Coronavirus (COVID-19) Financial Aid and Billing FAQs
In accordance with the most recent announcement by the University of Maine and the University of Maine System, the UMaine Financial Aid is committed to providing as much information to help students and families understand any potential financial impacts. Additional information regarding UMaine’s response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) can be found at umaine.edu/coronavirus.
Please monitor this website frequently for important financial aid and billing updates.
What is the CARES Act?
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes a Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) that provides emergency funding to higher education. Of those funds allocated to institutions, a specific percentage must go directly to students in the form of emergency financial aid grants (HEERF-student share) for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 crisis.
How much CARES Act funding will be going to UMaine students?
Of the University of Maine’s total CARES Act funding allocation, $3.8 million of these dollars will go directly to students.
UMaine will distribute 85% of the allocation directly to degree-seeking, undergraduate and graduate students who are Title IV eligible (studentaid.gov/understand-aid/eligibility/requirements) based on the number of credit hours a student is taking in the current semester. Distribution of payments to students will be grouped by the following tiers:
|12-plus credit hours||
|Tier 2||6- 11.99 credit hours||
|Tier 3||0.1 – 5.99 credit hours||
6 -plus credit hours
3 – 5.99 credit hours
0.1 – 2.99 credit hours
UMaine has reserved 15% of the available CARES Act funding for supplemental emergency payments for students with additional critical financial needs as a result of the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. Students with additional financial need as described above can submit an application using the link below.
Who is eligible for CARES Act Payments?
Eligible degree-seeking undergraduate and degree-seeking graduate students who are Title IV eligible.
Students NOT eligible include:
- non-degree students;
- International or DACA students;
- Employees receiving UMS Employee Tuition benefits;
- Early college students; and
- Students exclusively enrolled in online programs on March 13, 2020 *
* only excludes students enrolled in online PROGRAMS. Students taking online courses by choice would be eligible.
Who needs to complete the CARES Act funding Self-Certification?
Students who are potentially eligible for federal Title IV funds and have NOT completed a FAFSA for 2019-2020 OR 2020-2021, must complete a CARES Act Self-Certification, in order to receive a payment of these emergency funds. Students who are required to complete the Self-Certification will be notified in their MaineStreet Message Center – and the Self-Certification will be an item on the MaineStreet To Do List to complete.
Is there a deadline that must be met for students who must complete the CARES Act funding Self-Certification, in order to receive their payments?
The CARES Act Self-Certification must be completed by July 31, 2020 in order to receive funds
To view the guidance released by the IRS regarding the tax implications of the CARES Act payments please visit: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/faqs-higher-education-emergency-relief-fund-and-emergency-financial-aid-grants-under-the-cares-act
If you have any questions regarding your CARES Act payment, please contact the University of Maine Office of Student Financial Aid at:
Phone (Voicemail): 207-581-1324
Or Schedule a Zoom Financial Aid Advising Appointment at: https://umaine.edu/stuaid/advising/
(updated 5/5/20 2:05pm)
What is the University of Maine on-time Financial Aid Verification document submission deadline?
To support new and continuing University of Maine students, the Office of Student Financial Aid will be extending the on-time Financial Aid Verification Deadline. Students who submitted a 2020-2021 FAFSA by March 1, 2020, and are required to submit additional information to the Office of Student Financial Aid, will have until June 1, 2020 to submit completed documents and keep an on-time filing status. (updated 4/21/2020 1:43pm)
Will I be able to contact the Financial Aid Office with questions?
Per the March 17, 2020 updated from the University of Maine System Chancellor, the University of Maine Office of Student Financial Aid will transition all services to remote/online modes. As a result, our physical location in Wingate Hall will be closed until at minimum May 31, 2020. Please see the information at the top of this page for the ways students and families can contact our office. (updated 3/18/2020 3:22pm)
What is the best way to contact a Financial Aid Advisor?
Financial Aid can be contacted via email at email@example.com phone at 207.581.1324. In addition, beginning Friday, March 20th, we will also be available via our live website chat and Zoom advising appointments. Continue to monitor this website for additional information. (updated 3/18/2020 3:24pm)
Will my financial aid change since all of my classes are now online?
In general, a student’s financial aid eligibility will not change if there is no change in the total number of credits that they are enrolled for the spring 2020 semester. (updated 3/11/2020 8:25pm)
What is the Pass/Fail option for Spring 2020?
The goal of a new, one-time only (spring semester 2020) pass/fail grading option for all UMaine undergraduate classes is to assume a student-centric approach and provide a choice that maintains as best we can the academic integrity and learning outcomes at the end of this term. It is recognized that some students will be striving to improve their GPA, while others may be more concerned with keeping pace with their classes under changing circumstances or living in conditions that may not be conducive to studying or learning. (updated4/21/2020 1:43pm)
How does Pass/Fail grading impact continuing merit scholarship eligibility?
