Best Colleges in New Jersey

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Known throughout the country as the Garden State, New Jersey is home to the top colleges in the country and graduate-level programs that have received national ranking and recognition from media companies. Schools in the state are as close as 14 miles away from New York City and located in the suburbs or the small, quiet town of your choice. In-state residents and out-of-state individuals have plenty of options to earn a bachelor's degree or certificate that fits their busy schedule and lifestyle.

Plus, the colleges and universities in New Jersey have several extracurricular activities to choose from both on campus and outside of it! Students can obtain a valuable education all while exploring the museums, resort towns, and fascinating city life the state has to offer.

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Whether you're a student applying to college for the first time or looking for a master's degree to enhance your current career, the Garden State has your choice of the best colleges in the country that can cater to your academic and career needs and provide you with the college experience you're looking for.

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Best Public and Private Colleges in New Jersey

#1 Princeton University - Princeton, New Jersey. As the 4th oldest institution of higher education in the U.S., Princeton University is a private Ivy League university with an acceptance rate of 6% and a student-faculty ratio of 9:1. Princeton was one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution and now serves over 8,000 students and offers more than 400 international internship opportunities.

#2 Rutgers University-New Brunswick - New Brunswick, New Jersey. Ranked by Reuters as one of the top 100 most innovative universities, Rutgers University-New Brunswick is the State University of New Jersey and was the birthplace of college football. The university serves over 50,000 students and offers 150+ undergraduate degree options.

#3 Stevens Institute of Technology - Hoboken, New Jersey. As a private research university in a top 3 college town, Stevens Institute of Technology is one of the oldest technological universities in the country and the first institution of higher ed that previously was solely dedicated to mechanical engineering. Stevens Institute offers over 30 majors to its 6,800 undergraduate and graduate students, including online certificate programs.

#4 Seton Hall University - South Orange, New Jersey. Only 14 miles away from Manhattan, Seton Hall University is one of the top private Catholic universities in the U.S. and provides over 17,000 internship opportunities. SHU has an acceptance rate of 78% and offers over 90 majors and 150 student organizations to approximately 10,000 students.

#5 New Jersey Institute of Technology - Newark, New Jersey. As a top university and leader in STEM education, research, and service, the New Jersey Institute of Technology offers a high-class education and rigorous pre-professional programs that will prepare you for your career. Forbes ranked NJIT nationally as the #1 school in student economic upward mobility.

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Best Community Colleges in New Jersey

#1 Raritan Valley Community College - Branchburg, New Jersey. Over 5,300 individuals attend Raritan Valley Community College, 93.8% of which are continuing/readmit/non-degree and 64.1% part-time students. In Spring 2022, 42% of Raritan students were enrolled in remote learning, and the most popular majors are liberal arts, general business, and social science.

#2 County College of Morris - Randolph, New Jersey. Founded in 1966, County College of Morris is a public community college that serves more than 8,500 undergraduate students and has over 40 student organizations for individuals to join. CCM was one of the first public colleges to ban smoking entirely and has one of the highest graduation rates among county colleges in the state.

#3 Warren County Community College - Washington, New Jersey. Warren County Community College is a public, two-year college that offers 33 associate degrees and ten credit certificate programs. WCCC is also home to the Corporate and Continuing Education division, which provides career, personal development, and corporate training programs to roughly 4,000 students annually.

#4 Bergen Community College - Paramus, New Jersey. As the biggest community college in the state, Bergen Community College serves 13,352 students across three campuses and 5,800 in continuing and adult education programs. The Paramus campus is home to the Technology Education Center, STEM Student Research Center, and the region's only Health Professions Integrated Teaching Center.

#5 Sussex County Community College - Newton, New Jersey. With over 70 programs to choose from, Sussex County Community College puts its students first, and approximately 72% of students graduate debt free after two years. There are 23 associate degree programs available, and the college offers programs for adult basic education (ABE) that can lead to a general equivalency diploma (GED).

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Best Online Colleges in New Jersey

#1 Rutgers University-New Brunswick - New Brunswick, New Jersey. Ranked by Reuters as one of the top 100 most innovative universities, Rutgers University-New Brunswick is the State University of New Jersey and was the birthplace of college football. The university serves over 50,000 students and offers 150+ undergraduate degree options.

#2 Rowan University - Glassboro, New Jersey. As one of three universities in the U.S. to offer M.D. and D.O. medical degrees, Rowan University serves 23,000 students across three campuses and has earned national recognition for its research centered on engineering, medicine, science, and business. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, Rowan University is the nation's 4th fast-growing research university among public doctoral institutions.

#3 Thomas Edison State University - Trenton, New Jersey. Established in 1972, Thomas Edison State University is one of the first schools in the U.S. designed especially for adults and is one of 11 senior public institutions in the state. TESU offers more than 100 areas of study, and up to 117 transfer degrees may be applied to your degree.

