Financial Aid and Scholarships
The Office of Student Financial Aid administers a variety of Federal, State and University aid programs to help University of Maine students finance their education. 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 by appointment between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday, through Friday. Appointments can be booked through umaine.edu.stuaid/advising.
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, visit their website at umaine/edu/studaid, contact the office at (207) 581-1324, or via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Admissions Office awards scholarships to new first-year and transfer undergraduate students based on academic performance. For specific eligibility for Merit Scholarships visit the Office of Admission’s website at go.umaine.edu/apply/scholarships.
Financial Aid Programs
Some of the financial aid programs available to undergraduates pursuing their first bachelor’s degree include:
Federal Pell Grants - Awarded based on need to eligible students enrolled in a degree program, and do not have to be repaid.
Federal Supplemental Grants - 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 - Awarded based on need to eligible students enrolled in a degree program at least half time, and do not have to be repaid.
Scholarships - 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 - Awarded based on need to eligible students enrolled in a degree program at least half-time and gives students the opportunity to earn spending money and/or living expenses while gaining valuable work experience. Job listings are available on CareerLink through the Office of Student Employment.
Federal Direct Loans (subsidized and unsubsidized) - Available through the U.S. Department of Education 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 Direct Loan must complete Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note (MPN) before the loan proceeds will be released. The Entrance Counseling and MPN are completed electronically at studentaid.gov.
NOTE: Subsidized loans are need-based loans and the government pays the interest on the loan while the student is enrolled at least half-time and during other authorized periods called deferments; 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 are fixed and are set each academic year and are available on the Office of Student Financial Aid’s website at umaine.edu/stuaid/loans, the interest begins to accrue or can be paid by the student once the student enters into the six-month grace period; 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.
Eligibility for Financial Aid
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 by email if 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.
Limits on Financial Aid Eligibility
Most University of Maine students remain eligible 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 Policy: Students are measured once a year for Grade Point Average (GPA), completion of attempted credits and length of time it takes to complete their degree. See the section entitled “Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid Recipients” for more information on this policy.
Federal regulations limit financial aid funds to paying for one repetition only of a previously passed course even if a higher grade is still needed to advance in the academic program or is required for a subsequent course.
The Federal Pell Grant program includes a limit on how much Pell Grant students are eligible to receive. Students may receive a maximum of 12 semesters (or 600%) of Federal Pell Grant eligibility during their undergraduate career.
The Federal Direct Loan program places limits on the total amount that can be borrowed by any student, called “aggregate” limits. These limits are specified by Federal Student Aid on their website (studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/subsidized-unsubsidized).
Applying for Financial Aid
To allow 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). Students must apply for financial aid each year. Continuing students who applied for financial aid during the previous academic year should receive a reminder that their FAFSA can be accessed electronically with their FSA ID.
The FAFSA may be completed online at fafsa.gov. For prior year applicants, some information will be “pre-filled” from a prior year’s application by using his/her FSA ID. 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 FSA ID to electronically sign the FAFSA or a paper signature page can be printed and will then need to be signed and mailed to the address provided.
Certain types of financial aid, including University Grant, Maine Matters Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and Federal Work-Study 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 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. Students selected for federal verification by the Department of Education must provide information that verifies the data you provided on your FAFSA. This information could include, but is not limited to, using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, an official tax return transcript, your parent’s official tax return transcript and independent or dependent verification forms.
Requests for information will be through your MaineStreet To Do List and will include detailed instructions and links to specific forms. It is very important you respond to these requests by the document due date which you will be notified of in writing from the Office of Student Financial Aid. Follow instructions closely otherwise your aid could be affected. 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 Web, 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 within 2-3 business days. The application will be reviewed and the student will be notified if any additional information (such as IRS Data Retrieval, verification forms, or other information) is required.
Once the student’s file is complete, an offer of financial aid 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 Subsidized Loan per Year
|Maximum Loan Per Year (including subsidized and unsubsidized)
| 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 Direct 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 Financial Aid Awards
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.
Financial Aid for Summer University
Summer University is considered to be the end of the University’s academic year. To be eligible for Summer University aid, students must have applied for federal financial aid for the previous year. Generally, financial aid is limited to Federal Pell Grant (if eligible) and/or any remaining Federal Direct Loan eligibility (subsidized and/or unsubsidized). Federal Work-Study or a University work program 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. In addition, students who were not 15 credits each semester during the academic year, may have remaining proratable aid available. Students are encouraged to contact the Office of Student Financial Aid to request further information. The best time to discuss specific eligibility is midway through the spring semester and after the student is pre-registered for summer.
Withdrawal from All Classes
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 must contact their academic area who will collaborate with the Office of Student Financial Aid to determine the impact of the withdrawal on financial aid. A copy of the policy is available in the Office of Student Financial Aid.
Institutional (Unofficial) Withdrawal
Federal regulations require the Office of Student Financial Aid determine the last date of attendance for an academic related activity 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.
Special Circumstances and Appeals
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 Office of Student Financial Aid. Students and families can meet with an advisor or contact the office at (207)581-1324 to explain their circumstances
Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid Recipients
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 frequently withdraw from classes and/or if it is taking you a very long time to earn your degree. If you are not meeting the minimum standards, even if you are allowed by your academic dean to continue your enrollment, you will have to do so without the benefit of financial aid.
Progress is reviewed once each academic year normally at the end of the spring semester. This review includes all attempted coursework, even if the student did not receive financial aid for some or all of that coursework. Students who are not meeting the minimum standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress are notified in writing on the MaineStreet Message Center of the loss of eligibility for further financial aid, effective the following enrollment period.
A copy of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy is available in the Office of Student Financial Aid, as well as on the Office of Student Financial Aid website at umaine.edu/stuaid/sap.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Procedure
If you are not meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy, you can appeal if you believe that you have special circumstances that caused undue hardship. Appeals are considered by a committee. Please use the SAP Undergraduate Appeal Form (available at umaine.edu/stuaid/sap), and submit along with appropriate supporting documentation. Students approved for appeal may be placed on SAP Financial Aid Probation for the next enrollment term, are eligible for financial aid during that term and may be required to meet a specific academic plan.
If financial aid eligibility is suspended a student can request a review of their record after completing additional academic coursework.
Questions about the policy or the appeal procedure can be referred to the Office of Student Financial Aid 207. 581.1324.