Step One: Apply for Assistance
To be considered for most types of assistance, you must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every year to be considered for federal aid. Select the school year you are applying for financial aid on the FAFSA.
Step Two: Complete Your File
Your file may be selected for verification. If so, a variety of documents may be required. These items will appear on your “to-do” list in TCNJ’s student system, PAWS. You will also receive requests and reminders via e-mail. Until we have all the information we need, you cannot receive an offer of financial aid. Required documents may include, but are not limited to:
Social Security Number Documentation
If you file your FAFSA with the wrong social security number, additional documentation will be required from you. Additional documentation will be required if you have changed your name but have not updated this with the Social Security Administration before filing the FAFSA. Be sure to indicate the correct name and social security number when you apply for admission.
Other Documentation Requirements
Please be aware that the need for additional documentation sometimes arises during the financial assistance process. We cannot continue processing your application until we have all the necessary information. As we review information, the status of your file may change. You should check your PAWS “To-Do List” regularly.
You may be asked to supply the following:
- Immigration and Naturalization Service documentation
- Proof of Selective Service registration
- Marriage licenses
- Separation documents
- Death certificates
- Birth certificates
- Veterans Administration documentation
- Federal tax transcripts
- Verification Worksheets
- Verification of Untaxed Income and/or Benefits
- Copy of your social security card
- Other documentation, as requested
You do not need to provide any of the above documents unless we request them.
Step Three: Accept Your Award
After you have filed the FAFSA, met the basic eligibility requirements, and completed your file, you will receive an award notification via e-mail from the OSFA. This award letter represents the maximum available aid you are eligible for.
View TCNJ’s Financial Aid Tutorials, which are grouped by topic, to help you navigate the process.
Your awards viewed on PAWS should include all your aid or funding sources. It should include all outside scholarships/resources, outside educational loans, veterans benefits, ROTC scholarships, vocational rehabilitation benefits, tuition waivers, merit awards, graduate assistantships, etc. If your awards do not indicate all of your funding sources, please notify the OSFA as soon as possible, as your award may have to be revised.
An award is based on specific information, including your status as in-state or out-of-state (residency), your housing status (on campus, with parents or relatives, or off campus), and your enrollment hours (full-time, three-quarter time, half-time, etc.). A change in any of these elements may affect your award.
If you plan to attend TCNJ in the Fall and Spring, your award should indicate financial aid for both semesters. If you attend only one semester, your award should be based only on that semester. Notify us immediately if you need to report such an enrollment change; you should then expect a revised award letter.
Some types of awards require that you complete additional forms or applications. Loans, in particular, require that you follow a specific application procedure. Your award only indicates your eligibility for a loan; unless you follow the correct procedures, you will never receive any funds from this source. If you have been awarded a loan and are a first-time borrower, you are required to complete both a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Loan Counseling (ELC) at StudentAid.gov. If your academic level (i.e., sophomore to junior) increases after a semester, you may be entitled to receive additional Federal Direct Stafford Loan funds. You must email our office to receive these additional loan funds.
If funds are not available, or if it is determined that you are no longer eligible for a fund awarded to you, the OSFA is not liable for any changes to your award or errors in your award.
An award may require revision, often due to additional information received or additional outside aid received. Any revised award overrides any previous aid offer if this is the case. This sometimes means that you must repay funds already received.
Step Four: Pay Your Bill
The Office of the Student Accounts sends e-mail billing notifications in July (Fall semester) and November (Spring semester). Bills are available online via PAWS. To access PAWS, you will need the student’s identification number.
All unpaid prior semester charges will appear on each bill. These prior charges must be paid before you can re-enroll. Read your bill carefully and follow all instructions. You must pay the amount due before the deadline, or you will incur late fines and/or your registration will be canceled. Paying the amount due before the deadline will confirm your scheduled registration. TCNJ bills by the semester. Fall bills are produced in July, and Spring bills are produced in November. Billing notifications are sent via e-mail. There are no paper bills.
Financial aid funds are not disbursed to a student’s account until the drop/add period ends each semester. If your financial aid application is complete and you have received an award notification, your financial aid for the semester will generally defer or credit all or a portion of the charges on your bill. For this reason, it is important that you complete the financial aid application process early and that you respond to requests for information immediately.
Certain aid sources are not applied/credited toward your charges. This includes aid that has been awarded but not accepted. This also includes Federal Work-Study and various other benefit/tuition payment programs.
