Low-income students who receive state-funded college tuition grants will see an increase of about 2 percent in the maximum Tuition Aid Grant for 2013-14, the state Higher Education Student Assistance Authority, which manages the program, announced Wednesday.

The award amounts were adopted by the HESAA board and approved by Gov. Chris Christie, who cited their importance in making college affordable for thousands of students each year.

Maximum TAG awards for students attending community colleges in New Jersey will be $2,578.

The maximum TAG will be $6,822 for students attending the state public colleges and $10,562 for students attending the state public research universities.

The Press of Atlantic City could not confirm with HESAA Wednesday that the public research universities would include Rutgers University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rowan University equally for 2013-14. In 2012-13 Rutgers recipients got a maximum $9,104 and NJIT students got $10,318. Rowan just became a research institution July 1.

Rowan University spokesman Joe Cardona said they have hoped that their students would be eligible for the larger grant, but he also could not confirm Wednesday whether that had been approved.

Students attending private colleges in the state would received a 3.5 percent increase to a maximum $11,958.

Part-time community college students would also see an almost 2 percent increase to $644 for half-time students and $966 for three-quarter time students.

The state has allocated about $350 million for TAG awards in the 2013-14 school year.

To be eligible for TAG funds, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, plus complete four New Jersey specific questions included with the application.

For students who may also need loans, HESAA announced in June that the interest rates for many NJCLASS loans would be lower for 2013-14.

The rate for the 10-year loan will drop from 6.15 percent to 5.49 percent; the 15-year loan will drop from 7.05 percent to 6.65 percent; and the 20-year loan will remain the same at 8.05 percent. Borrowers who already applied at last year's higher rate would get the lower interest rate.

More information on the loans is available on the HESAA website, njclass.org

Contact Diane D'Amico:


Tuition aid grants

The maximum award for the 2013-14 academic year:

NJCLASS loan rates

Source: N.J. Higher Education Student Assistance Authority