- NJ College & University Directory by Sector, Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, Accessed April 2017, http://www.nj.gov/highereducation/colleges/schools_sector.shtml
- State-wide Transfer Agreement, County College of Morris, Accessed April 2017, http://www.ccm.edu/studentLife/CampusServices/TransferResources/TransferAgreement.aspx
- About Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Accessed April 2017, http://newbrunswick.rutgers.edu/about/about-rutgers-university%E2%80%93new-brunswick
- About, New Jersey City University, Accessed April 2017, http://www.njcu.edu/about
- About NJIT, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Accessed April 2017, http://www5.njit.edu/about/
- Why Ramapo, Ramapo College of New Jersey, Accessed April 2017, https://www.ramapo.edu/why/
- About Us, Rutgers University-Newark, Accessed April 2017, https://www.newark.rutgers.edu/ABOUT-US
- About Stockton, Stockton University, Accessed April 2017, https://www.stockton.edu/about-stockton/
- About Montclair, Montclair State University, Accessed April 2017, http://www.montclair.edu/about-montclair/
- About The College of New Jersey, The College of New Jersey, Accessed April 2017, http://tcnj.pages.tcnj.edu/about/
- Rutgers-Camden History, Rutgers University-Camden, Accessed April 2017, http://www.camden.rutgers.edu/about/history
- Colleges & Schools, Rowan University, Accessed April 2017, http://www.rowan.edu/home/academics/colleges-schools
- Grants & Scholarships, Higher Education Student Assistance Authority, Accessed April 2017, http://www.hesaa.org/Pages/NJGrantsHome.aspx
Princeton University, with its Ivy League reputation, may be the best known school in New Jersey. However, it is only one of numerous education options for residents.
The New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education recognizes 83 institutions which are authorized to provide post-secondary education in the state. These include public research institutions, state colleges and universities, theological seminaries and independent schools among others. These schools represent a diverse range of size and scope. Some may operate on a single campus while others, like Rutgers, have a flagship school as well as additional locations.
There is a system of 19 community colleges in New Jersey as well. Thanks to a statewide transfer agreement law, students who graduate with an A.A. or A.S. degree from one of these schools are guaranteed to have their credits transfer to a public four-year college or university.
Whether you are interested in a two-year degree, traditional on-campus experience or exploring online New Jersey degrees, you should have no trouble finding a school that fits your needs.
Best 4-Year Colleges in New Jersey
To help narrow your choices, we analyzed 33 top New Jersey institutions for factors such as cost, flexible learning options and program availability. Of those, these rose to the top as the best traditional and online colleges for New Jersey.
New Brunswick is home to the flagship campus of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. It was chartered as Queens College in 1766 and now has 250 years of educational experience under its belt. It is a leading research institution and encompasses 18 colleges and schools that represent every field of study.
Rutgers University-New Brunswick has far and away the most degree programs available at any one institution in the state. In addition to ranking first for the number of programs, it also ranks second for the number of distance education options available. As one of the best online colleges for New Jersey, Rutgers Online offers a number of master's degrees as well as bachelor degree completion programs in nursing and business administration.
The university also garnered top ten rankings for its average net price, the low median debt carried by graduates and its graduation rate.
New Jersey City University gets high marks for offering affordable degree programs. The schools ranks first in the state for the low sticker price of its tuition and fees as well as first for its average net price. Books and supplies are also affordable, and students are often able to minimize their debt while in school. NJCU ranks third in the state for the median debt of its graduates.
At its campus in Jersey City, the university has been educating students since it was chartered in 1927. What was once a school only for teachers has now grown to four colleges covering fields of study including education, business, the liberal arts and professional studies.
Flexibility is another hallmark of New Jersey City University. It offers night and weekend classes plus nearly a third of students were enrolled in distance education in 2015. There is remedial support, academic counseling and the possibility of credit for life experiences.
Located in Newark, New Jersey Institute of Technology is another of the state's research universities. The school has been in existence since 1885 when it welcomed its first students who were pursuing an "industrial education."
As technology has changed, so too has NJIT. It now offers nearly 130 undergraduate and graduate programs in diverse fields ranging from computer science to theatre arts and technology. In 2015, engineering technology was the most popular degree awarded by the school.
New Jersey Institute of Technology ranks high in the state for a number of factors. These include the number of programs it offers, its retention rate and the low median debt of its graduates. Students may be able to avoid some debt thanks to the generous financial aid offered by the school. New Jersey Institute of Technology is second in the state for the amount of institutional grant aid it awards as a percentage of its tuition and fees.
Ramapo College of New Jersey is one of the state's regional public colleges. It is a relative newcomer to the higher education scene and was founded in 1969. At its campus in Mahwah, students can choose from 36 academic programs offered in its five schools.
Students in those programs often graduate on time, and Ramapo ranks seventh in the state for its graduation rate. It is also an affordable option. The college ranks ninth for the price of its tuition and fees. A robust program of institutional aid can help keep costs down as well. Ramapo College of New Jersey ranks third in the state for the amount of institutional grant aid it awards as a percentage of its tuition and fees.
Beyond that, the school has tuition payment plans to make the cost more manageable. There is also academic counseling, career placement services and the chance of earning credit for life experiences.
The Newark campus of Rutgers University is another of the best four-year schools in New Jersey. While not offering the same vast number of programs available in New Brunswick, Rutgers-Newark does have many undergraduate and graduate programs in popular fields such as psychology, business administration and biology. Accounting was the most popular degree awarded in 2015.
