Frequently Asked Questions

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Applying for Financial Aid

How do I Apply for Financial Aid?

The University of Maine only requires one Financial Aid application for both undergraduate and graduate students: the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

What is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?

The FAFSA is a federal form which determines a student’s eligibility for Federal aid.  Based on the information provided, dependency status will be determined as well as the Expected Family contribution.  Both of these items will be used to determine aid eligibility.

What is a FSA ID and how do I get one?

Students, parents, and loan borrowers are required to use an FSA ID, made up of a username and password, to access certain U.S. Department of Education websites.  The FSA ID replaces the Student Aid PIN.  You will use your FSA ID to access your personal information on the following websites: FAFSA.gov, Studentaid.gov/login, NSLDS.ed.gov, Studentloans.gov.

To create or retrieve your FSA ID visit fsaid.ed.gov.

How do I know if I am a dependent student for financial aid purposes?

Dependency status is determined by the Federal Processing Center based on information provided on the FAFSA.  Financial Aid dependency is different than being claimed as a dependent on a tax return. To use the FAFSA Dependency Status Worksheet to determine what your status is, click here.

What is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

The U.S. Department of Education and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have collaborated to develop a tool that simplifies the completion of the FAFSA application.  The IRS Data Retrieval tool allows FAFSA applicants and parents to request and retrieve their tax data directly from the IRS.  Once this data is retrieved from the IRS, it can be transferred to the FAFSA application. For more information on the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, click here.

What if I haven’t filed my taxes yet?

Income estimates may be used, but you must update your FAFSA once you have completed your Federal income tax return.  Generally, the IRS Data Retrieval Tool will not be available until the beginning of February each year.

What is a Student Aid Report (SAR)?

The Student Aid Report is a document students are emailed or mailed by the Federal Processing Center after the FAFSA is processed.  Your SAR will list all of the answers you provided on the FAFSA. Click here for more information on the Student Aid Report.

What is the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)?

The information you reported on your FAFSA is used to calculate your Estimated Family Contribution, or your EFC. The EFC is used to determine your federal student aid eligibility and financial aid award.  Click here for more information on the Estimated Family Contribution.

How do I make corrections to my FAFSA?

If you have changes to make to the FAFSA, including if you filed using estimated information an if you want to add UMaine to your list of schools who receive your FAFSA, you will need to make corrections to your FAFSA. For instructions on making a correction to your FAFSA, click here.

 

What additional documents do I need to submit?

In order to comply with Federal regulations we may ask you to provide information that verifies the data you provided on your FAFSA.  For more information on the types of information we may request, click here.

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The Financial Aid Award

How is my financial aid award calculated?

Your financial aid award is unique to you.  Many things may impact your financial aid eligibility, including: your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC), number of classes you take each semester, your housing plans, and the number of credits you have earned toward your degree.  For more information on how the financial aid award is calculated, click here.

How does the financial aid office notify me about my financial aid package?

You will receive a paper letter when you’ve been awarded which will direct you to view and accept your award on MaineStreet. From that point forward, we will notify you via e-mail if you have anything you need to do in order to receive your aid, or if there have been changes made to your award.

What types of aid may I receive in my award as an undergraduate student?

As an undergraduate student you may receive an offer for the following aid in your award package: Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Grant, University of Maine Grant, Federal Perkins Loan, State of Maine Grant, Federal Work Study.  If you qualify for any of these awards, they will be a part of your Financial Aid Package.

What types of aid may I receive in my award as a graduate student?

As a graduate student you may receive Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan.

How do I accept my financial aid award?

Certain aid (scholarships, grants, assistantships, etc.) are automatically listed as accepted on your MaineStreet account.  If you wish to receive any other type of aid such as loans, you must accept them on MaineStreet.

Is there anything else I need to do to receive my aid?

There may be additional steps to take in order to receive certain types of aid:

Federal Loans – First-time borrowers are required to complete a Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling before receiving the loan funds.

Federal Work Study – You will need to find a job before being able to earn your Federal Work Study funds.

Can my award change?

Your award may change based on the following circumstances:

  • Corrections or updates to your FAFSA
  • Changes in your housing plans
  • Changes in your residency status
  • Changes in enrollment level each semester
  • Changes in your (or your family’s) financial circumstances
  • Receipt of additional assistance and/or scholarships
  • Receipt of additional information affecting eligibility
  • Discontinued attendance in classes
  • Withdrawal from all classes

Any time your award changes you will be notified by e-mail and you will be able to see the changes on your MaineStreet account.

Students are encouraged to notify our office as soon as any of the above circumstances occur.

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Scholarships

Do I need to report Outside Scholarships that I will be getting to the Financial Aid Office?

Students are required to report any and all additional resources to the financial aid office.  This includes any outside scholarships you may be receiving.  Click here for instructions on how to report Outside Aid to us via your MaineStreet account.

How do I search for additional scholarships?

If you are an incoming first-year at UMaine, we recommend you check with your high school’s guidance office.  They often have a listing of local outside scholarships that you can apply for.  All students can check with any local clubs or organizations they are a part of.  Also, check your with your employer (or your parent(s) employer) to see if they have any scholarship opportunities.

