Posted on February 2, 2021
On June 26, 2020, Governor Murphy signed the Bridge Year Pilot Program into law, which took effect immediately. Students in the graduating classes of 2021 and 2022 can defer graduation for one year after their senior year (a Bridge Year) to make up for a disruption to education and extracurricular activities due to COVID-19.
In order to be eligible for the Bridge Year Program, students must:
- Be in the graduating classes of 2021 or 2022,
- Meet all high school graduation requirements by the end of the student’s senior year,
- Be 19 years old or younger for the entire Bridge Year if enrolled in general education, or if they have an IEP, turn 20 years old during the Bridge Year,
- Maintain a 2.0 GPA during the Bridge Year, and
- Remain enrolled in the high school they attended as a junior.
How to Request a Bridge Year
The high school should have appointed a Bridge Year Liaison to be the main contact person for students. Students or parents should contact the Bridge Year Liaison on or before February 15th to notify them that the student intends to participate in the Bridge Year Program.
Students who choose a Bridge Year may participate in graduation ceremonies with their class but will not receive a diploma until the end of the Bridge Year.
In order to participate in the Bridge Year Program, students:
- May participate in extracurricular programs, including spring sports season.
- Must enroll in 9-12 credits for the fall semester at the high school, county community college or a combination of both.
- Must enroll in 9-12 credits for the spring semester at a county community college where the high school is located.
- May also take up to three credits during either semester at any high school in the state or any other four-year institution to meet the Bridge Year credit requirements.
- Note, students participating in a Bridge Year will pay a maximum of $145 per county college credit, inclusive of fees, except fees associated with specific courses or labs may be charged a maximum of $45 per course. Bridge Year students may be eligible to receive a financial aid grant through the Community College Opportunity Grant Program (CCOG). For more information, visit the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) Grants and Scholarship page.
Schools must provide students with a written Individual Learning Plan by May 15th, but no later than June 1st of the student’s senior year. This Individual Learn Plan describes the goals of the Bridge Year and the activities, classes and supports required to accomplish the goals.
Students and/or parents should obtain more detailed information from the high school’s Bridge Year Liaison. The New Jersey Department of Education’s guidance is available by clicking here.
For advocacy assistance, you may contact Nina Peckman, Staff Attorney at firstname.lastname@example.org or 973-643-3876, ext. 226