The Office of Student Financial Aid administers a variety of Federal, State and University aid programs to help University of Maine students finance their educations. Office staff award, process, and disburse financial aid for University of Maine students, and advise students and their families, the campus community, and the general public on issues related to financial aid. Advisors are available on a walk-in basis between 10:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Student contact hours are weekdays throughout the year from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with expanded hours during peak seasons.
All correspondence concerning financial aid should be addressed to the Office of Student Financial Aid, 5781 Wingate Hall, Orono, ME 04469-5781. For assistance with the application process, status updates, or answers to other questions about financial aid, contact the office at (207) 581-1324, or via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Each year, The University of Maine offers a variety of academic scholarships to new, first-time students who enroll at the university as a full-time student during the fall semester based on their high school academic achievement and to continuing students based on their academic performance at UMaine. In Fall 2007, the Office of Admission awarded a total of more than $1 million in merit scholarships to new, first-time students (representing approximately 20 percent of the first-year class). All first-time students who apply for fall admission and are accepted during the Early Action admission process will be given priority consideration for merit scholarships awarded by the Office of Admission. Early Action candidates must have a complete admission application on file by December 15. Students who apply and are accepted during the fall Regular Rolling admission process (admission applications complete after December 15) will be considered for merit scholarships offered by the admission office on a funds available basis. Students interested in being considered for merit scholarships are encouraged to have a completed application on file in the admission office as early as possible in the admission cycle. Recipients are generally selected based on academic achievement as reflected by information contained in the completed Application for Admission. This information may include, but is not limited to, class standing, rigor of curriculum, grades, and standardized test scores. Merit scholarships are normally available from the Admission office only for students entering in the fall.
Some of the financial aid programs available to undergraduates pursuing their first bachelor’s degree include:
Federal Pell Grants are awarded based on need to eligible students enrolled in a degree program, and do not have to be repaid.
Federal Academic Competitiveness Grants (ACG) are awarded based on need to eligible students in their first or second year of study, who are enrolled full-time in a degree program. These grants do not have to be repaid.
Federal SMART (Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent) Grants areawarded based on need to eligible students in their third or fourth year of study, who are enrolled full-time in a degree program. These grants do not have to be repaid.
Federal Supplemental Grants are awarded based on exceptional need to eligible students enrolled in a degree program at least half-time, and do not have to be repaid.
University Grants are awarded based on need to eligible students enrolled in a degree program at least half time, and do not have to be repaid.
Scholarships are awarded to eligible students based on merit/talent and/or need as defined by the eligibility criteria for each scholarship, and do not have to be repaid.
Federal Work-Study is awarded based on need to eligible students enrolled in a degree program at least half-time, which gives students the opportunity to earn spending money and/or living expenses while gaining valuable work experience (job listings are available through the Office of Student Employment and Volunteer Programs).
Federal Perkins Loans are low-interest (5%) loans awarded based on need by the Office of Student Financial Aid to eligible students enrolled in a degree program at least half-time, and repayment is deferred while continuously enrolled at least half-time.
NOTE: No interest is charged until repayment begins; any break in continuous enrollment, such as leave of absence, will result in the student entering into the nine-month grace period, and repayment could begin before the student re-enrolls in a degree program at least half-time.
Federal Stafford Loans (subsidized and unsubsidized) are available through banks, credit unions, and other lending institutions, to eligible students enrolled in a degree program at least half-time who have applied for federal financial aid, up to the maximum allowable amount of loan based on grade level (see chart in section entitled “Grade Level”). First-time borrowers of a Federal Stafford Loan must complete an Entrance Interview before the loan proceeds will be released. Entrance Interviews can be completed on the web or in person. To complete the requirement on the web, connect through the Office of Student Financial Aid’s website, located at www.umaine.edu.
NOTE: Subsidized loans are made to students with need, while unsubsidized loans are made to students with partial/no subsidized loan eligibility; federal regulations specify annual loan limits based on grade level; actual eligibility may be less than the annual maximum depending upon enrollment level and the amount of all other educationally-related assistance, if any; repayment of principal is deferred for both subsidized and unsubsidized loans while enrolled at least half-time; interest rates for loans first disbursed after 07/01/06 are at a fixed rate of 6.8%; interest begins to accrue or to be paid by the student at the time of principal repayment for any subsidized portion of Federal Stafford Loan, and immediately after disbursement on any unsubsidized portion; any break in continuous enrollment, such as a leave of absence, will result in the student entering into the six-month grace period, and repayment could begin before the student re-enrolls in a degree program at least half-time.
