and other benefits.
- The New Jersey Council of Community Colleges: This organization assists New Jersey’s 19 community colleges by providing leadership and giving suggestions for improving services and degree programs. It also manages the community college portion of the NJ Stars tuition grant program. Students researching online schools in New Jersey should be sure to review this site.
- New Jersey State Library: This library is affiliated with Thomas Edison State University and services all of New Jersey’s libraries and government employees. Individual residents are also able to register to borrow books and materials.