The university ranks second out of 33 institutions for its low average net price. For low-income students, it has the fourth best average net price in the state. The median debt of its graduates ranks Rutgers-Newark as ninth best in the state. Its graduation rate is also notable, and the school ranks ninth in the state for helping students earn their degree on-time.
Rutgers-Newark offers tuition payment plans, remedial support services and academic advising to students. Graduates may be eligible for career placement services.
Named for Richard Stockton, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, Stockton University identifies itself as "New Jersey's Distinctive Public University." Classes began at the school in 1971 at the university's campus in Galloway.
The school offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees. While it is not a place to earn online New Jersey degrees, many individual courses are offered through the school's Office of E-Learning. For students who need extra help, remedial support services are also available.
Stockton University ranks high on this list as an affordable institution with a strong track record of helping students succeed academically. The university ranks sixth in the state for its average net price. It is also sixth for the low median debt carried by graduates. Its retention rate ranks sixth in the state, and the graduation rate at Stockton University is the eighth best among surveyed schools.
Second only to Rutgers University-New Brunswick in the number of programs it offers, Montclair State University has a reputation for being both a quality and comprehensive educational institution. Its more than 20,000 students can choose from nearly 300 majors, minors, concentrations and certifications. These are offered within the university's nine colleges and schools.
The historic institution was founded in 1908 and ranks third in the state for its affordable tuition and fees. For average net price, Montclair State University ranks fifth in the state. Out of 33 colleges and universities, Montclair is 13th for its graduation rate.
While the university isn't one of those offering an online bachelor's degree in New Jersey, it does have several online master's degree programs. There are also night and weekend classes available to accommodate students who need a non-traditional schedule.
Known as TCNJ, The College of New Jersey has its historic campus in Ewing. It's a liberal arts school that was first founded as the New Jersey State Normal School in 1855. Today, it has seven schools and says its educational programs are defined by experiences such as global engagement and leadership development.
The College of New Jersey excels in many ways, not the least of which is its graduation rate. Of the 33 schools included in this survey, TCNJ ranks fourth for graduating students on time. While a degree is no guarantee of a job, the college's graduates apparently go on to positions that allow them to pay down their student debt. The school's three-year loan repayment rate is the second best in the state.
Students may also be eligible to earn credits for life experiences which could drive down the need to take out loans.
Rutgers University-Camden is the third institution within Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. While it is only a fraction of the age of the university's flagship campus, the Camden campus still has a history spanning back more than 90 years. While it has a strong liberal arts core, Rutgers University-Camden has expanded its offerings to other fields such as business and law. The School of Nursing is the most recent addition to the university, and registered nursing was the most popular degree awarded in 2015.
While Rutgers University-Camden offers a premium education experience, it doesn't come with a premium price. The school ranks tenth for the sticker price of its tuition and fees, and it comes in third for the both its average net price and its average net price for low income students.
Nearly 30 percent of students were enrolled in distance education programs in 2015, ranking the school seventh for that metric.
As another of the best online colleges for New Jersey, Rowan University offers a number of graduate degree and certificate programs for distance learners. Those who want to earn an online bachelor's degree in New Jersey and already have an associate degree can sign up for one of the school's undergraduate degree completion programs. Overall, Rowan University ranks fifth in the state for the number of distance education programs it offers.
Students may also choose Rowan for its low tuition and fees. The university ranks seventh in the state for this metric. Graduates have relatively low levels of debt, and the school ranks sixth for the median debt of its alumni.
Rowan University has 13 colleges and schools in addition to a global learning division. While the main campus is located in Glassboro, students can study at four different locations.
Most Popular Degree Programs in New Jersey
Picking your college is only the one step in completing your education. You also need to select a degree. Here are the most popular on-campus and online New Jersey degrees.
In-Demand Careers in New Jersey
Once you have a degree in mind, you need to see what your job prospects will be like after graduation. The following occupations are some of the fastest growing careers in New Jersey.
|Career Title||Projected Job Growth||Total Employment||Annual Salary|
|Home Health Aides||45%||38,510||$23,230|
|Occupational Therapy Assistants||37.2%||360||$66,120|
|Operations Research Analysts||36.2%||1,640||$95,200|
|Physical Therapist Assistants||36.2%||1,280||$64,230|
|Physical Therapist Aides||31.2%||3,480||$27,540|
|Occupational Therapy Aides||28.3%||50||$29,800|
|Hearing Aid Specialists||27.5%||70||$49,870|
|Ambulance Drivers and Attendants, Except Emergency Medical Technicians||27.1%||770||$26,640|
|Insulation Workers, Mechanical||26.4%||200||$79,190|
|Solar Photovoltaic Installers||25.8%||610||$45,470|
|Helpers--Brickmasons, Blockmasons, Stonemasons, and Tile and Marble Setters||23.7%||180||$47,860|
|Orthotists and Prosthetists||23.5%||170||$74,510|
|Cartographers and Photogrammetrists||21.9%||180||$75,540|
|Diagnostic Medical Sonographers||21.9%||2,280||$73,850|
|Health Technologists and Technicians, All Other||21.5%||3,240||$51,040|
|Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians||20.8%||780||$73,870|
Financial Aid and Scholarships in New Jersey
Most students know about federal grant and loan programs, but there is also money for higher education available from the state. New Jersey offers a Tuition Aid Grant, an Educational Opportunity Fund Grant and the Governor's Urban Scholarship among other forms of financial aid. Some are need-based while other awards are granted based on merit.
November 15 (Early Action admissions deadline)
Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.25 GPA and full-time status.
Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.6 GPA.
- New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education
- New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities
- New Jersey Council of County Colleges
- NJ Transfer
- Higher Education Student Assistance Authority