Students sitting on the third floor of the Student Center studying and having conversations.

Financial Aid Application Process

How Do I Apply for Financial Aid?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is available for completion beginning in October. When you file your FAFSA electronically it will be submitted to the Department of Education and to the schools you select on the FAFSA. Ideally the FAFSA should be completed after you and your parents have each completed the federal income tax returns for the prior year because those figures are needed to answer questions on the form. The FAFSA is used to determine eligibility for all federal programs, which include student loans. To be considered for state programs, please fill out the information needed by the State of New Jersey.

Please Note: Dreamers do NOT need to fill out the FAFSA. Dreamers DO need to complete the NJ Alternative Application for Financial Aid. For information about financial aid options for NJDreamers, visit our New Jersey Dreamers web page.

In order to complete the FAFSA online you will need a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID. If you do not already have a FSA ID, create one now. Parents of dependent students also need to apply for a FSA ID. The FSA ID will allow you to sign the FAFSA electronically.

Visit the Department of Education blog: 8 Steps to Filling Out the FAFSA Form

How Is Financial Need Determined?

Each college or university develops an estimate of how much it will cost for you to attend school including tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, personal expenses, transportation and miscellaneous expenses. This is called your Cost of Attendance and it will vary from one institution to another. It also varies depending on whether you are a graduate or an undergraduate student and if you are living on campus or off campus.

To determine your financial need, your expected family contribution (which is calculated by submitting the FAFSA) is subtracted from the cost of attendance.

Your Financial Aid Package

Once we receive the results of your FAFSA and other required forms, we will create your financial aid package based on your financial need. It is Montclair State’s policy to award scholarships and grants first, followed by employment and loans for which you qualify.

A financial aid award letter outlining the financial aid included in your package will be prepared for you and made available on NEST. This notice will include general information about each award offered and instructions for rejecting each awards you do not want. Some awards (e.g., parent loans – PLUS) may require supplemental applications.


When you receive your Student Aid Report, you may see the following message on the comments page:

“Your application has been selected for review in a process called verification. You must submit to your school signed copies of certain financial documents.”

If you receive this message, you have been selected for a process called verification. You will need to submit copies of your and your parent(s) (if dependent) federal tax return transcripts for the prior year along with either the Dependent or Independent Verification Worksheet.

Your financial aid will not be credited to your account until you submit all required documents and verification is completed.

Receiving Your Financial Aid

The Student Accounts Office is responsible for crediting your financial aid to your student bill. Your financial aid is applied directly to institutional charges (tuition, fees, room and board). Any excess funds will be available to you within 14 days of the date the credit balance occurs. The Student Accounts Office will notify you when excess funds create a credit balance. The notice will be sent to your Montclair State email address. Any questions about billing or confirming registration, and not about financial aid, should be directed to them.

Special Circumstances/Request for Review

While the process of determining your financial aid eligibility is basically the same for all applicants, there is some flexibility for specific circumstances. If you think you have a special circumstance, please go to the Request for Review page.