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Financial Aid

Types of Aid

If you are a University Without Walls (UWW) student in any of the following programs:

  • On-Line Interdisciplinary Studies
  • On-Line Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)
  • On-Line Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM)
  • On-Line Sustainable Food and Farming (A.S./B.S.)
  • RN to BS in Nursing

your financial aid package may be comprised of different types of awards: gift aid (grants and scholarships) and self help aid (loans and work-study). The type of aid you receive will depend on whether it is need-based (determined by your demonstrated financial need) or non-need-based (determined by merit or other factors). To be considered for financial aid, you must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Please Note: Students in the following programs are second bachelor’s degree candidates and are therefore only eligible for Federal Direct Loans as determined by their current loan aggregate, credit total, need and the information on their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is due by May 1.

Accelerated Degree in Nursing, Post-Baccalaureate Pre-clinical Program in Communication Disorders, Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Licensure Program*

*Only students that are pursuing initial licensure programs are eligible for financial aid. Students who already hold a teaching license and are returning for an additional licensure or those who need additional coursework for renewal of their teaching license are not eligible for financial aid.

If you are not eligible for financial aid because you are not in a degree granting program, you may be eligible for an alternative loan. .

Please research lenders offering these programs and review the specific requirements of each lender prior to applying for these loans. See loans below for more information.

Very simply, grants are monetary awards that you do not have to repay. Financial Aid Services awards grants to student based on their Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is calculated by the U. S. Department of Education using the information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students with a lower EFC have a greater potential to receive grants.

Federal Grants

Federal Pell Grant is available to undergraduate students seeking their first bachelor's degree and who meet all other eligibility criteria required for receipt of federal assistance. To receive a Pell Grant, an eligible student's EFC must be less than or equal to the maximum figure established by the federal government for the academic year. The amount may change annually. Eligibility is limited to the equivalent of 12 full-time semesters.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is for undergraduate students with exceptional financial need and low EFC. Priority consideration is given to students who receive Federal Pell Grant and meet the priority deadline for filing the FAFSA. Recipients must meet all eligibility criteria required for federal assistance.

TEACH Grant is available to graduate students in an educator licensure program. See information below.

For information about all federal grants visit:

Massachusetts Grants, Scholarships, and Tuition Credits

Massachusetts has a variety of financial aid programs available. For information about Massachusetts grants, scholarships, and tuition credits visit Massachusetts Department of Higher Education.

University Awards

UMass Amherst administers grants funded through state appropriations, annual gifts from private donors, and University revenues.

Scholarships are similar to grants, in that they are financial aid you do not have to repay. Scholarships are usually awarded on the basis of academic merit.

When you file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) you will be considered for more than 100 endowed and corporate-sponsored scholarships managed by the campus. Your financial need may not be the only consideration for individual scholarships; we may also take into account your grades, class standing, academic major, residency, and other factors. In general, entering students do not need to participate in a separate scholarship application process in order to be considered for UMass Amherst scholarships. When you file your application for admission by the stated application deadline, you are also automatically considered. In many cases, scholarship notification accompanies the acceptance letter.

Financial Aid Services may adjust your award if you receive scholarships, loans or tuition credits not listed on your Award Summary in SPIRE. According to federal regulations, a student’s total financial aid may not exceed the estimated cost of attendance or need. Report your additional resources using the Report Outside Aid button in SPIRE.

Other Scholarship Resources

There are other scholarships that are independent of the FAFSA. These may be from your high school, local civic organizations, religious affiliation or an employer. You will also find scholarships by searching online.

A note of caution: Be wary of advertisements that offer to help you find scholarships for a fee. With a little time and research, you can find the very same information yourself.

Scholarships for UMass Amherst Students

See our Scholarships page for more detailed information about scholarship opportunities for UMass Amherst students.  You will find scholarships offered by UMass Amherst as well as outside organizations.

