Every month before the new semester starts, Montclair State University sends out an automated email as a reminder that term payments are due in a matter of weeks. Some students may be fortunate enough to have their parents help them pay or they personally take out loans to cover the cost.
However, a small number of students are lucky enough to receive a scholarship from the university. The students who happen to fall under the scholarship category are few and far between.
Even though only a selected few receive scholarships, many students at Montclair State feel they deserve to be rewarded monetarily. However, they often find themselves receiving no help from the school and struggle to balance the cost.
“I did well in high school, [but] received no financial aid or a scholarship,” said junior communication and media arts major Sandra Lavin. “The university looks at our family’s income to see how much our parents make, but they don’t know how many other expenses we all have or siblings we have going through school as well.”
Lavin believes she is not alone in academic achievement.
“There are plenty of students who do extremely well in high school and college and they should be rewarded no matter what,” Lavin said.
In 2017, Montclair State gave out $77 million in grants and scholarships to undergraduate attendees. According to the board of trustees from April, 75 percent of Montclair State students who received a merit-based scholarship in 2017-2018 demonstrated a financial need. A merit-based scholarship is defined as a financial reward that a college-bound student may receive based on high school success, according to mycollegeguide.org.
In a statement on montclair.edu, the university explained last year that it would be offering new opportunities to incoming freshmen of 2018 with a new Presidential Scholarship Program. The program was created to award “high-achieving” New Jersey students with merit-based scholarships.
Kevin Koscica is one of the students on campus that does not believe that the university is giving scholarships to more students, even with the new program. The senior pursuing a degree in computer science does not know a single person who received a scholarship.
“I definitely don’t believe [Montclair State] gave out $77 million to undergraduates,” Koscica said. “I would really like to see how the $77 million is split up between the students.”
Regarding this matter, the undergraduate admissions office refused to comment on behalf of Montclair State.
According to a poll conducted on the campus of Montclair State where 15 randomly selected students were asked if they receive any scholarships, five revealed they did.
Only one of the participants, Phoebe Kotch, a freshman that received a scholarship through the Presidential Scholars Program, disclosed that she did not receive any financial aid.
Through the Presidential Scholars Program, a student is awarded $5,000 for each of their four years of study. Montclair State will also give the student access to certain academic and career opportunities, such as faculty-student research partnerships, career counseling workshops, access to alumni mentors, internship opportunities, off-campus activities and retreats.
Montclair State is a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III school, which prevents student athletes from receiving athletic scholarships from the university. If any student athlete does receive money, it is either need- or merit-based funds, which are handled through financial aid and admissions. The athletics department cannot be involved in that process.
“We have to provide a report to NCAA every year about aid received by student athletes as compared to nonathletes,” said Montclair State’s Athletic Director Holly Gera. “Our percentages are the same.”
There are scholarship opportunities available through every department at Montclair
State. The Student Government Association is responsible for giving out over $25,000 worth of scholarships to undergraduates based on merit, academics, leadership, community service and financial need.
One student who does not receive a scholarship but still has a positive outlook on the situation is accounting major and resident assistant Jack Johnson.
“Montclair [State] has a lot of money to offer, and I think it’s a step in the right direction when it comes to affordable education,” Johnson said. “It definitely makes a difference to those students who receive a scholarship.”
Johnson explained that Montclair State offers the opportunity for upperclassmen to apply to become a resident assistant, which he thinks is just as helpful as a scholarship.
“It is a great opportunity to learn and grow as well as get involved and connect with the students at Montclair State,” Johnson said. “As a resident assistant at Montclair [State], they pay for you to live on campus as well as give you a stipend. Since I didn’t receive a scholarship myself, that was an added bonus for sure.”
Another department that offers scholarships is the College of the Arts. It offers different scholarships, such as CART Advisory Board Talent Award, Jeanne Wade Henningburg Scholarship, Don and Judy Miller Scholarship, and the Cento Amici Scholarship. Any student can apply for scholarships, as long as they meet the requirements of the scholarships and are enrolled in that department.