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

Steps to Student Financial Aid – Graduate

Step 1
Apply for Admission

If you wish to be considered for a graduate assistantship, indicate that on your graduate admissions application.

Step 2
Apply for Financial Aid

Make sure you are admitted into a degree seeking program or an eligible certificate or certification program.

Create or recover your FSA ID. You will need this username and password to apply for federal financial aid.

File the FAFSA online.

  • Montclair State University School Code is 002617

Students must be enrolled at least half-time to receive federal aid.

  • Graduate students who are completing a master’s degree and above must take a minimum of three credits to be considered half-time.
  • Teacher Certification students must take a minimum of six credits to be considered half-time.
Step 3
Review Your Financial Aid Notifications
  • You will receive a notice to review your Financial Aid on NEST.
    • Information regarding this account will be provided to you in your Admissions acceptance letter.
  • You are always offered the MAXIMUM awards allowable based on the FAFSA and full-time enrollment (six or more credits). 
    • Most graduate students are eligible for $20,500 in unsubsidized Direct Stafford student loan funds.
    • Offered aid is estimated and subject to change if your enrollment falls below full time and/or your eligibility changes.
  • You cannot receive more aid than your total Cost of Attendance (direct and indirect expenses).
  • If you are interested in scholarship opportunities, please visit the Graduate School website.
Step 4
Estimate Your Costs

The estimated fall/spring costs provided by the Financial Aid Office are known as the Estimated Cost of Attendance. The Estimated Cost of Attendance ESTIMATES charges for tuition and fees (direct expenses) and also includes out-of-pocket expenses like books and supplies, transportation and miscellaneous expenses for two semesters (indirect expenses).

Your bill on NEST will represent Actual Charges (direct costs) for each semester (tuition, fees, room and board, if applicable) and transfer of excess funds to Red Hawk Dollars.

Step 5
Make a Plan to Pay Your Bill
  • You are responsible for any outstanding balance that is not covered by your loans by the payment deadline (indicated on the billing statement on NEST or see the Payment Deadlines page.
  • You may utilize the payment plan offered by Student Accounts: Payment Plan details.
  • Students in graduate degree programs can borrow additional funds from:
    • Graduate PLUS Loan Program – see GRAD PLUS details.
    • Private Educational Loan Program – see Private Educational Loan details.
      • Both these loan options require a credit worthy borrower/cosigner to be approved.
  • If you are interested in scholarship opportunities, please visit the Graduate School website and ScholarshipUniverse.
  • Do NOT rely on your aid to be available to pay rent or other bills early in the semester.

Financial aid is not credited/deducted from the bill until after the 10th day of classes and your professors have confirmed you have attended class.

Refunds will be processed after the money has been credited to your student account.

Step 6
Accept, Reduce or Decline Loan(s)
  • You must accept your loan(s) on NEST by clicking on the “Award Accept Offer” tab.
  • You may accept the full amount or reduce the amount needed per semester on NEST.
Step 7
Complete Direct Loan Counseling and Master Promissory Notes

These are for your Stafford and Graduate PLUS loans

  • Log on to the Student Loans website and complete the requirements for your loans (recommended).
    • Complete the Entrance Counseling
      • There is separate entrance counseling for the Stafford loan and the Graduate PLUS loan (if approved).
    • Complete the Master Promissory Note
      • There are separate Master Promissory Notes for the Stafford loan and the Graduate PLUS loan (if approved).
  • Your federal loans will not disburse to your account until all of these requirements are completed and this information has posted to our system (can take 7-10 days).
Step 8
Stay Up-to-Date
  • Read your emails on your Montclair State University email account.
  • Check NEST regularly for financial aid, billing, registration and other information.
  • Students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress to continue receiving aid.
  • If you have questions please contact the Financial Aid Office.