UMass Dorms
Financial Aid

Frequently Asked Questions

The FAFSA is an acronym for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.  This is a financial aid form used to determine your eligibility for financial aid from the Federal Government. This includes grants, loans and work-study. Also, the form is used by many states, colleges and universities to determine eligibility for their financial aid programs. The FAFSA is completed annually.

Go to file your FAFSA today.

Every student should file the FAFSA. Your student needs to file the FAFSA to receive federal, state, or institutional aid, as well as many tuition credits.

Once your student submits the FAFSA, the school will determine the student's eligibility for financial aid.

UMass Amherst's priority deadline for filing the FAFSA is March 1.  The state deadline for Massachusetts is May 1.

If you have forgotten to file the FAFSA and it is past these dates, file it now!  You may still qualify for financial aid.

When the student is awarded, it is assumed that the award will be accepted.  If the student is a first-time borrower, the student will need to complete the Promissory Note and entrance counseling.

Everything the student needs to do for the award to disburse will be posted on their To Do List in SPIRE. 

If the loans have not disbursed, the student can decline or reduce the loans on SPIRE by clicking on the Reduce/Decline Award button.

If the loan has already disbursed to the Bursar account, the student will need to complete a Loan/Work-Study Change Request Form on the Forms section of this site.  The student may be required to have the charges covered before Financial Aid Services will cancel the loan.

There are a number of factors that may cause the FAFSA to be selected for verification. Thirty percent of FAFSAs are selected. It is possible that there was a mistake made on the FAFSA, or it may have been selected randomly. If your student's FAFSA is selected, make sure the student completes all requests on the To Do List on SPIRE. 

IRS tax return transcripts are the official transcripts of your tax return.  We cannot accept a copy of your tax return because it does not prove that you have filed your taxes.

You can get your tax return transcripts at You may order them by mail or create an account to access them immediately.

Go to the Forms section of this site.  Fill out the Parent PLUS Pre-Application Form and submit it to Financial Aid Services.  Allow approximately one to two weeks for a credit decision.

If the credit is approved, you will be required to complete the Parent PLUS Master Promissory Note on

If the credit is denied, you will have the option to appeal the credit decision, obtain an endorser, or your student can accept additional unsubsidized loan.

The FAFSA is used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid. This includes Federal Pell Grant, Federal student loans and work-study opportunities. In addition, the FAFSA is used to determine eligibility for nonfederal student aid and various scholarships offered by your state and the university, as well as many tuition credits. You should file a renewal FAFSA each year before the priority filing date.

The priority deadline to file your FAFSA is March 1.  You must submit a FAFSA every year to be considered for financial aid.

You will have the opportunity to request a review of the change to your financial situation. We refer to this as a special circumstance review. See the Forms page for the appeal request form and required documentation.

It will be one less thing on your list of things to do. It will also give you an opportunity to correct any errors and submit additional documents that might be needed. Applying early may give you the information you need to make informed decisions about financial planning and college selection.

It is always a good idea to get the FAFSA submitted as soon as possible. It gives you an opportunity to correct any errors and respond to any document requests, if there are any. Also, you don’t know what you may qualify for so let the school review your information to determine your eligibility.

Filing the FAFSA late may impact the amount of financial aid available. Some financial aid funding is limited, so the earlier you apply the more likely awards will be available if you qualify. But it is better to file it late than not at all.

The Admissions Office will use the information you provided through the application process to determine your eligibility for scholarships. There are a few scholarships available to transfer students that will require a separate application.

There are several factors in determining financial aid awards that may not be available in time to send the award with your acceptance letter. We are working on gather all the necessary information so that your award can be mailed out as quickly as possible. As soon as information is available we will update the financial aid office homepage with our projected date to begin awarding. Students who are returning for a subsequent year will continue to receive their award letters in the summer months. This is because their academic progress must be reviewed by Financial Aid Services before awards can be made.

YES! You must use 2021 tax and income information when filing your 2023-2024 FAFSA.

No. The Department of Education has determined which year’s tax information is provided for each academic year.

Any time that a family’s financial situation has changed from the base year information provided on the FAFSA, you can submit an appeal. We recommend contacting Financial Aid Services about the appeal prior to submitting it.

Yes! Using prior year taxes means that almost all families will have filed taxes when the FAFSA becomes available.

If your family has experienced unemployment, divorce, a reduction in income for other reasons, or if other special circumstances exist contact the financial aid office. The staff will work with you to document the changes to your family income situation and make changes to your FAFSA if necessary.