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Steps to Student Financial Aid – Undergraduate

To be on top of the Financial Aid process at Montclair State all you need to do is follow these 10 easy steps. Each step has the links necessary for you to complete the requirements for your aid to be processed. In addition, there is explanatory information for you to review.

Step 1: Apply for Admission

Make sure you are admitted into a Degree Seeking Program (Bachelor of Arts/Science)

  • You must be fully admitted before your financial aid can be processed. Students accepting student loans must be unconditionally admitted to a degree program and must be registered for six credits or more.
  • Send in your official FINAL transcripts from your high school and any college transcripts.
  • Send your SAT and ACT to Montclair State University AND take the placement test (undergraduates only) at the Academic Success Center located in Webster Hall, Room 302. For more information go to the Academic Success Center website.
  • Meet with the academic advisor for your program.
  • For more details please visit the Admissions Website or contact them at 973-655-4444.

Step 2: Apply for Financial Aid

  • Log on to the FAFSA website and apply for aid.
  • Montclair State School Code is 002617.
  • Students AND parents should electronically sign with FSA ID.
    • To receive NJ State Grants you will have additional questions to answer. Please visit the HESAA website.
  • When the FAFSA is complete according to the US Department of Education, Montclair State receives an electronic report in about one week.
    • This report is known as an ISIR. It is required to begin the school’s financial aid process.
  • Some students may be selected for federal (or state) verification.
    • If your FAFSA was selected for federal verification you/your parents will be required to submit a federal tax return transcript, a Verification Worksheet and occasionally additional documents. These documents can be found on our Forms web page. NJ Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) may also request documents from you/your parents; they will notify you directly.
    • The sooner you can follow up on requests for information, the sooner you will have accurate results on your Financial Aid Application.

Step 3: Review your Financial Aid Awards

  • You will receive a notice to check your financial aid on NEST.
  • Share this information with your parents; FERPA laws prevent this office from discussing your awards with anyone other than you.
  • Admitted freshmen will receive a “Preliminary” award notice.
  • Awards may be revised if verification results in correction of your FAFSA information.
  • Your award package may include grantsloanswork-study.
  • You are always offered the MAXIMUM awards allowable based on the FAFSA and full-time enrollment.
  • If the FAFSA information is outdated due to a change in circumstances, your family may Request a Review of these special circumstances. But the review cannot be completed until after you accept admission to the University.
  • If you choose to attend part-time, your financial aid will be adjusted.
  • Scholarships are not offered by the Financial Aid Office, they are awarded to students by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

Step 4: Estimate the Costs

  • There are estimated fall/spring costs provided by the Financial Aid Office (on NEST).
  • These costs, known as the Cost of Attendance, cover real charges for two semesters. They also cover some estimated expenses (books, living allowances, transportation, miscellaneous personal expenses).
  • Your bill will represent Actual Charges for each semester (tuition, fees, room and board, Red Hawk dollars).
  • The explanation for the difference between the Cost of Attendance and the Actual Charges is that the federal government allows students to receive financial aid and loans up to the Cost of Attendance but not over the Cost of Attendance.
  • Each semester bill will show all financial aid to be deducted.
  • You will owe the remaining balance.

Step 5: Accept, Reduce, Decline Loan(s) or Work-Study

  • Loans have to be repaid after you leave school.
  • You must accept your loan(s) by logging into NEST. Please click on the Award Offer tab to accept, decline or change the amounts.
  • To get your work-study funds you must find a job on campus. Job listings can be found on the Career Services Web page.

Step 6: Make a Plan to Pay the Bill

  • Financial Aid deducted from the bill is not credited to your account after the 10th day of class.
  • Student Accounts waits until after this week before they assess late fees and other penalties.
  • Bill balances after financial aid deductions are due when indicated on the billing statement on NEST.
  • There are many options for paying the remainder of your bill.
    • Bursar options can be found on the Payment Options webpage.
    • Or check Steps 7 and 8 for other types of loans.

Step 7: Other Possible Loans

  • Students and families requiring additional assistance may apply for private educational loans.
  • Financial institutions provide these loans and the requirements of each lender are different.
  • These loans typically require a co-signer for a student-borrower.
  • These loans have varying interest rates and repayment plans.
  • Students and co-signers need to seek out the loan and complete the application process.
  • Once the student loan application is approved by the lender, the lender requests the school to certify the student’s eligibility.
  • You can view a historical list of Private Loans that Montclair State University has accepted previously.

Step 8: Complete Direct Loan Counseling and Master Promissory Note

  • Log on to the Student Loans website and complete the required master promissory note and entrance counseling. Freshman and Transfer students must complete this requirement.
  • Learn the Stafford Loan basics (loan limits).
  • You have rights and responsibilities as a borrower of federal loans. This is all explained to you throughout the entrance counseling.
  • Loans must be repaid when you are no longer in school or registered less than part-time.

Step 9: Need More Help from Government?

  • Federal Parent [PLUS] Loans are available to parents of undergraduate students. Parents can borrow up to the Cost of Attendance (See Step 4 for explanation) but may need less.
  • Parents must complete a Direct Loan Promissory Note on the Student Loans website with their Federal PIN ID.
  • PLUS Loans require credit checks as part of the application process.

Step 10: Stay Up-to-date

  • Read your emails on your Montclair email account.
  • Check NEST regularly for financial aid information, billing information, registration information and lots of other information.
  • Check FAQs.
  • Check the website for Policies and Procedures.
  • Check spotlight for new information, bulletins and ALERTS.
  • Keep up with your assignments on Canvas.
  • To clear up problems, give your parent permission to discuss specific issues by completing a FERPA Release Form.
  • Visit Red Hawk Central.