RU–N Announces Major Financial Aid Initiative to Tap Newark's and New Jersey's Talent

Talent & Opportunity Pathways Financial Aid Program Emphasizes Newark Residents, NJ County College Transfers, Innovative Honors Model

Rutgers University – Newark (RU-N) Chancellor Nancy Cantor today announced a major new financial aid initiative called the Talent & Opportunity Pathways program—or RU-N to the TOP—which will make college more affordable for wide swaths of New Jersey students, especially residents of Newark, those transferring from county colleges, and those with great potential to make an impact on the world.

RU-N to the TOP provides the following specific guarantees for RU-N undergraduate applicants, effective fall 2016:

  • All Newark residents who gain admission and whose household adjusted gross income (AGI) is $60,000 or less will be offered scholarships covering 100% of undergraduate tuition and fees (after federal, state, and external scholarships have been awarded).
  • Admitted students who are transferring to RU-N after earning an associate’s degree from a New Jersey county college, and whose household AGI is $60,000 or less, will be offered scholarships covering 100% of undergraduate tuition and fees (after federal, state, and external scholarships have been awarded).
  • All students admitted to RU-N’s innovative new Honors Living-Learning Community will receive 100% residential scholarships covering the full cost of room and board.

“With RU-N to the TOP we are firmly planting a stake in the ground for college affordability for Newarkers and New Jerseyans,” says Cantor. “We are saying to the young people of the city of Newark and our great state: We see your talent. We honor your talent. We want you to learn with us—and we want to learn from you—and together with our communities of experts across Newark, the state, the nation, and the world, we are going to make a difference.”

RU-N long has been known as an engine of opportunity for Newarkers and New Jerseyans who are first-generation college-going students, first-generation Americans, and students from hardworking families of modest means. Cantor believes the new financial aid initiative strengthens that tradition significantly in ways that speak directly to challenges facing Newark and New Jersey today, as well as communities everywhere. “Our city, state, and nation need to increase educational attainment to both strengthen our democracy and compete in today’s global economy. As an anchor institution in Newark, we’re saying that the best way to get there is by investing in the people of Newark and our state.”

“When we look at the young people of Newark, we see a vast talent pool. We see the same thing when we look at the thousands of students attending Essex, Hudson, and other county colleges. And we know that for some of them—perhaps for many of them—their true talent may not jump right out at you if you rely only on traditional ways of identifying it. That’s why we’re making this investment and why we’re partnering with more than 60 public, private, and nonprofit entities in Newark through the Newark City of Learning Collaborative (NCLC) to strengthen and expand pathways to college.”

The depth and breadth of that talent search is nowhere clearer than in RU-N’s innovative Honors Living-Learning Community (HLLC). In addition to gleaning information about applicants from the standard Rutgers application form, the HLLC team engages them in in-person activities as part of the application process, through which a range of talents and characteristics associated with academic success may be evaluated. “We look at—and well beyond—the typical application form,” says Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer Shirley Collado, who is leading the development of the HLLC. “We engage applicants through in-person activities to see how they employ multiple intelligences in collaborative problem solving. This kind of engagement is invaluable in revealing who students really are, what their talents are, and what they can bring to an incredibly diverse and challenging learning environment like Rutgers University – Newark. We don’t ask students to check their identities at the door, but to build on them by growing intellectually and developmentally in a community.”

The HLLC, currently in its first year, has enrolled a cohort of 30 students, but plans are for it to grow to a steady state with cohorts of 125 new students per year, with many coming from Greater Newark. Strongly focused on retention, persistence, and college success, HLLC programming aims to foster academic, social, and personal development of talented students from diverse backgrounds with a desire to make a difference in their communities and beyond. With an innovative curriculum centered on themes of “Local Citizenship in a Global World,” HLLC students will live and learn at RU-N with students from all backgrounds and all walks of life. Ultimately, the HLLC will have its own home in a state-of-the-art facility now in the planning phase, with dining, recreational, and academic spaces. Student cohorts will include those who enroll in postsecondary education immediately following high school graduation, as well as students in other stages of their lives.

RU-N’s new financial aid initiative and the HLLC are part of the university’s broader commitment to increase educational attainment through the NCLC. This citywide initiative aims to increase postsecondary attainment among Newark residents from 17% to 25% by the year 2025 by engaging more than 60 public, private, and nonprofit entities from Greater Newark in collaborative programming to strengthen pathways to college.

Further information about admission and financial aid at RU-N may be found at Further information about the Honors Living-Learning Community may be found at Further information about the Newark City of Learning Collaborative may be found at

MEDIA CONTACT; Peter Englot, Senior Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs and Chief of Staff
Office: 973-353-5541; Fax: 973-353-1048;

Photo: The inaugural class of the Rutgers University – Newark Honors Living-Learning Community, Fall 2015.

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