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More than 85,000 New Jersey students attending in-state colleges received financial aid this year, a 12% increase from last year, the state announced last week.

The Higher Education Student Assistance Authority said the increase in assistance is due in part to the state’s Tuition Aid Grant program, as well as the free community college grant and the expansion of aid to New Jersey Dreamers, both in 2019.

“Opening access to higher education to our state’s residents is not only a focus of our State Plan for Higher Education but also a key to strengthening our economy,” said Zakiya Smith Ellis, New Jersey secretary of higher education. “The success of New Jersey’s students in attaining post-secondary credentials will enable them to contribute further to the state’s progress.”

New Jersey financial aid data from the fall 2019 semester show:

70,872 students received TAG awards totaling $226 million.

2,353 students received $3.8 million in New Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Reward Scholarships (NJSTARS).

7,610 students received CCOG awards totaling $9.7 million.

6,065 part-time students at county colleges received $4.5 million in part-time TAG awards.

353 students received Governor’s Urban Scholarships totaling $178,000.

57 students received $141,500 in World Trade Center Scholarships.

Two students received a total of $14,000 in Survivors Tuition Benefit Scholarships.

Eight students received $117,000 in Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Scholarships.

517 students received NJBEST Scholarships totaling $685,000.

Pinelands awarded anti-vaping grant

The Pinelands Regional School District was awarded a Take Vape Away grant for $2,800 from the Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation Fund at the Community Foundation of New Jersey.

With this grant, the district plans to provide ongoing education to students on the dangers of vaping through its health curriculum and school wide activities. Additionally, the grant will support vape sensors in all bathrooms and locker rooms.

During the 2018-19 school year, 75 students were sent out for a chemical screening, 69 were in possession of a vaping device and 43 were caught vaping. On multiple occasions, students were removed from the school via ambulance due to an adverse reaction from vaping.

EHT students win honorable mention in C-SPAN contest

Egg Harbor Township High School students Timothy Medina and Nardeen Saleep are honorable mention winners in C-SPAN’s 2020 StudentCam competition. Medina and Saleep will receive $250 for the documentary “The Wage Gap.”

Each year since 2006, C-SPAN partnered with local cable television providers in communities nationwide to invite middle and high school students to produce short documentaries about a subject of national importance. This year, students addressed the theme, “What’s Your Vision in 2020? Explore the issue you most want presidential candidates to address during the campaign.”

Nearly 5,400 students from 44 states and Washington, D.C., participated.

“StudentCam provides a platform for young people to have their voices heard on the issues they are clearly passionate about,” said C-SPAN Director of Education Relations Craig McAndrew. “This year’s entries reflect remarkable research and production values and feature a wide range of interviews with elected officials and experts. The life skills students learn from this experience will carry them forward in their academic, personal and professional lives.”

Medina and Saleep are among 330 students from across the country winning a total of $100,000.

High school students competed on a regional level, with the United States divided into three regions: West, Central and East. Middle school students were judged on a national basis. The grand prize winner was selected nationally among all regions and grade levels.

The 150 winning videos can be viewed at

Applications open for Four Star Leadership 2020 summer program

Four Star Leadership with Gen. Tommy Franks is accepting applications and nominations for its leadership program that provides selected students the opportunity to earn scholarships, meet influential leaders and help prepare for their futures.

The program will be held July 12-17 in Oklahoma for 70 of the top-performing high school students from around the world. This opportunity is valued at more than $4,000 and is free for selected students, including expenses, travel and programming.

Students will be housed on the campus of Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond, Oklahoma, where they will meet and engage with national and international leaders including elected officials, dignitaries and championship-level athletes.

In addition, students will be confronted with practical leadership and ethical scenarios and challenged to address them individually in a persuasive speech and writing competition.

Applications and nominations for Four Star Leadership 2020 are being accepted through April 20. School advisers, coaches, scouting leaders and directors of youth programs are encouraged to nominate young leaders in their organization.

For more information on the program, to nominate a student or to apply, visit

Contact: 609-272-7251

Twitter @clairelowe

Staff Writer

I began covering South Jersey in 2008 after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism. I joined The Press in 2015. In 2013, I was awarded a NJPA award for feature writing as a reporter for The Current of Hamilton Township.

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