To be eligible for most types of Federal, State and University financial aid, each student must:
- be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
- have earned a high school diploma or GED
- be offered admission to a University of Maine degree program
- not be in default on a previous federal educational loan program
- continue to be in good academic standing
- continue to make satisfactory progress toward a degree (see Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid Recipients)
Most types of financial aid require at least half-time enrollment (6 credits or more) each semester. Financial aid is awarded based upon actual credit load each semester, regardless of official University status. Each student’s enrollment level (see chart in section entitled “Enrollment Level”) is verified at the end of the Add/Drop period each semester; financial aid eligibility is recalculated and awards are adjusted if necessary. The student is notified any time the financial aid award changes.
Federal, state and university financial aid programs are not available for non-degree enrollment. Some lending institutions offer loan programs to students who are currently taking classes in non-degree programs. Further information is available upon request.
Most University of Maine students remain eligible to be considered for financial aid until they have completed their first bachelor’s degree. However, eligibility is impacted by academic performance. To maintain eligibility for financial aid, each student must make progress toward a degree according to the University’s Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid Recipients Policy, measured in terms of both Grade Point Average (GPA) and length of time it takes to reach completion. See the section entitled “Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid Recipients” for more information on this policy.
Both the Federal Perkins Loan and Federal Stafford Loan programs place limits on the total amount that can be borrowed by any student, called “aggregate” limits. These limits are specified in the U.S. Department of Education’s Student Guide, available for free from the Office of Student Financial Aid, or from the Department of Education’s financial aid web site (www.ed.gov/prog_info/SFA/StudentGuide/).
To enable the Office of Student Financial Aid to determine the amount and types of assistance each student is eligible to receive, students are required to apply for financial aid. The University of Maine requires only one financial aid application: the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Continuing students who applied for financial aid during the previous academic year should receive a reminder letting them know that their Renewal FAFSA can be accessed electronically with their PIN (Personal Identification Number). Students apply for financial aid each year, using either a FAFSA or a Renewal FAFSA, but not both.
FAFSA application data can be submitted over the Web (www.fafsa.ed.gov). FAFSA on the Web is available to all applicants, whether they have applied in previous years or not. To access the previous year’s financial aid application data using Renewal FAFSA on the WEB, a PIN is required. Anyone can request a PIN at: www.pin.ed.gov. Your PIN will be e-mailed to you within 1-5 days or mailed to your permanent address within 7-10 days if no e-mail address is provided. Web applicants must sign their application. Signatures from students and their parents (if the student is dependent) must be provided before the FAFSA can be processed. There are two ways in which the application can be signed: both the student and the parent can use their individual PIN to electronically sign the FAFSA/Renewal FAFSA or a paper signature page can be printed from FAFSA/Renewal FAFSA on the Web, that then needs to be signed and mailed to the address provided. Students should note the confirmation number that is given when the FAFSA/Renewal FAFSA is submitted.
Certain types of financial aid, including University Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Work-Study and Federal Perkins Loan, that the University of Maine has available are limited. Consequently, even students who are otherwise eligible will not initially be considered for these funds unless they meet our “priority filing” deadline of March 1. To meet our “priority filing” deadline, the student’s FAFSA (or Renewal FAFSA) must be received at the federal processing center by the March 1 deadline prior to the start of the Fall Semester for which the student wishes to receive financial assistance. We recommend submitting the FAFSA by February 15, and use of the Response Postcard is strongly encouraged for those who file a paper application. Financial aid is still available for applicants who apply after the deadline, but may be limited.
After applying, the student will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR), or an e-mail that tells them how to access their SAR on the Internet, from the federal processing center. The student is expected to review the SAR and make any necessary corrections immediately, or contact the University of Maine Office of Student Financial Aid for assistance. As long as the University of Maine is listed on the SAR in the school section, the Office of Student Financial Aid will receive the application data at approximately the same time. The application will be reviewed and the student will be notified if any additional documentation (such as tax returns, verification forms, or other information) is required.
Once the student’s file is considered complete, an Award Notification will be made available to the student. The student should accept (or reject) each type of aid offered, and follow all instructions to ensure continued processing and disbursement of funds to the student’s account at the University of Maine Bursar’s Office.
The following definitions are used to determine grade level when awarding financial aid and when certifying student loan eligibility.
|Degree Credits Earned So Far
||Maximum Stafford Loan Per Year
| Less than 24
| 24 - 53
| 54 - 83
| 84 or more
NOTE: Federal regulations limit students who have already earned a bachelor’s degree to only Federal Work-Study, Federal Perkins Loans, and Federal Stafford Loans.