The Gates Millennium Scholarship

The Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS), funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was established in 1999 to provide outstanding African American, American Indian/Alaska Natives, Asian Pacific Islander Americans, and Hispanic American students with an opportunity to complete an undergraduate college education. Undergraduates in all discipline areas are eligible. Graduate students must be pursuing studies in mathematics, science, engineering, education, or library science to be eligible. The goal of GMS is to promote academic excellence and to provide an opportunity for thousands of outstanding students with significant financial need to reach their fullest potential.

Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) Scholarships

The Department of Aerospace Studies (Air Force) and the Department of Military Science (Army) both offer ROTC programs leading upon graduation to commissioned-officer status as second lieutenants in the United States Air Force or the United States Army. Full and partial four-, three-, and two-year scholarships are available for qualified applicants.

To learn more information about Air Force ROTC, call 413-545-2437 or 413-545-2451.

To learn more information about Army ROTC, call 413-545-2321.

A loan is a form of financial aid that you must repay with interest, usually after you graduate or leave school. To be considered for federal student loans, you need to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and you must meet all eligibility criteria required for receipt of federal assistance.

Federal student loans come in different categories. UMass Amherst offers the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program from the federal government.

Federal student loans may be subsidized or unsubsidized. With subsidized loans, the U. S. Department of Education pays the interest while you are enrolled in college and you must demonstrate financial need to receive these. With unsubsidized loans, you pay all of the interest, but payments may be deferred until you finish your degree. Unsubsidized loans are awarded regardless of family income or financial need.

Promissory Note and Entrance Interview

To receive a federal loan, you need to sign a Promissory Note and complete an entrance interview form. For loans administered by UMass Amherst, the financial aid office will contact you with procedures for completing both documents. For private/alternative loans, your lender will provide the promissory notes.

Federal Loan Limits

There are limits on the amount that a student may borrow under the Direct Loan Program for one academic year. There are also cumulative limits on the total amount a student may borrow to pursue their education. Financial Aid Services uses the National Student Loan Database Service (NSLDS) to determine your total loan aggregates. Refer to your Student Aid Report (SAR) for your loan aggregates, it is important for you to monitor your loan aggregates to ensure you do not borrow beyond your eligibility.  

  • Dependent undergraduate students in their first year may borrow up to $5,500 (no more than $3,500 may be subsidized).
  • Sophomores up to $6,500 (no more than $4,500 may be subsidized) and
  • Juniors and seniors up to $7,500 (no more than $5,500 may be subsidized).
  • The cumulative limit for an undergraduate education is $31,000. (The subsidized portion may not exceed $23,000.)
  • If you are an independent student or a dependent student whose parent has been denied the PLUS loan you may borrow additional unsubsidized loan up to $4,000 for each of the first two years and $5,000 the remaining years. The cumulative limit for independent undergraduate students and dependent undergraduate students whose parent has been denied a PLUS loan is $57,500. (The subsidized portion may not to exceed $23,000.)

Please note that meeting eligibility requirements does not guarantee loan availability.

Interest Rate

The interest rate for Federal Direct Loans varies depending on the loan type and first disbursement date. Visit for more information on the Direct Loan program.

Loan Deferments

If you have begun repaying loans, you may be eligible for a loan deferment when you return to school. Contact your loan servicing center to find out more.

Loan Repayment

Several flexible repayment options are available. Visit for more information on the Direct Loan program Repayment Plans.

Direct Loan Links

Direct Loan Information: Find out about applying for Direct Loans, learn about the options you have for repayment, use the interactive calculators, download Direct Loan deferment and forbearance forms, and get information about Direct Loan Consolidation.

Direct Loan Master Promissory Note: Complete your William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan promissory note online.

Student Loan Information/Repayment: View information regarding your student loan history, overpayments, Pell Grant history, and enrollment history.

Alternative Loans

Filed a FAFSA First!

