The Student Union at UMass Amherst
Financial Aid

Parent Checklist

Below is a checklist of important things to remember. Your student will receive email reminders for many of these items, but the university will not contact parents/family members directly. You may use the checklist below to follow up with your student(s) on important university matters.

In short, each year you should remind your student to:

  • File the FAFSA if your student wishes to receive financial aid. The FAFSA is available each year on October 1 for the following academic year.
    • Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA to load your tax information directly from the IRS website.
    • Ensure your student includes UMass Amherst in the list of schools. Our federal school code is 002221.
    • Make sure the FAFSA is signed by both student and a parent when applicable.
  • Financial Aid Services will email your student regarding their award if they are eligible for financial aid. Entering students will receive an email in January, or as soon as they become eligible for aid after that. Continuing students will receive an email in early summer or as they become eligible.
  • Be sure you are on your student’s FERPA Privacy Waiver. The university will not be able to speak with you about your student if they have not waived their privacy rights.
  • Be sure you are an authorized payer. Authorized payers receive emails from the Bursar’s Office regarding bills and payment due dates. You will also receive your own log in so you can see your student’s balance any time you wish.
  • Keep the SPIRE “To Do List" clear. Your student will have all required documents on their SPIRE To Do List. If these items are outstanding, it may affect their financial aid eligibility.
  • Mail scholarship notifications or award letters to the Bursar’s Office so the scholarships your student worked hard to receive can be counted toward their balance, even before the awarding agency sends us the check!
  • Apply for loans in advance. Loan applications and credit checks can take time. Plan ahead and apply before bills are due.
  • You can waive health insurance if your student is already covered under your plan. You must waive the university health insurance each summer for the upcoming academic year, or your student will be charged, even if they don’t need it.
  • Sign up for the UPay payment plan if you wish to. The university offers a 10-month installment plan to help make the annual balance more manageable. You will need to pay the entire balance before the start of each semester unless you sign up for the UPay payment plan.
  • Pay your bill. To avoid late fees and registration holds, you must ensure your student’s bill is paid in full by the deadlines.
  • Sign all required forms. The most common cause of financial aid issues is unsigned documents. Make sure you and your student sign all required forms.