Colleges & Universities in New Jersey

Education in New Jersey

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows the state of New Jersey to be home to nearly 8.9 million people. Only 35 percent of the population age 25 and older, however, held a Bachelor’s degree from 2008-2012. According to a recent report from the Lumina Foundation, if one takes Associate degree holders into account, 45.1 percent of the states working age population held a college degree in 2011. Unfortunately, that figure is down slightly from 2010 when 45.3 percent of the state’s working age population (25-64) held a degree. So, what gives?

When digging a little deeper, Lumina Foundation data reveals a large percentage of the state’s working adults (18.15 percent) had some college experience, but no degree. This seems to indicate New Jersey residents are beginning to realize just how important a degree is.. Fortunately, students will find plenty of colleges and universities in New Jersey to choose from.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) documents a total of 36 schools in the state where students can earn an Associate’s degree, and 43 schools where students can earn a Bachelor’s degree. U.S. Department of Labor data shows colleges and universities in New Jersey awarded 61,553 four-year degrees and 25,010 two-year degrees during the 2011-2012 school year.

Number of Institutions in New Jersey

Online education in New Jersey

Although traditional higher education is typically sought out by the majority of students, more and more young adults are turning to online education in order to meet their needs. The main reason for the transition is the overall flexibility offered by online degree programs, and the desire of many students to continue working full-time or take care of a family while they earn their degree and credentials.

Fortunately, many of the largest colleges and universities in New Jersey offer online courses and degrees in addition to their on-campus offerings. Some examples include Seton Hall University, Thomas Edison State College and Rutgers University. Community colleges in New Jersey have also banded together to form the New Jersey Distance Education Affinity Group (NJDEAG). The group currently has 19 member schools who share resources and the common goal of improving educational access to New Jersey residents.

Here are a number of the standout online programs available from New Jersey schools according to U.S. News and World Report:

  • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey–Newark
    • Best Online Graduate Business Programs #13
  • College of St. Elizabeth
    • Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs #13

Top careers in New Jersey

As the most densely populated state in the country, New Jersey is home to many large cities and metropolitan areas. The fact that so many people live in such a small area has actually been good for the state’s economy, however. More people means a higher demand for products and services, and those factors lead to more jobs in general.

Many careers in New Jersey can be fruitful, but certain careers have more potential than most. Using data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop and wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), we’ve compiled this list of highlight careers in New Jersey:

OccupationTop regionsGrowth prospectsNecessary skillsRelevant degrees
Diagnostic Medical SonographerAlthough diagnostic medical sonographers work all over the state, many of them are concentrated in the following areas: Newark-Union (570), Edison-New Brunswick (450), Camden (350).Thanks to an overall growth in the demand for these services in New Jersey, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an increase in job openings of up to 39 percent in the state from 2012 to 2022.Beyond excellent interpersonal skills, diagnostic medical sonographers need physical stamina, attention to detail and hand-eye coordination.Diagnostic medical sonographers typically need an Associate’s degree or postsecondary certificate, although some choose to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in sonography or another field instead. Occasionally, students can also begin this career by completing a hospital training program that leads to postsecondary certification.
Occupational Therapy AssistantThese professionals are spread throughout hospitals and clinics in the state, but many occupational therapy assistants are clustered in the following regions of New Jersey: Edison-New Brunswick (120), Camden (40), Newark-Union (30).Due to the growing demand for these professionals, the BLS predicts that job openings could increase by as much as 38 percent in New Jersey from 2012 to 2022.Students who earn this degree will also need to develop certain skills and qualities to be successful, including flexibility, compassion for patients, and physical strength.According to the BLS, occupational therapy assistants are required to earn an Associate’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education. These programs can typically be found at community colleges and technical schools.
Operations Research AnalystMost people employed in this profession work in the following areas of New Jersey: Newark-Union (250), Edison-New Brunswick (120), and Camden (30).Because of the demand, the U.S. Department of Labor predicts that employment for these workers will increase 31 percent in New Jersey from 2012 to 2022.Operations research analysts need superior math and interpersonal skills, as well as problem-solving skills and the ability to think critically.There are many paths to take if you desire to work in this profession. However, the BLS notes that most students choose to earn a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in operations research.
Food Scientist and TechnologistMost New Jersey food scientists worked in either Newark-Union (120), Edison-New Brunswick (90), or Camden (60).The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that employment for food scientists and technologists could increase 29 percent from 2012 to 2022Critical thinking and data analysis skills are also helpful, as are communication, math, and observation skills.Food scientists need to gain the skills required to monitor the state’s food supply and ensure all safety protocols are being followed. According to the BLS, that usually means earning either a Bachelor’s degree or Master’s degree in a related field such as agricultural sciences, biology, chemistry, or physics.
ActuaryMost actuaries in New Jersey work in Newark-Union (420), Edison-New Brunswick (170), and Camden (60).A large population in New Jersey means plenty of demand for insurance products, which also leads to a demand for actuaries. Because of this, the U.S. Department of Labor predicts that job openings for actuaries will increase 28 percent in New Jersey during the decade leading up to 2022.Common degrees actuaries earn include actuarial science, statistics, and mathematics. Other skills commonly found in actuaries include computer skills, interpersonal skills and analytical skills.Because actuaries need complex math and reasoning skills, they typically need to earn a Bachelor’s degree in a major that supports these concepts.