Before considering private loan options, you should apply for federal, state and institutional financial aid, including federal student loans. Students considering educational private loans should apply only after they have applied for financial aid and received notification from Financial Aid Services. Go to for more information.

Financial Aid Services strongly recommends that you fully research the alternative loan program and lender that best suits your financing needs. Please compare the benefits and costs of several alternative loan programs before you apply. To get the best interest rate and terms apply with a credit-worthy cosigner. To find out how to apply for an alternative loan visit the lender's website.

Below are links to alternative educational loans list. The lenders included on each list responded to a public request for information (RFP). The proposals were evaluated and lenders selected based on the benefits the loan products offer to borrowers, including interest rates and fees, repayment benefits and terms, ability to apply, sign, certify and disburse electronically, quality of customer service to borrowers, problem resolution, loan management tools and availability of consumer information and web-based service features. This is not a comprehensive list of all the educational loans available. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement or recommendation by the University of Massachusetts Amherst. If a parent or student has worked with a lender not listed below, and has received excellent benefits and quality service from this lender, you may continue to do business with that lender. Financial Aid Services will process alternative loans for any lender selected by the student.

For your convenience, we have provided telephone numbers and links to websites maintained by these lenders. UMass Amherst is not responsible for the availability, content, or accuracy of materials on third party websites. Please carefully read final loan agreements or promissory notes and understand their payment terms and other obligations.

Interest Rate Definitions

  • APR is the annual percentage rate, is a calculation that includes both a loan’s interest rate and a loan’s finance charges, expressed as an annual cost over the life of the loan. In other words, it’s the total cost of credit. APR accounts for interest, fees and time.
  • SOFR is the Secured Overnight Financing Rate is a broad measure of the cost of borrowing cash overnight collateralized by Treasury securities.
  • LIBOR is the 1 or 3 or 6-month average of the London Interbank Offered Rate. LIBOR is the average interest rate paid on deposits of US dollars in the London market.
  • PRIME is the Prime Lending Rate as published in the Wall Street Journal. This is the rate banks charge their most creditworthy customers.

Learn about Private Loan Programs Application and Solicitation Disclosures here.

Private Loan Options Available

Work-study is a form of need-based federal financial aid. As with all need-based financial aid, you will need to submit the FAFSA to be eligible and meet all other eligibility criteria required for receipt of federal assistance. The program provides students with part-time and seasonal employment opportunities in a variety of on- and off-campus jobs. Work-study funds are not applied to your UMass Amherst bill. Instead, you are paid bi-weekly, based on the hours that you have worked. These earnings can help offset personal expenses and other educational costs, such as your books or travel home.

If you receive work-study as part of your financial aid package you will be responsible for your own job search. The UMass Amherst Student Job Board provides an extensive list of job openings that are updated daily. The list of available jobs can also be viewed on bulletin boards outside of the Financial Aid Office, Room 243 Whitmore Administration Building.

For more details on work-study employment, visit Student Employment.

Work-Study and Community Service

As a work-study student, you may be able to combine your job with your passion for community service. UMass Amherst has partnered with more than 100 on- and off-campus community service agencies, including the America Read and America Counts programs, to provide jobs for work-study students. Visit Student Employment for more details.

Non Work-Study Jobs

If you do not qualify for work-study, you can still take advantage of the extensive list of on- and off-campus part-time, and seasonal jobs available. The UMass Amherst Student Job Board provides an extensive list of job openings that are updated daily. The list of available non work-study jobs are also included to view on bulletin boards outside of the Financial Aid Office.

If you plan to take courses over the summer, you may be eligible to receive financial aid to offset the costs. The financial aid programs available for the summer are Federal Direct loans, credit based alternative loans, and a limited amount of Summer Work-Study for eligible students. 

For more information on eligibility for summer financial aid, please click the link below.

For students that have fall enrollment, and plan to register for winter, please click the link below for more information on eligibility for financial aid to support winter coursework.