University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Apply for Aid

You must apply for aid every year. Filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step. Click on the sections below for more information.

Why should I fill out the FAFSA?

At the University of Massachusetts Amherst, you only need one form to apply for financial aid during the academic year - the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly called the FAFSA. The FAFSA is used to determine your eligibility for federal, state and institutional aid programs.

When should I fill out the FAFSA?

We recommend you apply immediately after October 1 to meet our priority filing date of March 1. You can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to upload your tax information.

If your application is late, Financial Aid Services will only consider you for Federal Pell Grants, Federal Direct Loans, and certain state scholarships.

Be sure to list the University of Massachusetts Amherst's Federal School Code, 002221, on the FAFSA.

The FAFSA form is available in English and Spanish.

How do I fill out the FAFSA?

There are different ways to file. Choose the one that is easiest for you:

  • You can apply online at www.fafsa.gov.
  • You can complete a PDF FAFSA, you need to print the PDF available at www.fafsa.gov and mail the completed form.
  • Contact 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) to request a paper FAFSA and for assistance in filing.
  • Go to your financial aid office for assistance.

Don’t forget UMass Amherst’s Federal School Code: 002221.

Seven Easy Steps to the FAFSA: A student’s guide to successfully completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

I don’t think I will qualify for financial aid. Should I file the FAFSA anyway?

Everyone should file the FAFSA! All eligible students qualify for something.

Determining your need for financial aid: UMass Amherst believes that the primary responsibility for financing your college education rests with you and your family. However, financial aid is available to assist in your efforts to pay college costs. We primarily use two factors to determine the amount and types of aid you may receive: the Cost of Attendance and the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

  • Estimated Cost of Attendance: includes tuition and fees as well as room and board, books and supplies, and personal and transportation expenses. Visit University Costs for a listing of tuition, fees, and expenses.
  • Expected Family Contribution: Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is a figure calculated by the U.S. Department of Education. They arrive at the EFC amount by combining information from your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with standardized financial analysis for federal student aid programs.

Financial Aid Services subtracts your Expected Family Contribution from your Estimated Cost of Attendance; the difference is your eligibility for need-based financial aid, including federal, state, and institutional funds. In addition, we consider your year in school and your enrollment status when determining your need.

Students who are not interested in financial aid, but receive a tuition credit such as the John and Abigail Adams tuition credit must file a FAFSA.

Veterans should file a FAFSA. Although veterans apply for military education benefits through the federal and state VA Offices, you should complete the FAFSA to be considered for other forms of financial aid.

What happens after I file the FAFSA?
  • The FAFSA will be processed and electronically sent to Financial Aid Services at UMass. Your financial aid award will be calculated based on your financial need (UMass Estimated Cost of Attendance – Student’s Expected Family Contribution from FAFSA).

  • Check your To Do List on SPIRE frequently after submitting the FAFSA. This is where all requests will be posted. If there are any outstanding items on your To Do List, your award may be delayed and/or canceled. Be sure to complete all items on your To Do List. Contact Financial Aid Services with any questions or concerns regarding your To Do List.

  • We may be requesting verification of the following:
    • Citizenship status – you must bring the original proper documentation to Financial Aid Services in person
    • High school completion status
    • Verification of identity
    • Number of people in the household and/or number in college
    • Government benefits received
    • Child support paid
    • Untaxed distributions, payments and interest
    • Adjusted gross income, taxes paid, credits and exclusions
  • If your FAFSA is selected for verification, you will need to fill out the proper verification worksheet, and provide our office with IRS tax return transcripts or a copy of your signed IRS form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ. You can obtain an IRS tax return transcript at www.irs.gov. Click on “Get a Tax Transcript” under the orange “Tools” bar. Then click on Get Transcript by MAIL. You will have to create an account if you have not already done so.
  • Each year the U. S. Department of Education selects certain applicants for verification. The verification process requires Financial Aid Services to confirm the data provided on the FAFSA by the student and/or parent. UMass may also select applicants for verification.
  • Adjusting the Expected Family Contribution: A number of factors may cause Financial Aid Services to adjust your Expected Family Contribution in ways that can either reduce or increase your eligibility for financial aid.
  • Factors that can reduce your eligibility include (but are not limited to) your having:
    • Underestimated income, savings, or investments
    • Over-reported taxes, tax exemptions, family size, or the number of family members attending college
    • Reported business or real estate income or losses that do not decrease real income
  • Factors that can increase your eligibility include (but are not limited to) your having:
    • Over-reported income, savings, or investments
    • Under-reported taxes, tax exemptions, family size, or the number of family members attending college
    • Lost income due to unemployment or underemployment
    • Unforeseen medical expenses due to the major illness of an immediate family member
    • Other additional direct or indirect educational expenses while enrolled at UMass Amherst
  • Incoming freshmen and transfer students will be awarded financial aid even if you are selected for verification. Please note that your award is tentative and is only as accurate as the information on your FAFSA. Once the verification process is complete, your award will be reviewed and adjusted as necessary.

  • Upperclassmen with outstanding verification requests will not be awarded until verification is complete.

  • You have 30 days to submit all requested documentation. Failure to do so will result in the cancelation of any awarded financial aid or not receiving an award. If documents are submitted after you stop attending classes or the term has ended, you may not be eligible for consideration for financial aid.

  • Once you have been awarded, you will receive an email informing you that your award can be viewed on SPIRE.