Financial Aid

Financial Aid

UMass students may use their financial aid to study on approved study abroad programs. Students who plan to use financial aid for a semester or year abroad should begin making financial plans at least one year in advance, and be sure they understand the costs, billing arrangements and payment deadlines for all programs they are considering. 

Students studying on summer programs are also eligible for financial aid if they are earning at least 6 credits. Students studying on a winter program are not eligible for financial aid but some scholarship funding is available.

All students interested in using financial aid for study abroad must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Direct questions about the FAFSA to the Financial Aid Office. Complete the FAFSA using UMass as your home university even if you know that you will be attending an overseas institution.

How much financial aid do I receive?  

  • Go to your SPIRE account to understand your current financial aid package. