Frequently Asked Questions

What happens after I file a FAFSA?

About one month after filing, you will receive the following documents: Student Aid Report (SAR) for federal programs, and Student Eligibility Notice (SEN) for New Jersey Programs. Follow all instructions on these documents. Verify that Montclair State is listed on the SAR as an institution that will receive your information. MSU will access this data electronically to prepare your aid package.

How do I know if I am eligible for State Aid?

All students are required to complete a FAFSA as well as additional questions for the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (NJ HESAA) to see if they are eligible for the Tuition Aid Grant (TAG) at www.njgrants.org. Once the State has processed your application you will receive a Student Eligibility Notice (SEN) telling you if you are to receive a TAG and if so, how much you can expect. When you receive this notice please check that Montclair State is the school on it. If not, please contact NJ HESAA.

When will I hear if I am eligible to receive financial aid?

If you are eligible to receive financial aid and all of your documents have been received, you will receive notification of these awards from the Office of Student Financial Aid during late spring or early summer. Late filers are notified on a rolling basis.

If you need additional funds to help pay your balance, please look into a parent PLUS loan or a private loan. For more information regarding both, please visit our Educational Loans webpage.

What opportunities are there for work on campus? 

Two employment programs exist for students:

Federal Work Study (FWS)—this is a federally supported employment program. Students must meet need requirements. The rate of pay is $8.25 to $9.75 per hour. Students normally work 10-15 hours per week while school is in session. Job opportunities are posted in the Career Development office.

All students eligible for Federal Work Study will be automatically awarded aid on their WESS account. Work study is given to the students as a check for the time they work on a bi-weekly basis. It is not applied to the bill.

Student Assistant (SA)—this is a University employment program. Financial need is not a requirement for participation. The rate of pay is $8.25 to $9.75 per hour. Students normally work 10-15 hours per week while school is in session. Job opportunities are posted in the Career Development office.

How may financial aid be used to help pay my bill?

When you are billed for the fall or spring semester, read the instructions concerning financial aid recipients and follow them concerning payment. Every effort is made to credit term bills with all accepted and approved financial aid except anticipated FWS earnings.

The staff members of the Office of Student Financial Aid are available throughout the year to assist parents and students. Call for information if you need assistance with any forms or procedures.         

Where do I get information about payment plans?

Payment plan information is available here.

I was billed for health insurance. How can I waive it?

Waive your health insurance here.

How can I understand my award letter?

Your award letter will notify you of the awards for which you are eligible. Descriptions of each type of award are available on NEST. Your awards are based on your reported enrollment for the academic year. Estimating your student budget is available through our online on our Cost Calculator.

Additional information may be included with your award letter. If you have been awarded Federal Work Study, you are eligible to participate in the "America Reads" Challenge. If you have been awarded a Federal Perkins Loan, you must complete and return the Federal Perkins Loan Disclosure Statement.

How do I obtain federal loan funds?

The amount you are eligible to receive from the Federal Stafford Loan program is posted on NEST.  You have the option to decrease your loan amounts as long as your eligibility is maintained and you request loan amounts between $200 and the amount listed on your award letter.

All students that complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), qualify to receive Stafford Loans on your award letter. If you do not want the loan, please log on NEST and decline them.

All students must accept, reduce or decline their student loan(s) via NEST.

First-time Federal Stafford Loan recipients must sign the Master Promissory Note (MPN) and complete Entrance Counseling.  Both of these processes must be completed before the loan funds can be disbursed to you. Please go to www.studentloans.gov to complete both processes.

Information on additional education loans can be found on the Educational Loan webpage.

My loans have not paid to my account?

If your Federal Loans (Stafford/Perkins) have not paid to your account, it may be because you have not signed your Master Promissory note and/or completed your entrance counseling.

You must accept your loans on NEST. This is required every year you apply for financial aid.

For Stafford loans, please go to www.studentloans.gov and complete the necessary information.

For the Perkins loan, please go to https://www.ecsi.net/promWT and complete the necessary information.

How do I revise my award letter?

There are many reasons why your award letter may need to be revised:

I. Application Corrections

  • change in family circumstances
  • audit of student information

II. Enrollment Changes

III. Other Resources

In any case, you should submit all requested documentation to the Office of Student Financial Aid within 10 days of notification. This will ensure that your aid is disbursed promptly.

