There are several requirements that you must meet in order to be eligible for financial aid. Click on the sections below for more information.
Basic Eligibility Criteria
To be considered for financial aid, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen (Learn more at studentaid.ed.gov/eligibility/non-us-citizens)
- Have a valid Social Security number (except for students from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau)
- Be registered with Selective Service (Men age 18 to 25 must register with Selective Service to be eligible for federal financial aid.)
- Successfully complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year and have an official Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
- Not be in default on any federal student loan
- Not owe a refund on any federal financial aid program
- Have no history of certain drug convictions
- Submit all documents requested (if any) to verify the accuracy of information reported on the FAFSA
- Have a high school diploma, General Education Development (GED) certificate, or have completed a high school education in a homeschool setting approved under state law
- Be accepted and enrolled in a degree program at least half-time (6 credits) at UMass Amherst
- Classes previously passed and repeated more than once can not be counted toward enrollment for financial aid. This excludes classes designed to be taken more than once, ie; music composition
- Maintain satisfactory academic progress. Read the full Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy on the Forms section of this site.
*The U.S. Department of Education requires that students receiving federal financial aid meet the UMass Amherst academic status standards ensuring academic progress toward a degree or certificate program of study.
If your eligibility changes, your award may be adjusted.
Financial aid is available to eligible non-citizens.
Generally you are an eligible noncitizen if you meet any of the following criteria:
- U.S. national (including native of American Samoa or Swains Island)
- U.S. permanent resident with an Alien Registration card (I-551)
- Conditional permanent resident (I-551C)
- Other eligible non-citizen with an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from the Department of Homeland Security showing any one of the following designations:
- Asylum Granted
- Parolee (I-94 confirms paroled for a minimum of one year and status has not expired)
- Cuban-Haitian Entrant
- Hold a T-visa (for victims of human trafficking), or your parent holds a T-1 visa.
- You (or your parent) are a “battered immigrant-qualified alien” who is a victim of domestic violence by your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse; you (or your parent) are eligible under the Violence Against Women Act, for federal public benefits.
You may be asked by Financial Aid Services to provide valid documentation of your status.
You are not eligible if you are:
- In the U.S. on an F1 or F2 student visa
- In the U.S. on a J1 or J2 visitor visa
- In the U.S. on a G series visa
- You only have “Notice of Approval to Apply for Permanent Residence (I-171 or I464).
- You have been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Contact Financial Aid Services if you have questions about your eligibility.
If you are an international student who is not eligible based on the criteria above, you do not qualify for financial aid. There are a number of websites that can help you search for scholarship opportunities. You can also apply for alternative loans if you are able to obtain a cosigner who is a U.S. citizen.
Contact International Programs Office for more information.
After your initial application for financial aid (FAFSA), you must submit a renewal FAFSA each year to continue receiving aid. If there are any changes in household size, number of family members in college, or financial changes, your award will increase or decrease accordingly.
In addition, there are variations from year to year in the financial aid funds available from federal, state, and/or institutional sources. These variations may require adjustments to awards.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
If you receive federal, state, or institutional financial aid, you must maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) throughout your program in order to maintain eligibility. These are minimum requirements – some financial aid programs may have higher academic standards for continued eligibility
- At the end of each semester, including summer, Financial Aid Services monitors SAP for all students regardless of whether or not you receive aid.
- To meet the UMass Amherst academic status standards, you must maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.0 and maintain the necessary credit hours to ensure graduation within 10 semesters as an undergraduate.
- If you do not maintain these standards you will, at a minimum, be placed on financial aid warning for one semester. Then, if you do not meet the academic status standards after a warning period, you may become ineligible to receive federal, state and/or institutional financial aid.
- If you lose financial aid eligibility, you must go through an appeal process, which must be approved by Financial Aid Services for financial aid to be awarded.
- For additional information review the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy and Appeal Form.
Verification of FAFSA Information
When you apply for financial aid through the FAFSA, some of your information is verified with different federal agencies, including the Social Security Administration (for verification of Social Security Numbers and citizenship status). If the information you provide does not match federal agency databases, the discrepancy must be resolved through the financial aid office before you can receive financial aid.
- Incoming first-year and transfer students: You will receive a financial aid award to aid you in making your decision, but those funds will not disburse until all discrepancies are resolved. If left unresolved, the financial aid award will eventually be canceled.
Income information may also be verified using the verification worksheet and IRS tax return transcript. See more information under Apply for Aid.
Each term the financial aid office will finalize your enrollment at the end of the add/drop period. During summer term this window is shorter. This date is referred to as census date for financial aid. Your financial aid may be adjusted as a result of a change to your enrollment. You will be sent an email if your award is updated. You could owe additional money to the university if your award is reduced.
Withdrawing from the University
Students intending to withdraw from all classes must complete a Withdrawal Form. Visit the Dean of Students Office website for more information on the types of withdrawals and a list of FAQ regarding the withdrawal process. Once the form is completed and submitted, the student is considered “officially withdrawn.”
Return of Title IV Funds - How a full withdrawal affects federal financial aid
Title IV Federal financial aid is awarded to students under the assumption that a student will attend the institution for the entire enrollment period (semester) in which the aid is awarded. When a student withdraws from all courses, for any reason, including medical reasons, the student may not be eligible for the full amount of federal aid originally awarded. Students who receive federal financial aid and do not complete their classes during a semester could be responsible for repaying a portion of the aid they received. Students that did not begin attendance must repay all financial aid disbursed for the term.
How the federal financial aid adjustment is calculated
Students “earn” their Title IV federal financial aid by attending classes they are enrolled in during the term. The amount of “earned” aid is based on the percentage of the term the student attended. Once UMass is notified that the student has withdrawn, the earned percentage is calculated by dividing the number of calendar days in the semester (less any scheduled breaks of 5 days or longer) by the number of days attended. If the earned percentage is 60% or more, the student is considered to have earned all aid and no federal aid adjustment is necessary.
The adjustment calculation uses the last day the student attended classes or the Last Date of Attendance.
The date that the student submits the withdrawal form or otherwise notifies UMass of his/her withdrawal is known as the Withdrawal Date. Any adjustments to financial aid will be completed within 45 days of the withdrawal date.
The calculation of Title IV federal financial aid funds earned by the student has no relationship to the student’s incurred institutional charges.
Treatment of unearned federal aid
The amount of “unearned” federal aid (100% minus the earned aid percentage) is returned to federal programs in the following order:
- Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan
- Subsidized Federal Direct Loan
- Federal Perkins Loan
- Graduate Federal Direct PLUS Loan
- Parent Federal Direct PLUS Loan
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal SEOG Grant
- Federal TEACH Grant
- Other Titive IV programs, as applicable
Federal Work-Study earned compensation will not need to be repaid. Students may not continue to work in a work-study position once they cease attendance or drop below six(6) credits.
Unofficial withdrawal from the university occurs when the student registers for courses for a term and either never attends any classes or stops attending all courses at some point during the semester without completing and submitting the withdrawal form. If you are receiving federal financial aid, the university is required to adjust the aid in the same manner as an official withdrawal.