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

How Your Financial Aid is Calculated

The Cost of Attendance (COA) is an estimate of the total cost to attend Montclair and it’s used to set a limit on the amount of financial aid you can receive during the academic year (which federal regulations require us to do). This means your actual expenses may be different from what’s listed on your financial aid College Financing Plan or on NEST, and the total amount of your aid (including scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study) can’t exceed your total cost of attendance.

The COA includes estimates of tuition and fees, the average cost for books, course materials, supplies, and equipment, housing, food, transportation, and miscellaneous personal expenses. It is also based on whether or not you are a New Jersey resident, your program of study, and if you live on campus, off campus or with your parents while attending the University. It initially assumes full-time enrollment for most programs but will be reduced if you enroll as a part-time student.

  • Commuter students and fully-remote students will see that a cost for housing and food/meals is listed in your COA. Food and housing are considered indirect expenses even if you’re living at home with your parents or living off-campus independently. You may include the cost of a parking pass if you plan to commute to campus by car.
  • Resident students will likewise see additional indirect costs on their COA that go beyond the basic housing and meal charges. These items are included on the COA because you may be eligible to receive financial aid to help cover those costs. A meal plan may be required depending on your choice of on-campus residence. For more information regarding living on campus visit the Residence Life page and the Resident Student Living Guide.
  • Indirect costs (books, supplies, etc., travel, miscellaneous) are costs that aren’t charged directly by the University but you might still be able receive financial aid to help pay them. You may need a new laptop, software, etc. that might qualify as miscellaneous charges. Even if you live on campus, travel expenses can be included so you can return home for holidays and breaks.
    • If you have dependent care, computer or study abroad expenses please contact the Financial Aid Office to document allowable expenses which may serve to increase your COA.
    • If you are offered Federal Direct Loans an average of your mandatory loan fees will be automatically added to your COA.
    • If you have disability-related expenses please contact Financial Aid to ask about having your additional expenses considered. Disability-related expenses include but are not limited to personal assistance, equipment, and supplies. We may potentially include disability expenses in the COA that are not provided by other assisting agencies. We may also consult with the Disability Resource Center to confirm the average cost of such expenses.
    • Your COA can also include the cost of obtaining the first professional credential if you’re pursuing a field that requires licensure or certification in order to obtain employment. This cost must be incurred during a period of enrollment even if the exam is taken after the semester has ended.

Purchasing Books With Your Aid

Any aid you receive above and beyond your direct costs (like Tuition and Fees, Housing and Meals, etc …) will be refunded to you approximately two weeks after the add/drop period has ended (since add/drop may have an effect on your final Tuition and Fees). However, you’ll be expected to purchase your textbooks considerably earlier.

If you have funds in your aid package to support indirect costs and you’d like to use those funds to purchase textbooks at the beginning of the semester, you can transfer a portion of your aid package into Red Hawk Dollars for use in the University Bookstore. To start the process, please visit the Auxiliary Services Office in the Student Center Suite 1 (next to the Computer Lab).

If you do not have enough Red Hawk Dollars to cover the entire cost of the books you purchase, the remainder will be charged to your account. Charges that are not paid can result in holds and late fees. Questions regarding Red Hawk Dollars should be directed to Auxiliary Services.

Receiving Your Aid for Indirect Costs

Any funds not moved to Red Hawk Dollars will be sent to you as a refund approximately two weeks after the add/drop period has ended, (unless your financial aid disburses later). We encourage you to sign up for direct deposit via NEST to avoid lost checks and to receive your funds more quickly.

If you choose not to sign up for direct deposit, your check will be mailed to your current mailing address as registered in NEST. Checks cannot be picked up in the office. Refunds also cannot be issued prior to aid disbursing.

For questions and concerns regarding direct deposit and your physical check, please contact Student Accounts.