Bridge Year Pilot Program Has Feb. 15 Deadline

February 08, 2021

The Bridge Year Pilot Program was signed into law in June 2020 in response to the school closures due to COVID-19. This program allows eligible high school students the opportunity to defer graduation for one year to make up any academic courses and extracurricular activities they may have missed while schools were shut down. All New Jersey public school districts, including charter and renaissance schools, must offer this program.

Each school must designate one staff member to act as that school’s Bridge Year Liaison. The Bridge Year Liaison will be the school’s point person for students interested in participating in this program and will help create an individual leaning plan (ILP) for each bridge year student. The school will then use that ILP to plan and monitor the student’s academics during the bridge year.

Eligible students need to notify their school’s Bridge Year Liaison by Feb. 15 of their senior year if they want to take advantage of this program.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible to participate in the Bridge Year Pilot Program, a student must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be in the graduating classes of 2021 or 2022
  • Meet all applicable high school graduation requirements by the end of their senior year of high school
  • Maintain a grade point average of 2.0 during the bridge year
  • Be 19 years old or younger during the entirety of the bridge year
      • A student who would turn 20 years old before the end of their bridge year is not eligible to participate.
      • Exception: A student with disabilities is eligible to participate if the student will turn 20 years old during the bridge year due to services provided under the student’s IEP.

Students with disabilities who receive special education under IDEA may receive services for another year as determined by the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team if they:

  • have satisfied their state and local graduation requirements
  • will not turn 21 years old before June 30.

The district’s Bridge Year Liaison should collaborate with the student’s IEP team and services should be delivered under the IEP.

Additional Questions?

If you have questions about the Bridge Year Pilot Program, email the New Jersey Department of Education at

For additional information and resources on New Jersey’s educational entitlements, call our 800.4.AUTISM Helpline, email, or use the Live Chat feature at the bottom of your screen.