Garden State Guarantee

Garden State Guarantee

The Garden State Guarantee, beginning fall 2022, is a new financial aid program for third- and fourth-year New Jersey students enrolled at William Paterson University and other four-year New Jersey public institutions of higher education.

  • The program will provide up to four semesters of free tuition for New Jersey students in their third and fourth years whose family’s adjusted gross income (AGI) is between $0 and $65,000 annually.
  • New Jersey students in their third and fourth years with family adjusted gross income between $65,001 to $80,000 can receive assistance so that their net cost for tuition and fees is no more than $7,500 annually.
  • Garden State Guarantee covers the cost of tuition and fees that are not already covered by federal and state financial aid or other scholarships.

Garden State Guarantee Eligibility

Students who meet the following criteria are eligible for the Garden State Guarantee:

  • New Jersey residents, including NJ Dream Act students.
  • Adjusted Gross Income of $0 to $65,000 for free tuition, or $65,001-$80,000 for assistance lowering the cost for tuition to no more than $7,500 annually.
  • The Adjusted Gross Income figure is based on parent/guardian AGI for dependent students or student/spouse income for independent students. Income eligibility is based on income reported on the FAFSA for the academic year in question.
  • Students in their third or fourth year at William Paterson, defined as having earned 60-89 credits for third year and 90-128 earned credits for fourth year. Credits include those a student has earned from a different institution and/or while in high school through dual enrollment, Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) test credits.
  • Students must be enrolled full time (at least 12 credits per semester) and working toward their first bachelor’s degree.
  • Student must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress
  • Student must have earned no more than 128 credits.
  • Continuing students and incoming transfer students are eligible.

How to Apply

You will be automatically considered for the Garden State Guarantee when you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Be sure to use William Paterson University’s school code: 002625

If you qualify as an NJ Dreamer, fill out the NJ Alternative Financial Aid Application.

If you are currently receiving NJ state financial aid, the deadline to apply for academic year 2024-2025 is May 15, 2024.*

*Students who are not currently receiving New Jersey state aid must apply by September 15, 2024.

The Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (OSHE) has provided a fact sheet for students to learn more about the Garden State Guarantee (GSG). Click here to view:

Questions and Answers


  1. How do I determine my AGI?
    A. For dependent students, only parent(s’)/guardian(s’) AGIs are considered, not the student’s income. For independent students, the AGI of the student and spouse, if applicable, is considered.
  2. For how long am I eligible for Garden State Guarantee?
    A. Students who satisfy all eligibility criteria may receive GSG up to the overall cap of four (4) semesters.
  3. How many credits must I earn to be considered a third- or fourth-year student?
    A. Third-year students are defined as having earned 60-89 total accumulated credits, and fourth-year students are defined as having earned 90-128 total accumulated credits, regardless of the institution(s) at which the qualifying credits were earned (i.e.: accepted transfer credits from another institution of higher education, Advanced Placement courses, dual-enrollment programs, etc.)
  4. Will this new program help me if I was never eligible for state aid before?
    A. Yes. The goal of GSG is to expand equitable and affordable college access to a high-quality degree in New Jersey. If you are not currently receiving state financial aid, apply before September 15, 2024.
    *Note: If you currently receive financial aid, you must reapply and complete the FAFSA or NJ Alternative Financial Aid Application by May 15, 2024.
  5. Am I required to meet the University’s Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy?
  6. Yes, students must meet William Paterson University’s Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy to be eligible for this program.