The following definitions are used to describe a student’s enrollment level when awarding financial aid and when certifying student loan eligibility.
|Credits Per Semester
| 12 or more
|| Less than half-time
NOTE: Students participating in cooperative employment programs, internships and field experience may not be eligible for financial aid unless they are enrolled at least half-time. Financial aid eligibility may be reduced for students who audit one or more classes during any semester.
Changes to awards can occur even after a financial aid award has been offered, and aid can be retracted even after it has been posted to a student’s account with the Bursar’s Office. Students are notified whenever their financial aid award is adjusted. Changes to awards may be necessary at any time during the academic year due to any or all of the following circumstances:
- changes in enrollment level each semester
- auditing a course
- withdrawal from all classes
- discontinued attendance in classes
- corrections and updates to original application data
- receipt of additional information affecting continued eligibility
- changes in housing plans
- changes in residency status
- changes in student and/or family circumstances
- receipt of additional assistance and/or scholarships
Students are encouraged to contact the office to discuss the impact on their financial aid eligibility before their status changes, if at all possible.
Summer Session is considered to be the end of the University’s academic year. To be eligible for Summer Session aid, students must have applied for federal financial aid for the previous year. For example, students applying for financial aid for Summer Session 2008 must complete the 2007-2008 FAFSA. Generally, financial aid is limited to any remaining Federal Pell Grant (if eligible) and/or any remaining Federal Stafford Loan eligibility (subsidized and/or unsubsidized). Federal Work-Study may also be available, and requires a separate application that is available early in the spring semester and must be turned in prior to the deadline listed on the application. Students are encouraged to contact the Student Financial Aid Office to request further information. The best time to discuss specific eligibility is midway through the spring semester and after the student is pre-registered.
If a student withdraws from the university after the semester begins, federal regulations stipulate that financial aid eligibility must be re-evaluated and pro-rated based on the portion of the semester the student completed. Eligibility for continued deferment of any prior loans is also affected. Any potential refund of tuition and fees from the University may be retained to repay financial aid programs before any reimbursement may be made to the student. In some cases, the student may be required to repay some or all financial aid funds previously disbursed to them by the University’s Bursar’s Office. Students considering withdrawing from all classes are strongly encouraged to discuss the impact of their decision on their financial aid with the staff of the Student Financial Aid Office before withdrawing. A copy of this policy is available in the Office of Student Financial Aid.
Federal regulations require that the Office of Student Financial Aid determine the last date of attendance for all students who discontinue class attendance. For those students who do not officially withdraw, the mid-point of the semester may be used as the official withdrawal date. Once a withdrawal date has been determined, charges and financial aid will be recalculated based on this date. Please be aware that as a result of this action financial aid funds may be adjusted and money may be owed to the University. You will be notified of any change. A copy of this policy is available in the Office of Student Financial Aid.
Any special circumstances, such as changes in the student’s (or other family member’s) employment, loss of a benefit or other type of income, changes in marital status or unexpected/unusual costs, should be brought to the attention of the staff of the Office of Student Financial Aid. Students can explain their circumstances in writing, addressed to the attention of the Financial Aid Appeals Committee, Office of Student Financial Aid, 5781 Wingate Hall, Orono, ME, 04469-5781. Appeals are generally considered within two weeks of receipt, and a response is provided in the form of either a specific letter or a revised Award notification.
Federal financial aid regulations limit how long any student can continue to receive financial aid. In order to maintain eligibility for financial aid, each student must be making progress toward a degree. Students can lose eligibility for financial aid if they are not meeting academic standards for continued enrollment, if they are not completing a sufficient number of the credits they have enrolled for, and/or if it is taking too long to earn their degree.
Each student’s progress is reviewed once each academic year at the end of the second semester. Students who are not meeting the minimum standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress are notified in writing of the loss of eligibility for further financial aid, effective the following Fall semester. Students who are not making Satisfactory Academic Progress, but who are allowed to continue enrollment, may have to do so without the benefit of financial assistance.
A copy of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy is available in the Office of Student Financial Aid.
Every student has the right to appeal upon notification of loss of financial aid eligibility due to lack of academic progress. Appeals are considered by a committee. Appeals can only be made in writing and should be sent, along with appropriate supporting documentation, to the attention of the Chair of the Satisfactory Progress Appeal Committee, Office of Student Financial Aid, 5781 Wingate Hall, Orono, ME 04469-5781. Students are notified of the result of the appeal by letter.
Questions about the policy or the appeal procedure can be referred to the Office of Student Financial Aid (207) 581-1324.