#4 Raritan Valley Community College - Branchburg, New Jersey. Over 5,300 individuals attend Raritan Valley Community College, 93.8% of which are continuing/readmit/non-degree and 64.1% part-time students. In Spring 2022, 42% of Raritan students were enrolled in remote learning, and the most popular majors are liberal arts, general business, and social science.

#5 Rutgers University-Camden - Camden, New Jersey. Founded in 1929, Rutgers University-Camden is at the forefront of research and gives students the opportunity for hands-on learning in cutting-edge facilities. Approximately 96% of graduates are employed or continuing their studies within six months, and 86% of students receive financial aid.

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Best Liberal Arts Colleges in New Jersey

#1 Drew University - Madison, New Jersey. Nicknamed the "University in the Forest" because of the 186-acre campus, Drew University offers bachelor's degrees in more than 50 areas and 18 dual-degree programs. Unique to Drew is its Launch program, which ensures that every undergraduate student graduates with a supportive network and at least two immersive experiences under their belt.

#2 Bloomfield College - Bloomfield, New Jersey. Ranked by U.S. News & World Report as #7 in New Jersey for undergraduate Nursing programs, Bloomfield College is a private institution with an acceptance rate of 85%. Bloomfield is the only school in New Jersey that has been recognized as a Predominantly Black Institution (PBI) and Hispanic Serving institution and offers the lowest full-time tuition rate for any college or university in New Jersey.

#3 Felician University - Rutherford, New Jersey. Conducted by the Felician Sisters, Felician University offers more than 60 majors, minors, and concentrations across four academic schools and has a 94% acceptance rate. 99% of first-year students receive institutional grants, and 67% of classes taught have a class size of 20 or smaller.

#4 Ramapo College of New Jersey - Mahwah, New Jersey. Founded in 1969, Ramapo College of New Jersey recently launched its newest graduate program in Creative Music Technology, the only program of its kind in the state. With over 40 academic programs, students can choose from majors across five schools, and Ramapo is currently waiting for state approval to add a Neuroscience major to its lineup.

Best Colleges in New Jersey for Social Work

#1 Rutgers University-New Brunswick - New Brunswick, New Jersey. Ranked by Reuters as one of the top 100 most innovative universities, Rutgers University-New Brunswick is the State University of New Jersey and was the birthplace of college football. The university serves over 50,000 students and offers 150+ undergraduate degree options.

#2 Rutgers University-Newark - Newark, New Jersey. With a 74% acceptance rate, Rutgers University-Newark is a public university that serves over 12,000 students and offers cross-registration with the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Rutgers University-Newark enrolls more than 11,000 students annually, and tuition for full-time New Jersey residents is $10,954 and $25,732 for non-residents.

#3 Seton Hall University - South Orange, New Jersey. Only 14 miles away from Manhattan, Seton Hall University is one of the top private Catholic universities in the U.S. and provides over 17,000 internship opportunities. SHU has an acceptance rate of 78% and offers over 90 majors and 150 student organizations to approximately 10,000 students.

#4 Monmouth University - West Long Branch, New Jersey. Located only one hour from New York and Philadelphia, Monmouth University is a private, top-ranked college with 23 Division I sports teams and a student-faculty ratio of 12:1. Monmouth has six centers of distinction to promote awareness of local and global issues, and one of them is the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music.

#5 Stockton University - Galloway, New Jersey. With more than 160 areas of study, Stockton University is a public university that serves almost 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and has a 77% acceptance rate. The Princeton Review has ranked Stockton as one of the Best in the Northeast, and the school has received recognition for being military-friendly.

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Best Colleges in New Jersey for Nursing

#1 Seton Hall University - South Orange, New Jersey. Only 14 miles away from Manhattan, Seton Hall University is one of the top private Catholic universities in the U.S. and provides over 17,000 internship opportunities. SHU has an acceptance rate of 78% and offers over 90 majors and 150 student organizations to approximately 10,000 students.

#2 Bloomfield College - Bloomfield, New Jersey. Ranked by U.S. News & World Report as #7 in New Jersey for undergraduate Nursing programs, Bloomfield College is a private institution with an acceptance rate of 85%. Bloomfield is the only school in New Jersey that has been recognized as a Predominantly Black Institution (PBI) and Hispanic Serving institution and offers the lowest full-time tuition rate for any college or university in New Jersey.

#3 Rowan University - Glassboro, New Jersey. As one of three universities in the U.S. to offer M.D. and D.O. medical degrees, Rowan University serves 23,000 students across three campuses and has earned national recognition for its research centered on engineering, medicine, science, and business. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, Rowan University is the nation's 4th fast-growing research university among public doctoral institutions.

#4 Montclair State University - Montclair, New Jersey. As the second largest public university in New Jersey, Montclair State University has a total enrollment of 21,005 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 17:1. The school is one of multiple U.S. Department of Education-designated Hispanic-Serving Institutions in New Jersey.

