NJ Alternative Application FAQs
What is it?
The NJ Alternative Application is an application immigrant students may use to apply for state financial aid for college and higher education under New Jersey's new financial aid law. It is an alternative to the FAFSA.
Am I eligible?
To be eligible, you must:
- have attended a high school in New Jersey for three or more years; AND
- graduate from a New Jersey high school, or attain the equivalent of a high school diploma in New Jersey (for example, a GED); AND
- register as an entering student or be currently enrolled in a New Jersey public or
independent institution of higher education; AND
- NOT be a U.S. citizen, green card holder or eligible noncitizen (i.e. you can be undocumented or a DACA recipient to apply); AND
- register with Selective Service (if male); AND
- file an affidavit with your college stating you will file an application to legalize your immigration status as soon as you are eligible to do so.
What institutions are eligible?
See this list for institutions where enrolled students can qualify for NJ state aid programs.
I was eligible when I graduated high school, but Dreamers/undocumented students couldn't access state aid then. Am i eligible now?
Yes! Your eligibility will vary from program to program, but you are eligible for the main state aid program: Tuition Aid Grants (TAG). Note that no form of financial aid is retroactive--you can't ask for support to cover time you've already spent in a degree program. So if you're heading into your second year of a degree, you can apply for funding for the coming year, but can't receive anything for the year you've already completed.
What do i need to apply?
You need to apply online using the NJ Alternative Application form. To complete this form, you should have the following information ready to go:
- Your (or your parents', if you're a dependent) 2016 tax information or other proof of income. If your parents did not file taxes, other proof of income (pay stubs, W-2, disability payments, etc.) should be used instead.
- If your parents filed jointly in 2016, you'll need an estimate of how much each parent made separately.
- Your high school ID number, which you can find on your high school transcript.
- Your Social Security number, if you have one. If not, you can use an ITIN (individual taxpayer identification number). If you don't have either a Social Security number or ITIN, you can still apply!
- Your NJ driver's license, if you have one. Only use a license from NJ to apply.
How do i apply?
Once you have these documents handy, you can apply online. If you'd like, you can look at a sample application here. But remember: you MUST submit the actual application online; you can't use the paper copy! Once you submit the application, make sure to choose the option to send a copy to yourself and save it for your records.
What happens after i submit my application?
You can log on to NJFAMS to see the status of your application after it's been processed. NJFAMS is HESAA's online portal where you can track the status of your application, see if any information is missing, and access information about your grants and scholarships. You will see a checklist on NJFAMS that lists any additional documents you need to submit to the state to support your application. This could include a worksheet of your household's monthly expenses or a tax transcript, which you can request from the IRS. If you get to this point and aren't sure what to do, contact us for help! Call or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or 908-967-3478.
You should also take a look at other state aid programs and see if you qualify for any of them! Tuition Aid Grants require only the NJ Alternative Application, but other programs may have additional eligibility or application requirements that you'll need to review carefully. However, all require the NJ Alternative Application, so by filing that, you've already taken the first step toward qualifying for programs other than TAG!
What is the affidavit?
This is a document provided by your college or university that you sign. It confirms that, if at some point in the future you have the chance, you will legalize your immigration status as soon as possible. If you can't find your college's affidavit online, reach out to your college/university and ask them for the form. You can file this affidavit at any time before the first academic year or semester for which you applied for state aid.