For continuing Merit Scholarship eligibility, students must meet the cumulative GPA required by their particular scholarship(s) along with other renewal criteria. Since there is no GPA associated with pass/fail classes, this grading option will not impact students’ current cumulative GPA. Continuing merit scholarship eligibility is reviewed at the end of the spring semester. Students not meeting the renewal requirements will receive a notification from the Office of Student Financial Aid which will give information regarding submitting an appeal. If the appeal is approved, the student will be placed on Merit Scholarship probation for the following semester. If the appeal is not approved, the student will not be eligible for their scholarship until they meet the requirements of their particular scholarship(s). (updated 4/21/2020 1:43pm)
Should graduate research assistants and graduate teaching assistants continue to report to work like other university employees?
Graduate research and teaching assistants should communicate with their supervisors for further direction on remote work accommodations. (updated 3/18/2020 3:25pm)
Can I stay in the residence halls this semester?
Unless there are approved extenuating circumstances, students are expected to move out of their rooms. An exemption request form is available on the Student Life website. (updated 3/13/2020 8:39am)
I was supposed to Study Abroad for the spring 2020 semester and my program was either cancelled or I was required to leave my host country because of COVID-19 – how will my financial aid be affected?
The Office of Student Financial Aid is working closely with the Office of International Programs to identify all Study Abroad students affected by program cancellations and changes. Effected students will be handled on an individual basis to determine the potential effects on the student’s financial aid eligibility. (updated 3/11/2020 8:25pm)
Will there be adjustments to my bill for on-campus room and board charges?
In an effort to minimize financial impact on students and families, room and board adjustments for those students who have checked out with their Residence/Student Life Office will be posted to students’ accounts based on an effective date of March 13, 2020. To ensure room and board adjustments are processed timely, students are encouraged to contact their Residence/Student Life Office to complete proper check out. No other action is required to receive a room and board adjustment.
Adjustments will be posted to the students’ existing account and will reduce the amount owed. If the adjustment results in a credit balance, refunds will be processed and disbursed to students.
The room and board adjustment process is expected to be completed by March 31, 2020.
The University of Maine System recommends that students enroll in direct deposit to expedite receipt of refund dollars. In the event you are unable to participate in direct deposit, the University of Maine System recommends reviewing and updating your refund address on MaineStreet. (updated 3/17/2020 2:39pm)
Will Student Employees be paid for the rest of the Spring 2020 semester?
The following guidelines will be used for two categories of hourly-paid student employment, federal work-study funded positions and department (regular-paid) funded positions.
Federal Work-Study Funded Student Employees:
Our campuses have developed a plan to ensure that federal work-study funded student employees are still able to meet their needs through the means of a paycheck if their ability to continue working has been halted. This applies to any hourly paid, federal work-study funded student employment positions that meet all of the following criteria:
- Student employees that had been actively working in the spring semester of 2020,
- The student employment position was federal work-study funded, and
- The student employee is unable to return to, or continue with, work due to COVID-19 related closures.
Payments for the remaining pay periods of the spring 2020 semester will be based on average hours calculated by evaluating actual hours worked and approved by the supervisor for the 6 week period from January 26, 2020 until March 7, 2020. Payments will be issued bi-weekly, beginning April 10, 2020, until the student’s federal work-study award has been depleted, or until May 2, 2020 – whichever occurs first.
Kindly note that based upon federal guidelines and institutional policy, students must maintain a minimum of half-time enrollment (6 credits for undergraduate students and 3 credits for graduate students) during the spring term in order to continue to be eligible for federal work-study funding.
Department (regular-paid) Funded Student Employees:
Our campuses plan to assist department-funded student employees – to be able to meet your needs if your ability to continue working has been halted. This applies to any student employment positions that meet all of the following criteria:
- Undergraduate or graduate, hourly-paid student employee who has been actively working in the spring 2020 semester,
- The student employment position was department funded, and
- The student employee is unable to return to continue work due to COVID-19 related closures.
Payments for the remaining pay periods of the spring 2020 semester will be based on average hours calculated by evaluating actual hours worked and approved by the supervisor for the 6 week period from January 26, 2020 until March 7, 2020.
Based on this average, the student will receive their first payment for the period of March 15, 2020 to April 4, 2020. If a student employee has worked during this period, actual hours worked will be subtracted from the established weekly average hours for the purpose of determining the remaining payable earnings. Payments will be issued bi-weekly, beginning April 10, 2020 through May 2, 2020.
We encourage you to contact the Office of Student Employment with any questions regarding this; we are readily available by email at firstname.lastname@example.org (University of Maine). Please make sure to contact us from your @maine.edu email so that we are able to provide information specific to you and your concerns!
(updated 4/21/2020 1:43pm)