#5 Rutgers University-Camden - Camden, New Jersey. Founded in 1929, Rutgers University-Camden is at the forefront of research and gives students the opportunity for hands-on learning in cutting-edge facilities. Approximately 96% of graduates are employed or continuing their studies within six months, and 86% of students receive financial aid.

Best Colleges in New Jersey for Criminal Justice

#1 Rutgers University-New Brunswick - New Brunswick, New Jersey. Ranked by Reuters as one of the top 100 most innovative universities, Rutgers University-New Brunswick is the State University of New Jersey and was the birthplace of college football. The university serves over 50,000 students and offers 150+ undergraduate degree options.

#2 The College of New Jersey - Ewing, New Jersey. Established in 1855 as the first teaching college in New Jersey and the 5th in the U.S., the College of New Jersey believes in the power of education to develop lifelong learners and leaders and offers Leadership programming to encourage students' emotional, physical, and spiritual development. Approximately 6,800 undergraduate and 610 graduate students are enrolled at TCNJ.

#3 Stockton University - Galloway, New Jersey. With more than 160 areas of study, Stockton University is a public university that serves almost 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and has a 77% acceptance rate. The Princeton Review has ranked Stockton as one of the Best in the Northeast, and the school has received recognition for being military-friendly.

#4 New Jersey Institute of Technology - Newark, New Jersey. As a top university and leader in STEM education, research, and service, the New Jersey Institute of Technology offers a high-class education and rigorous pre-professional programs that will prepare you for your career. Forbes ranked NJIT nationally as the #1 school in student economic upward mobility.

#5 Rutgers University-Newark - Newark, New Jersey. With a 74% acceptance rate, Rutgers University-Newark is a public university that serves over 12,000 students and offers cross-registration with the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Rutgers University-Newark enrolls more than 11,000 students annually, and tuition for full-time New Jersey residents is $10,954 and $25,732 for non-residents.

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Best Teaching Colleges in New Jersey

#1 Princeton University - Princeton, New Jersey. As the 4th oldest institution of higher education in the U.S., Princeton University is a private Ivy League university with an acceptance rate of 6% and a student-faculty ratio of 9:1. Princeton was one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution and now serves over 8,000 students and offers more than 400 international internship opportunities.

#2 Seton Hall University - South Orange, New Jersey. Only 14 miles away from Manhattan, Seton Hall University is one of the top private Catholic universities in the U.S. and provides over 17,000 internship opportunities. SHU has an acceptance rate of 78% and offers over 90 majors and 150 student organizations to approximately 10,000 students.

#3 Monmouth University - West Long Branch, New Jersey. Located only one hour from New York and Philadelphia, Monmouth University is a private, top-ranked college with 23 Division I sports teams and a student-faculty ratio of 12:1. Monmouth has six centers of distinction to promote awareness of local and global issues, and one of them is the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music.

#4 Montclair State University - Montclair, New Jersey. As the second largest public university in New Jersey, Montclair State University has a total enrollment of 21,005 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 17:1. The school is one of multiple U.S. Department of Education-designated Hispanic-Serving Institutions in New Jersey.

#5 William Paterson University - Wayne, New Jersey. As a public university located in suburban New Jersey, William Paterson University serves over 10,000 students across its four academic colleges. It is the 3rd oldest state college in New Jersey and is one of many U.S. Department of Education Hispanic-Serving Institutions in New Jersey.

Check out Bold's Schools of Interest to discover Q&A, majors, academics, pricing, and loan options for colleges in New Jersey!

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Frequently Asked Questions About New Jersey Colleges

How many colleges are in New Jersey?

New Jersey is home to 31 four-year colleges and universities. Rutgers University-New Brunswick is the largest public university in the state, with over 50,000, and Montclair State University is the second largest, with a total enrollment of approximately 22,000.

How many community colleges are in New Jersey?

Currently, 19 community colleges in New Jersey offer two-year degrees, certificates, and online programs. Bergen Community College has the largest enrollment out of the state's community colleges — serving about 22,500 students annually.

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Is community college free in New Jersey?

New Jersey has a few initiatives to provide free tuition and financial assistance so individuals can attend community college free of cost. New Jersey STARS is a scholarship that high school students who rank in the top 15% of their high school class can apply for to receive free tuition at their home community college.

Students from families that earn less than $65,000 are guaranteed free tuition at community colleges, and a new initiative established in March 2022 will pay for at least 50% of tuition and fees. The Community College Opportunity Grant would grant students whose families earn between $65,001-$80,000 a reduced tuition price at the state's county colleges.

How to establish residency in New Jersey for college

Establishing residency for college is an important indicator during the college search, especially when determining how much you'll be expected to pay for school.

In order to establish residency in New Jersey, documentation will be required to prove residency for in-state tuition rates. Students will need to provide a certified NJ resident income tax return and a copy of a driver's license or state ID. In addition, an individual must live in the state for 12 consecutive months prior to enrollment. Students must provide evidence of their residency and document that they meet the benefit of in-state tuition.

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