New Jersey boasts a large number of higher education opportunities for such a small state. In 2013, more than 618,000 students were enrolled at New Jersey’s 162 colleges and universities, placing the state 15th in the country for number of colleges and 17th for student volume. Not only does New Jersey feature Ivy League options, public research universities, state colleges and universities, community colleges, and private for-profit and nonprofit colleges, but it is also home to a variety of theological seminaries, Bible colleges and other faith-related institutions:
|College Type||Number in New Jersey|
|Private not-for-profit (religious affiliation)||15|
|Private not-for-profit (no religious affiliation)||10|
Top New Jersey College Cities
New Jersey colleges are spread across the state, with the highest concentration of schools found near New York City. Take a look at the landscape of colleges and college students in New Jersey:
Most Popular Cities for College Students (Total)
- Newark (39,400)
- New Brunswick (35,000)
- Jersey City (26,600)
- Paramus (26,400)
- Blackwood (23,000)
New Jersey Cities with the Most Colleges (Total)
- Jersey City (10)
- Newark (7)
- Hackensack (5)
- Clifton (5)
- Cherry Hill (5)
Urban Education: Newark Colleges & Universities
Newark is home to thousands of students pursuing their academic and professional goals, whether full-time or part-time, on-campus or online. The New Jersey Institute of Technology, encompassing the Newark College of Engineering, has its base in the University Heights district of downtown Newark. Also located in New Jersey's largest city, Essex County College focuses on access through initiatives like Sunday class schedules. The college's emphasis on diversity is reflected in its range of disciplines, including associate degrees in liberal arts with options for Spanish Bilingual Studies or Africana Studies. Individuals in search of career skills can find ECC programs for certificates of completion. Broad-ranging courses explore subjects such as entrepreneurship, hip hop business and the entertainment industry, geographic information systems, hospitality management, Italian, medical terminology and meteorology.
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, has a large presence in the city including the Rutgers University-Newark (RU-N) campus, the Rutgers Health Sciences campus and the honors programs offered at the Newark College of Arts & Sciences. RU-N boasts a campus of 38 acres housing 33 buildings and four libraries, where students choose from more than 40 undergraduate majors and 50 graduate programs. Following the Rutgers reputation as a public research university, RU-N researchers investigate challenges ranging from medicine to information technology.
Newark's Online Learning Cityscape
As stated on its website, Essex County College offers flexible education alternatives for students seeking credits toward an associate degree, certificate or personal development. ECC's online courses use the MOODLE learning management platform and follow the school's standard academic calendar. ECC also offers hybrid courses, which blends traditional on-campus meeting time with online studies.
The Rutgers Online initiative allows students at Newark and other RU campuses to pursue a high school diploma, baccalaureate, graduate degree or professional certification. In addition to individual online courses, web-based offerings span undergrad degrees in business administration or labor and employment relations as well as numerous graduate degrees, including a doctorate of nursing practice.
Online Learning in New Jersey
College students who want to take online courses or even earn a complete certificate or degree online have plenty of opportunities in the Garden State. Several for-profit schools have campuses in New Jersey in addition to online education options. Traditional public and private colleges in New Jersey also provide online courses, certificates and degrees as well. For example, many two year schools have distance-learning alternatives at the associate level, while four-year colleges allows students to work toward a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or even a Ph.D. via online or hybrid curricula. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is one example of such school--through Rutgers Online, students can earn a master's degree in a number of fields such as liberal studies, public administration, adult education, and biomedical engineering.
Preparing for College: Tuition, Fees and Cost of Living
When it comes to budgeting for a college education in New Jersey, the biggest expense students incur is tuition. Note that the tuition sticker price can vary according to the school chosen and a student's residency status. In 2012, resident tuition for New Jersey students was about $13,200 per year, making New Jersey the 18th most expensive state for college tuition.
In addition, New Jersey students are usually charged fees by their individual colleges and universities. These costs, which are typically not part of the tuition figure, may include such items as lab fees, health fees and activity fees. In 2012, the total annual charge for New Jersey students averaged $14,630 for tuition + fees.
Tuition and fees may be the main educational expenses, but students must also consider living expenses such as room and board. The average cost of living in New Jersey is 29 percent higher than the national average, likely due to the state’s proximity to New York City. Take a closer look at the cost of living (COL) in the major metropolitan areas of New Jersey, compared to the national average (100):
|Urban Area||Composite Index||Housing||Groceries||Utilities||Transportation||Health Care||Misc.|
In addition to tuition, fees and cost of living, students also need to be mindful of return on investment (ROI). College is an investment in both time and money, meaning that the end result should be as positive and lucrative as possible. A handful of New Jersey colleges offer a very respectable ROI, based on the difference between lifetime earnings and cost of attendance. Here’s how the top New Jersey colleges stack up:
- Stevens Institute of Technology
- Princeton University
- New Jersey Institute of Technology
- Rutgers University – New Brunswick
- The College of New Jersey
Paying for College with Scholarships and Financial Aid
For those hoping to study in New Jersey, there are many ways to bring costs down, whether through a work-study program, a grant from the state or a loan from Uncle Sam. After students complete the FAFSA, the government can determine financial need and allocate assistance accordingly. In 2012, 61 percent of undergraduate students in New Jersey received federal financial aid, placing the state near the bottom of the list for all states.