In addition, there are many scholarship search engines.  Click here to check out the list of websites that the Financial Aid Office recommends you use to search for scholarships.  Remember, wherever you are searching for scholarships, NEVER pay to search or apply for scholarships!

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Loans

What types of loans will I see in my financial aid package?

Based on eligibility students may see Federal Perkins Loans, Federal Direct Subsidized, and/or Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans in their financial aid award. These types of federal loans are loans in the student’s name and are guaranteed federal loans (no credit check or co-signer is required).

How do I complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN)?

If you are awarded either a Federal Perkins Loan or a Federal Direct Loan, and you are a first-time borrower, you will be required to complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN).  For instructions on how to complete the MPN, click here.

How do I complete Entrance Counseling?

Students who are first-time borrowers of Subsidized or Unsubsidized Federal Direct loans must complete entrance counseling before any funds can be released. Click here for instructions on how to complete Entrance Counseling.

When do I have to pay back the loans I am awarded?

Federal Perkins Loans have a 9-month grace period, which means you do not have to begin repayment until 9 months after you graduate or are no longer enrolled at least 1/2 time in college.

Federal Direct Loans have a 6-month grace period, which means you do not have to begin repayment until 6 months after you graduate or are no longer enrolled at least 1/2 time in college.

In addition to the grace period, Federal Perkins and Federal Direct loans are deferred (payment is not required) while you are enrolled at least half-time.

Interest that accrues on Unsubsidized Direct Loans is also deferred while you are enrolled, however there options available if you would like to make payments on the interest while you are in school.

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Additional Resources

What other types of loans can I apply for to help pay my bill?

Federal Direct PLUS Loans allow graduate students and parents of dependent undergraduate students to borrow up to the annual cost of education minus any financial aid. If a parent is denied a Parent Direct PLUS Loan based on credit, the student may be eligible for additional Direct Unsubsidized Loans.

Alternative Loans from private lenders are mostly credit-based loans and most will require periodic payments of principal and interest once disbursed. Interest rates vary, and a separate application is usually sent directly to the lender, which is then forwarded to our office for certification of the student’s status.

Does UMaine have a payment plan?

UMaine offers an installment tuition payment plan through Higher One.  For more information on enrolling in the Higher One installment payment plan, click here.

How do I find a job on-campus?

The Office of Student Employment offers services to students who want to work while they attend school. Whether you have Federal Work Study or not, and whether they want to work on campus or off, the Office of Student Employment is the place to start!

What is Federal Work Study?

The Federal Work Study Program provides students with the opportunity to work part-time and earn a bi-weekly paycheck.  Funds earned can be used to help pay education expenses. Work study funds are not applied directly to the student’s bill. For additional information, visit the Office of Student Employment website.

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Maintaining Financial Aid Eligibility

Do my grades impact my financial aid eligibility?

Federal financial aid regulations require financial aid recipients to make progress toward earning their degree, stay above specific GPA minimums and to complete the degree within a maximum time-frame. You can lose eligibility for aid if you are not doing well in your classes and/or if it is taking a very long time to earn your degree. For more information on our Satisfactory Academic Progress policy, click here.

What happens to my financial aid if I drop a course?

Your financial aid is determined by how many credits you are enrolled in. If you are planning on dropping a course, please check with the Financial Aid Office to determine how your financial aid will be impacted.

What happens to my financial aid if I withdraw completely from UMaine?

If you withdraw from all courses during a semester, the Financial Aid Office will perform calculations to determine what adjustments must be made to your financial aid.  You should contact your Dean’s office initiate the process of withdrawing from the University.

Can I get financial aid to help me cover a course that I have to retake?

Federal regulations allow for financial aid funds to pay for one repetition of a previously passed course. For more information about repeating coursework, click here.

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The Bill

How do I know if I have enough to pay for my education?

Click here to access the Estimating Your Semester Costs worksheet.  This worksheet will help you identify your costs, review your financial aid award to those costs to help you determine if you need to explore alternative funding.

How is my bill calculated?

The bill is calculated as your charges minus your aid. Your charges are considered direct costs and include:

  1. Tuition
  2. Fees
  3. Housing (on-campus)
  4. Meal Plan (on-campus)

For additional information on the types of charges you will see on your bill, check out the Bursar’s Office website at umaine.edu/bursar.

What does it mean if I have a negative balance on my bill?

If you have a negative balance on your bill, you have more financial aid than what your charges are and you are getting a refund. How you receive this refund depends on what you tell the Bursar’s Office to do with it. You can let the Bursar’s Office know what you’d like done with your refund using MaineStreet. You can either have it direct deposited into your bank account or held on your account for future charges. Click here for additional information.

What are Anticipated Resources and how do I report them?

When you have outside aid that is not listed on your award, you need to let the Bursar’s Office know the funds are coming so you can avoid a late fee on your bill. Reporting Anticipated Resources is not the same as reporting Outside Aid. Reporting Outside Aid lets our office know funds are coming in; Anticipated Resources lets the Bursar’s Office know the funds are coming. Click here for instructions on reporting your Anticipated Resources.

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