New Jersey financial aid

College Board figures state tuition and fees for in-state students at public four-year schools came in at $12,715 for the 2013-14 school year. Additionally, public two-year institutions averaged at $4,351, and private 4-years came in at $34,239.

New Jersey Tuition and Fee Costs

Although tuition is higher here than the average of all states combined, there are many types of New Jersey financial aid that can help out. The Higher Education Student Assistance Authority lists the following resources on their website:

Federal Grants

  • Pell Grants
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
  • TEACH Grants
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants

State Scholarships and Grants

  • New Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Rewards Scholarship
  • Tuition Aid Grant (TAG)
  • Part-time TAG Program for County College Students
  • Educational Opportunity Fund
  • Governor’s Urban Scholarship
  • New Jersey World Trade Center Scholarship
  • Survivor Tuition Benefits
  • Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Scholarship
  • New Jersey Governor’s Industry Vocation Scholarship

State Loans

  • NJCLASS Loan
  • Graduate/Professional Loan

Federal Loans

  • Federal Direct Loan Programs
  • Federal Perkins Loan Program (expired 9/30/17, although Congressional bills have been introduced that support its extension)
  • Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program
  • Federal Direct Graduate/Professional PLUS Loan Program

There are a vast number of financial resources available to students who pursue higher education at colleges and universities in-state. However, this list isn’t all-encompassing. Colleges and universities often offer scholarships and grants to students who meet certain requirements, and one should take special care to identify any available funds. Some student loan forgiveness programs are also available to New Jersey students who meet certain criteria. Contact a school’s student aid office to learn more.

To find out more about some of the schools and programs available in New Jersey, be sure to check out the ones featured in our school listings below.

Article Sources


  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics: “Diagnostic Medical Sonographers,” May 2013,; “Actuaries,” May 2013,; “Food Scientists and Technologists,” May 2013,; “Operations Research Analysts,” May 2013,; “Occupational Therapy Analysts,” May 2013,
  2. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook: “Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides,” December 9, 2014,; “Actuaries,” December 9, 2014,; “Agricultural and Food Scientists,” December 9, 2014,; “Operations Research Analysts,” December 9, 2014,; “Diagnostic Medical Sonographers,” December 9, 2014,
  3. “Bureau of Labor Statistics,” Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, May 2013, New Jersey,
  4. “Best Online Programs,” U.S. News and World Report Rankings, February, 2015,
  5. “A Stronger Nation through Higher Education,” Lumina Foundation, New Jersey,
  6. “Bureau of Labor Statistics,” Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, May 2013, New Jersey,
  7. “CareerOneStop,” U.S. Department of Labor,
  8. “National Center for Education Statistics,”
  9. “New Jersey Distance Education Affinity Group,”
  10. “New Jersey Grants and Scholarships,”
  11. “Postsecondary Completers and Completions: 2011-2012, U.S. Department of Education,
  12. “State and County QuickFacts,” United States Census Bureau, New Jersey,
  13. “Tuition and Fees by Sector and State Over Time,” College Board,