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Montclair CARES/HEERF Grant Program FAQ

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF II) and American Rescue Plan (HEERF III) are federal funding packages which include funds made available 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.

FAQ for Montclair CARES/HEERF Grant Program

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

Which Students Are Eligible to Receive the CARES/HEERF Emergency Relief Funding?

Students enrolled in classes at any time since the spring 2020 semester (as of March 13, 2020) are considered for eligibility for CARES/HEERF funds.  Based on revised guidance from the U.S. Department of Education, any student is considered eligible if they meet one of the two conditions for eligibility:

  • Student had additional expenses related to the disruption to campus caused by COVID-19 or
  • Student incurred additional expenses related to educational costs to attend Montclair (e.g. tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care) or child care, transportation, etc.).
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.
Do I Have to File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to Receive CARES Act Funds?

No. Any student who meets the eligibility criteria established by Montclair will be considered for funding.  We recommend that you file a FAFSA for your educational expenses as CARES/HEERF funds are limited. If you have not yet filed, please do so at

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

Institutions must prioritize grant funding to the neediest students using FAFSA or other data.  The amount of each grant will be determined on a case-by-case basis.  Grant funding is available on a first-come basis until funds are exhausted. Our intention is to assist as many students as possible while being sensitive to and following the U.S. Department of Education’s guidance.

If Approved, When Will I Receive Funding?

In most cases, funds are disbursed by Student Accounts and will be 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 to expedite the delivery of funds to you. Sign up for Direct Deposit.

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

In most cases, funds will flow through the account and be issued as a cash grant to the student without regard to any balance owed. You may use the funds to pay your balance once you receive the disbursement. The exception to this is the funds received under the Minority Serving Institution tranche which may be applied directly to your account balance.

In late 2021 and early 2022, some of the Institutional portion of the HEERF funds received by Montclair State University were used to re-engage undergraduate students who had stopped out of the institution with a balance due. These funds were applied directly to the account balance.

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?

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 seems to be quite large, we anticipate helping many students who meet the criteria established by the federal government and U.S. Department of Education. If your application is denied, you will be notified via your Montclair State University email. Again, our intention is to assist as many students as possible while following the U.S. Department of Education’s guidance.

Is There a Limit to How Much a Student Can Receive?

Yes.  Based on guidance from the U.S. Department of Education, we have established general limits to the amount of funding a student can receive from all sources of CARES/HEERF funding.  Individual amounts will vary based on a case-by case review of a student’s circumstances.

Can I Appeal the Decision Outcome?

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

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.