Before your financial aid funds can be disbursed to your student account, you must meet the disbursement criteria specific to the aid program(s) you have accepted. Detailed descriptions of these aid programs are available on SPIRE with your financial aid award and in the publication Guide to Understanding Financial Aid available to download on the Forms section of this site. Unless otherwise stated, your financial aid funds are evenly split between the fall and spring terms.
Many grants require full time enrollment (twelve credits for undergraduate students, nine credits for graduate students). However some grants will be adjusted by a pro-rated amount for less than full-time enrollment. You must be enrolled at least half time (six credits) for the William D. Ford Direct Loan or the Perkins Loan to disburse to your account and you must also have a valid promissory note and Entrance Interview Form (if required) on file.
Once you have resolved all eligibility issues (including verification and satisfactory academic progress) your financial aid for the upcoming term will be disbursed no earlier than ten days prior to the start of classes. Final adjustments due to changes in your credit load will occur approximately six weeks after the start of the term. Your financial aid will be credited to your UMass Amherst tuition and fees, room and board (if living on campus), and miscellaneous fees.
Refunds and Excess Express
If the amount of financial aid and other credits on your bill exceed tuition, fees, and other charges, you may receive a refund. You may use your refund for off-campus living expenses, indirect expenses, or any other education expenses for the term. You will either receive an excess check or you can arrange for direct deposit into your bank account through Excess Express. You can make these arrangements with the Bursar’s Office.
Before the Bursar’s Office may release your excess funds, you must complete your Direct Loan Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling on www.studentloans.gov.
If you are receiving a Graduate Appointment or any other waivers not listed on your Award Summary, please report them to Financial Aid Services. This will minimize any delays in releasing your excess funds.
If you are a graduate student on Program Fee, update your enrollment status (half time or full time) with the Graduate Records Office. The Bursar's Office will confirm your eligibility on-line before releasing your refund.
The funds that you receive from scholarships, benefits, fellowships and grants that, combined, exceed the cost of tuition, fees, books, and required equipment and supplies, are considered taxable income. This includes Federal Pell Grants but not federal loans.
For example, any amount that you use to pay for room and board or any stipends for living expenses are taxable. You are responsible for your own record-keeping, so that you can complete your tax forms properly. You may want to keep a receipt file of educational purchases.
For more detailed information, consult the IRS, your income tax form instruction booklet, or your personal tax adviser.