Financial Aid Timeline for Continuing Students

With a new year comes a new set of financial responsibilities for students and their families. Financial Aid Services is here to help answer questions you may have and provide assistance. Take a look at the timeline below for a month by month guide and some helpful tips for the upcoming academic year. 

January - File the 2018-2019 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

  • Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to enter your income information on the FAFSA.
  • Review the Student Aid Report (SAR) and make any necessary corrections and updates to the information you provided on the FAFSA.

February – This is a good time for your student to search for scholarship programs available through their school or college and from outside organizations.

  • Encourage your student to visit the Financial Aid Services website for scholarship information.

March – Inform your student to start checking their SPIRE “To Do List”. All information and documents necessary to process financial aid will be posted on the SPIRE “To Do List”.

  • March 1st is the priority FAFSA filing date.
  • Remind your student to submit documents and information requested on the SPIRE “To Do List”.
  • If the FAFSA is selected for verification, please be aware that 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ Income Tax Return forms cannot be used to verify your student’s file.
  • Verification requires either the use of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (through your student’s FAFSA at fafsa.gov) or the 2016 IRS Tax Return Transcript (obtained at irs.gov or in person at an IRS office).
  • Summer financial aid information is available at umass.edu/umfa.

April - Is your student a first time Direct Loan borrower?

  • Inform them to complete their Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Direct Loan Entrance Counseling at studentloans.gov.

May - Research financing options

  • Start the application process for the Parent PLUS and Alternative Private Loans.
  • Be sure your student completes any outstanding document request on their SPIRE  “To Do List” to ensure a timely financial aid award.
  • Satisfactory Academic Progress review for financial aid after Spring 2018 grades are final.

JUNE - Award Email Notifications will be sent to continuing students.

  • Be sure your student continues to check their SPIRE “To Do List”, and follows up with any information or document requests.

Questions? Visit the Financial Aid Services website for more detailed information and instructional videos. Financial Aid Services is located on campus in room 243 of the Whitmore Administration Building. To speak to a staff member call 413.545.0801 or email finaid@finaid.umass.edu.