Students who are committed to controlling the cost of their college education can also apply for scholarships from a variety of organizations. New Jersey students may receive money from their school, the state, and a host of private companies and nonprofit organizations willing to invest in individuals who meet predetermined criteria. Some key entities in New Jersey that offer college scholarships include:
- ARRL Charles Clarke Cordle Memorial Scholarship
- Atlantic Amateur Hockey Association
- Burlington County Mentoring Program
- Construction Management Association of America – Mid-Atlantic Chapter
- Eastern Monmouth Area Chamber of Commerce
- Glamour Magazine
- Higher Education Student Assistance Authority
- Lighthouse International
- National Association of Water Companies – New Jersey Chapter
- New Jersey State Golf Association
- New Jersey Urban Scholars
- NTA New Jersey
- PMI Delaware Valley Chapter
- Portuguese-American Scholarship Foundation
- Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
Postsecondary Accreditation in NJ
For students researching colleges and universities in New Jersey, it’s important to check that schools are accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (https://www.msche.org/) is the regional accrediting association for colleges in New Jersey. Many colleges and universities also hold programmatic or specialized accreditation for specific programs, colleges or departments. For example, dozens of programs at Rutgers hold programmatic accreditation from agencies such as The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, American Psychological Association, American Physical Therapy Association, and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council, depending on the specific program. If colleges or programs lack the proper accreditation, students typically cannot apply for financial assistance.
The Next Step
Students planning to pursue a college education in New Jersey must weigh a number of factors before making their decision, including which school to choose, whether to take courses on campus or online, and how to pay for everything. This page offers a basic overview of what’s involved in the college search, and interested individuals can still dig a little deeper. Browse the profiles below to learn more about the different colleges in New Jersey, including their online courses and programs.
While searching for an online college a student must, of course, consider the school's affordability, but tuition is only one of many important factors. To gain a deeper understanding of online learning in New Jersey, we asked the New Jersey Institute of Technology what made their online offerings special. Read on:
New Jersey Institute of Technology
How would you describe your institution's approach to online learning?
New Jersey Institute of Technology’s approach to online learning started when the university pioneered distance learning. Working in the late 1970s, two NJIT professors created the software, and the teaching methods, used to support some of the first distance-learning classes. In fact, the phrase, Virtual Classroom® was coined and registered as a trademark at NJIT. Since then, NJIT has continued to lead the nation in online learning – both in terms of the technologies used to support the classes and the best ways to teach online.
What makes your online programs so valuable to students?
NJIT’s online programs are student centered. Optimally, online classes turn into virtual-learning communities, in which students interact and learn from each other, and their professors, more than they could in face-to-face classes. Many online classes are taught by professors who are also leading researchers in their fields. Having research professors teach your class assures that you’ll learn the most advanced subject matter in whatever field you chose to study.
Additionally, NJIT’s online tuition rate will reduce the out-of-state graduate student’s tuition, bringing it closer to the in-state rate if all courses in a given semester are online. Because of the online tuition, adults living anywhere in the country, as well as abroad, can afford to earn a certificate or a degree from NJIT. For international students this means that no Visa is required. Out-of-state residents who choose to attend NJIT enjoy not only world-class degree programs but also significant cost and financial advantages over similar universities.
Where do you see your online programs in the next five years?
NJIT will be adding 10 new online Master Degree programs in a suite of Engineering and Technological Disciplines. Corresponding Online Graduate Certificates in high demand areas which are expected to dominate the world of work in the rapidly emerging global economy will also be developed to permit professionals whose only need is to learn the latest and greatest in the fields vs studying towards a full academic degree.
Ranking: Most Affordable Online Colleges in New Jersey
New Jersey takes pride in the number and quality of the online degree programs offered at its colleges. Fully accredited four-year schools, these programs are unsurpassed in the degrees students can earn completely online. Many of these schools match the online requirements and course offerings to those provided on-campus. As a result, distance-learning students have the opportunity to earn the same degrees and certifications as their on-site peers. Often with no difference in professors or core curriculum, these New Jersey online colleges are simply more convenient. In order to aid your search for a flexible online school in New Jersey, we’ve compiled a list of all your options below, ranked according to cost. But, no matter which online college in New Jersey you choose, all offer an excellent higher education.Click here to see our methodology.