Even though your bill may show a credit of financial aid funds, the aid is not disbursed to your student account until the funds are received at the end of the drop/add period. Refer to “Step Five” for important requirements before aid funds may be applied to your account.
Step Five: Receive Your Funds
If you have completed Steps 1 through 4, financial aid is generally applied to your student account at the end of the drop/add period each semester. If your financial aid exceeds your charges, you will receive a refund. Refunds become available approximately 7 working days after the disbursement of your financial aid. This amount is delivered to you for use for school-related or living expenses. Eligible students will receive an e-mail from the Office of Student Accounts when their refund has been processed.
Students are encouraged to enroll in direct deposit by clicking on the PAWS tutorial page and selecting “How to Sign Up for Direct Deposit.”
Students who did not enroll in direct deposit will pick up refund checks on the dates indicated in the e-mail in the Administrative Services Building, Room 201.
Students are required to provide yearly award amounts and descriptions of any grants and scholarships received from sources outside The College of New Jersey. This includes (but is not limited to) National Guard, V.A. Education Benefits, Vocational Rehabilitation, any tuition/educational expense benefits, and/or private grants or scholarship assistance. Students are required to submit the outside scholarship information electronically by accessing their PAWS account. Navigate to Main Menu, Student Self-Service, Campus Finances, and Report Private Scholarships. Enter the name of the Scholarship, the name of the donor of the Scholarship (if different from the name of the Scholarship), and the scholarship amount. There is a place to provide additional information about the scholarship if necessary. Please read the instructions on the form to ensure the process goes smoothly. Private scholarship(s) will appear on your PAWS account with your other financial aid award(s). The amount will be included in “pending aid” for 30 days or until the funds are received, whichever comes first. Students are responsible for ensuring that private scholarship check(s) are sent to TCNJ.
Any outside scholarship check you receive should be endorsed, if necessary, and forwarded to the Office of Student Accounts. Most donors wish to forward checks directly to TCNJ. Please instruct your donor to send your check to the Office of Student Accounts and to include on the scholarship check: the name of the scholarship, the term(s) for which the award is made, and your complete legal name and PAWS ID. If the donor does not provide instructions otherwise, the amount of the scholarship check will be divided and disbursed equally to you for the Fall and Spring terms. Outside scholarships totaling $1,000 or less will be credited toward the student account within one semester. Amounts greater than $1,000 will be divided and credited equally between the award semesters.
Checks payable to the student only or co-payable to both The College and the student will require endorsement. The Office of Student Accounts will notify you if you need to endorse an outside scholarship check. Checks payable to The College of New Jersey are only deposited into the student’s account.
If a student with an outside scholarship completely withdraws after the beginning of the term, funds are returned to all aid sources according to TCNJ’s Refund and Repayment Policy.
Note: Financial aid award packages containing federal, state, or institutional assistance CANNOT exceed the student’s Cost of Attendance. Students receiving outside assistance in combination with federal, state, or institutional assistance are subject to Cost of Attendance guidelines.
Federal Work-Study students are paid every two weeks for the hours they worked during the previous pay period. The College of New Jersey Payroll Office, Administrative Services Building distributes these checks to students. Direct Deposit of student payroll is available.
The main purpose of a graduate assistantship is to further the graduate student’s professional and/or academic development. While the graduate assistant’s duties may involve some clerical work, the assistantship is expected to be a meaningful learning experience. The graduate assistant’s responsibilities may include, but are not limited to, support of teaching, research, administration, and other professional activities. Efforts will be made to place students in areas related to their studies.
An application for a graduate assistantship must be filed with the Office of Graduate Studies and will be held on file for one year. Please resubmit an application for each year you wish to obtain an assistantship. The application will be available in January and due in April each year.
A limited number of graduate assistantships are available; therefore, the selection of graduate assistantships is competitive. The selection of graduate assistants is made by the respective departments offering assistantships.
Graduate assistantships are expected to serve as meaningful learning experiences while supporting TCNJ’s educational mission. They require 15 hours of work per week during the fall and spring semesters while the college is in session.
Graduate Assistants will receive a tuition waiver of $10,000.00 per academic year ($5,000 per semester for fall and spring only).
Only those full-time (minimum 9 credits/semester), matriculated graduate students in good academic standing with a minimum undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 are eligible for selection as a Graduate Assistant. A graduate student may be hired annually as a Graduate Assistant for a maximum of two years.
The Office of Graduate Studies may be reached at 609-771-2300.