Why are you requesting my tax information?

We are requesting your tax information because the Federal Government has selected your FAFSA for a process called Federal Verification. They have a question about your FAFSA and they are requesting that Montclair collect this information for them. Tax information is supplied by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool Instructions or Order an IRS Tax Transcript by Mail.  If we are requesting this information, please note your Financial Aid award is not finalized until your information has been processed. The Verification process may take up to 7-8 weeks depending on when you submit your information to Montclair State.

You can submit this information via fax (973-655-7712), email (financialaid@mail.montclair.edu), in person (Red Hawk Central) or mail:

Montclair State University
Office of Student Financial Aid
1 Normal Ave
Montclair, NJ 07043

Am I independent?

A student is only considered independent if they meet the following criteria:

  • 24 years old or older
  • Married
  • Have a dependent that you support
  • A veteran
  • Orphan
  • Ward of the court
  • Already have a bachelor's degree
  • Homeless

If you do not meet these criteria you are not considered independent.  If you are a student whose parent's have abandoned you, you need to submit proof of this. You will need two letters from pillars in your community (religious leader, guidance counselor, social worker, etc.) who know your situation.  A parent's failure or refusal to pay for college does not make a student independent in the eyes of the Federal and State government for financial aid.

What if there is a change in my household income?

If there is a change in your household income due to a change of income resulting from:

  • Unemployment
  • Loss of untaxed benefit (ie: worker’s compensation, child support, pensions and annuities, social security benefits)
  • Separation/Divorce
  • Death
  • Medical expenses that have been itemized on your Federal tax return

You can complete a Request for Review form to have your financial aid re-evaluated. We will not process this request for bankruptcy, increases in personal expenses (ie: mortgage payments, tuition increases for siblings, car payments), reduction in overtime or commission, non- taxed medical expenses, etc.

What is this Cost of Attendance?

This is not a bill. This is a budgeting tool for students to assist them in figuring out how much they may or may not need for the upcoming year. If you do not need to budget for housing please disregard that cost.

What are the Office Hours?

During the Academic Year (September through May) the Office is open Monday through Friday. The Hours are:

Monday – 8:30am – 6pm
Tuesday – 8:30am- 4:30pm
Wednesday– 8:30am- 4:30pm
Thursday– 8:30am – 6pm
Friday– 8:30am- 4:30pm

During the Summer (June through the first two weeks of August) the Office is open Monday through Thursday from 8am-5:30pm. The only exception is the week of July 4th , the Office is open that week (including Friday) 8am - 4:30pm.

How do I set up an appointment?

Many times it may be quicker and more beneficial to make an appointment to see a counselor. Please email us at financialaid@mail.montclair.edu or call us and let us know what day and time you would like to come in. Please let us know what you would like to speak about so we can ensure your appointment is with the appropriate counselor.

When will I get my refund?

Refunds are issued by the Student Accounts office. Generally refunds are issued after the Add/Drop period. For more information regarding your refund please contact Student Accounts.

How do I use my Financial Aid to purchase books?

If you have more aid than you need to pay your direct University costs (tuition, fees and if applicable, room and board) you will see a credit on your account. You can either receive this credit as an account refund from Student Accounts or you can move some or all of this money to your Red Hawk Dollars to purchase books from the bookstore. You will need to contact the Red Hawk Office to do this. Please note that all paperwork for this must be submitted to the Red Hawk Office, not Financial Aid.

When will my aid disburse?

During the academic year, Federal and State aid disburses at the end of the add/drop period for the semester if all of your requirements have been fulfilled. After the the add/drop period, aid will disburse on a rolling basis throughout the semester.

Summer Federal and State aid disburses towards the end of June.

All private loans will disburse according to the date set by your lender. For information regarding a private loan disbursement please contact your lender.

Requirements that can hold up your disbursements may include, but are not limited to:

  • not signing your Master Promissory note for Stafford loans and/ or Perkins loans
  • not completing entrance counseling for the Stafford loans and/or Perkins loan
  • failure to register full time to receive full time aid

If your aid has not disbursed and you have done all you think is required of you, please contact the Financial Aid as soon as possible.

What do I do if I have a special circumstance not reflected on my FAFSA?

If there is a change in a student’s household income that is not reflected on the FAFSA a student can submit a Request for Review Form.