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Montclair CARES Act Grant Program FAQ

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress with overwhelming, bipartisan support and signed into law by President Trump on March 27, 2020. Part of the funding package was marked for colleges and universities to provide direct cash assistance to students who were impacted by the disruption of campus operations resulting from the COVID-19 health emergency. These funds may be used by students to pay for these expenses, including expenses related to the cost of attending the university.

Please Note: The CARES Act Application is no longer available as these funds have been exhausted. If you have not yet filed the 2020-2021 FAFSA for financial aid, we recommend you file now at

FAQ for Montclair CARES Act Grant Program

See below for answers to frequently asked questions regarding the Montclair CARES Emergency Grant Program.

CARES Act Unemployment Benefit

The CARES Act passed by Congress in March, 2020 created the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program (PUA) which extends unemployment benefits to many workers who are usually ineligible for these benefits. View More Information.

Which Students Are Eligible to Receive the CARES Act Grant?

Degree-seeking students enrolled in on-campus classes during the spring 2020 semester (as of March 13, 2020) who are eligible for federal financial aid were to apply for CARES Act funds. Students who met these criteria must also demonstrate that they incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations.

In accordance with the guidance issued from the U.S. Department of Education, international and undocumented students are not eligible to receive emergency grants.

What Expenses Will Be Considered?

Expenses incurred as a result of the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 health emergency such as housing, food, technology, childcare, medical/healthcare, transportation expenses. Here are some examples:

  • You lived on campus or used a meal plan and now you are experiencing housing or food insecurity
  • You routinely used the computer labs to do your schoolwork, but now need a computer to continue your education remotely
  • You needed to purchase a hotspot or internet access for your home
  • You received health services through our wellness center and now need to seek treatment elsewhere that is not covered by your insurance
  • The childcare center your dependent attended closed and you’ve had to hire alternative care so that you can continue your coursework
  • You incurred transportation expenses returning home or storing your personal belongings because you could not return to campus to retrieve them
If Approved, When Will I Receive Funding?

Applications were reviewed on a rolling basis. The deadline to apply was June 15, 2020.

Funds were disbursed through individual student accounts and processed as a refund. You may view the grant on your NEST portal under the Student Accounts tab. If you have not already done so, we recommend that you sign up for Direct Deposit with the Office of Student Accounts to expedite the delivery of funds to you. Sign up for Direct Deposit.

How Will Montclair Determine Who Can Receive CARES Act Funding and the Amount of an Individual Grant?

Institutions must identify students who incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the novel coronavirus. Students who were enrolled during the spring semester were eligible to apply.

The amount of each grant was determined on a case-by-case basis of need and the extent the loss of services impacted the student’s continued pursuit of their education.

Grant funding was available on a first-come basis until funds were exhausted. Our intention was to assist as many students as possible while being sensitive to need and following the U.S. Department of Education’s guidance.

Do I Have to File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to Receive CARES Act Funds?

Yes. We must have either the 2019-20 or the 2020-21 FAFSA on file to consider your application. If you have not yet filed, please do so at

Can I Appeal the Decision Outcome?

No, there are no appeals regarding the decision or the grant amount.

Will the Funds Applied to My Account Be Used as a Payment for an Existing Balance Due to Montclair?

No. Funds will flow through the account and be issued as a cash grant to the student without regard to the balance owed. The University may not apply the funds to your balance owed, even with your permission and request to do so. You may however use the funds to pay your balance once you receive the disbursement.

Are There any Restrictions on How I Use the Money?

The funds should be used to meet the expenses that will support the continued pursuit of your education.  You are not required to inform us of your decision.

Will These Funds Affect my Eligibility for Financial Aid now, or in the Future?

Will these funds affect my eligibility for financial aid now, or in the future?

The U.S. Department of Education determined that any aid received by victims of a declared emergency for purposes of providing financial relief will not be counted as income for the calculation of financial aid eligibility nor is this grant counted as aid received.

The State of New Jersey will consider this as income when evaluating a student’s eligibility for state Tuition Aid Grants (TAG) and other state aid programs administered by the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA).

Will Everyone Get Some of These Funds?

No. While the amount of funding that Montclair received seemed to be quite large, we anticipated helping many students who met the criteria established by the federal government and U.S. Department of Education. If your application was denied, you were notified via your Montclair State University email.