How to Pay for Rutgers University: Aid and Student Loan Options

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If you got your acceptance letter, take some time to celebrate — because next up is figuring out how to pay for Rutgers University.

You might be put off by the price tag, but affording the school will seem more possible once you review scholarship and grant opportunities, the Rutgers payment plan and federal and private student loans. Let’s look at the two main issues:

Rutgers University tuition and cost of attendance

A state university in New Jersey, Rutgers has a main campus in New Brunswick and two more locations in Camden and Newark. More than 71,000 students attend school at these campuses, including 50,000-plus undergraduates.

With college costs that are above average nationally and for the Northeast, however, Rutgers isn’t the cheapest way to earn an undergraduate degree.

Annual cost of attendance, including living on campus
In-state undergraduates $28,482
Out-of-state students $45,264

However, these numbers don’t reflect what students pay out of pocket for their degrees. The average annual price at Rutgers is $20,623 after grants and scholarships are applied, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard.

Using 2017-2018 data, the school reported that 74% of new undergraduates receive financial aid — and the average offer is $18,661. Still, your Rutgers award letter might include student loans that need to be repaid with interest.

How to pay for Rutgers University

When it comes to figuring out how to pay for Rutgers University, help is available.

Students can tap a wide range of resources to help manage their costs. If you’re a Rutgers student or hope to be one soon, you’ll want to take advantage of these programs to pay for college. Here’s where to start.

Rutgers scholarships and grants

Students can explore how to pay for Rutgers University with the help of gift aid specific to the university or the state, such as New Jersey grants for college.

Here are five standout scholarships and grants available to Rutgers students:

Opportunity For Benefit Requirement
1. Bridging the Gap Rutgers-Camden students Cover up to 100% of costs not covered by need-based aid Family’s adjusted gross income below $100,000
2. Tuition Aid Grant Full-time undergraduates in New Jersey Up to $9,848 per year for Rutgers Residency and financial need
3. NJ Stars II Rutgers transfers who hold an associate’s degree from a state county college Up to $1,250 per semester Grade point average (3.25) and family income (below $250,000)
4. Rutgers Future Scholars Program Would-be first-generation college graduates currently attending the 7th grade in Camden, Newark, New Brunswick, Piscataway and Rahway school districts Four years of free tuition Academic performance and financial need
5. Rutgers University-Newark Talent and Opportunity Pathways Program Residents of Newark and associate degree-holders from a state county college Covers any gaps in costs after all other scholarships and grants are taken into account Family’s adjusted gross income below $60,000

Rutgers students also can apply for merit-based scholarships. Each Rutgers campus has its own list of merit-based scholarships that can help high-achieving students cover their college costs.

Finally, Rutgers University’s financial aid office curates a list of private scholarships from other sources that could be a good fit for its students.

Rutgers tuition payment plan

A Rutgers tuition payment plan could make your college costs easier to manage and help you avoid student debt. It allows students or their families to pay college costs in smaller installments instead of big lump-sum payments.

Here’s an overview of the features of a Rutgers payment plan:

  • You can pay over a year or semester.
  • You can choose to pay over several installments, from two to 12.
  • The plans are interest-free.
  • Enrolling is easy and can be done by completing an online form.
  • There’s a one-time enrollment fee of $50.

Unfortunately, the Rutgers payment plan wasn’t available as of April 20, 2020, but the school said it was working toward activating it for the fall 2020 semester.

On-campus student leadership has groused about the Rutgers payment plan in the past. If you’re a prospective student, compare tuition payment plans at other schools, if that’s a make-or-break feature for your situation.

Federal student aid at Rutgers

Submitting your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an essential part of figuring out how to pay for Rutgers University. The FAFSA will help you access federal student aid.

  • Federal Pell Grants are offered to students with demonstrated financial need. The grants can provide up to $6,345 in funds for the 2020-21 school year.
  • A Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant can offer between $100 and $4,000 to students based on their financial need.
  • Federal Work-Study, used by the federal government to partially reimburse employers for wages paid to participating students, allows you to earn money through a part-time job.

Your FAFSA is also used by the state of New Jersey, Rutgers and other organizations to evaluate you for other grants, scholarships and student aid.

File your FAFSA early, before Rutgers’ FAFSA filing priority deadline, to make sure you’re eligible for these programs. For the 2021-22 academic year, the priority deadline is Dec. 1, 2020 for incoming Rutgers students or Jan. 15, 2021 for returning students.

Student loans at Rutgers

Depending on your eligibility for grants and scholarships a tuition payment plan may not be enough — you might need to borrow money to pay for some of your costs at Rutgers. Just over half of Rutgers graduates (49%) have federal student loans, per the Department of Education’s College Scorecard.

Some student loans will cost less than others. One of the first sources to turn to is federal student loans. Submitting your FAFSA could help you access the following federal student loans for undergraduates:

  • Direct Subsidized Loans had a 4.53% interest rate and a 1.059% loan fee for the 2019-20 academic year, although rates were set to hit historic lows in 2020-2021. These loans also include an interest subsidy, which means the federal government pays any interest that accrues while you’re in college. Only students with demonstrated financial need are eligible.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans have the same rates and fees as Direct Subsidized Loans but with a key difference: They don’t provide an interest subsidy. You’ll be responsible for all interest that accrues while you’re enrolled at Rutgers.
  • Parent PLUS Loans are offered only to parents of undergraduate college students. PLUS Loans have significantly higher costs, with a 7.08% interest rate and a 4.236% loan fee for the 2019-2020 school year. Rates for parent loans were set to fall to 5.30% for the 2020-2021 campaign.

Another useful option could be private student loans. These are student loans offered through private banks or online lenders, such as College Ave or CommonBond.

In many cases, rates on private student loans won’t beat what you’d pay on Direct Subsidized Loans or Direct Unsubsidized Loans. However, every situation is different, so it’s a good idea to compare all your options before making a final decision.

Paying for Rutgers

It’s never too early to start planning for how to pay for Rutgers University. You’ll need time to find the right mix of scholarships, grants, federal aid and student loans to cover the costs of your degree.

Whether you’re a high school freshman who dreams of being a Scarlet Knight or a community college student planning to transfer to Rutgers, start now. Take full advantage of every form of student aid offered to Rutgers students. Your dream college could be more affordable than you think.

Andrew Pentis contributed to this report.

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