Montclair State Announces $1 Million Scholarship Award from the Give Something Back Foundation for a Debt-free Education for 50 Students in New Jersey

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Four N.J. mayors attend ceremony to applaud program that begins in ninth grade

Robert Carr donates $1 Million Scholarship Award to Montclair State University

“We are delighted and grateful that the Give Something Back Foundation is expanding its reach in northern New Jersey to help make a college education more affordable and accessible for deserving and talented low-income students.”

Fifty northern New Jersey high school students will be able to achieve their dreams of receiving a Montclair State University education thanks to a $1 million gift from the Give Something Back Foundation (GSBF). The award, which was presented by GSBF founder Robert Carr to Montclair State University President Susan A. Cole at a ceremony today, will enable eligible students to attend Montclair State at no cost for tuition, room or board.

Mayors from five New Jersey municipalities attended the event to show their support for the scholarship and mentoring program that is beginning with a cohort of this year’s ninth graders. The mayors in attendance were Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Montclair Mayor Robert D. Jackson, East Orange Mayor Lester Taylor ll and Orange Mayor Dwayne Warren.

“We are pleased to partner with Montclair State University to realize our vision of making a four-year college education available to qualified, hard-working and deserving students of modest means,” said Carr. “We target students who may not go to college because they have already made up their minds they won’t be able to afford it. Montclair State shares our unwavering commitment to helping these students obtain a high-quality education and achieve their full potential.”

In accepting the $1 million check, Cole thanked Carr and his foundation and noted that this program helps to support “Montclair State’s mission to create and sustain a learning community that is deeply and broadly reflective of the diverse population of New Jersey.

“We are delighted and grateful that the Give Something Back Foundation is expanding its reach in northern New Jersey to help make a college education more affordable and accessible for deserving and talented low-income students.”

This year, the GSBF expanded its program to include New Jersey when it entered into partnerships with Rowan University and The College of New Jersey. Today’s gift makes Montclair State the third New Jersey institution of higher education to partner with GSBF and puts the foundation on track to send 150 students from New Jersey to college at no cost as part of an overall initiative that is empowering more than 1,000 students across the country.

Carr, who is the founder, chairman and CEO of Princeton-based Heartland Payment Systems, traces the idea of the program to the $250 scholarship grant that he received from the Lockport (Ill.) Woman’s Club when he was a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. That money helped offset some of his college costs, and he vowed to someday give back to the club. Forty years later – on the organization’s 100th anniversary – Carr presented a $100,000 check for scholarships. Since then, GSBF has awarded more than 250 scholarships in Illinois – and 95 percent of those students have graduated college in four years.

This fall, the Give Something Back Foundation began holding informational sessions throughout New Jersey to identify high-achieving, Pell Grant-eligible high school ninth graders who might eventually be chosen for the foundation’s scholarship support. Students who apply for and are selected for the program will work with mentors who will advise and prepare them for college success. During their high school years, participating students will be expected to meet various GSFB criteria, such as maintaining a 3.0 average, enrolling in honors and AP courses and demonstrating good character. They must also meet Montclair State University’s admissions requirements to qualify for scholarship support. Once enrolled, the program will pay all tuition, fees and room and board costs not covered by other financial aid, so that the students will graduate from college debt-free.

The first class chosen for GSBF scholarships to Montclair State University will begin attending college classes in the fall of 2019.

For information about applying to the scholarship program, visit

About Robert Carr and Heartland Payment Systems
Mr. Carr built Heartland Payment Systems from a modest start-up with 25 employees in 1997 into a Fortune 1000 company that today employs more than 4,300. It is one of the largest payment processors in the United States. Heartland’s clients range from major retail chains and restaurants to mom-and-pop stores and websites to colleges’ and school districts in some of America’s largest cities.

In an age of increasing cyber assaults, Carr has led Heartland to become a gold standard in security strategy. After a remarkable recovery from the 2008 international hacking conspiracy, Heartland emerged as a champion in the fight against cybercrime.

Carr is the author of Through the Fires: An American Business Story of Turbulence, Triumph and Giving Back (Amazon, 2014), and he currently is working on his second book about helping young working-class people attend college without going broke.

For more information, visit or email njinfo(at)givesomethingbackfoundation(dot)org.

Montclair State University
Building on a distinguished 107-year history, Montclair State University is proud to be a leading institution of higher education in New Jersey. The University’s eight colleges and schools serve over 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students in more than 300 doctoral, master's and baccalaureate level programs. Situated on a beautiful, 250-acre suburban campus just 14 miles from New York City, Montclair State delivers the instructional and research resources of a large public university in a supportive, sophisticated and diverse academic environment.

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Suzanne Bronski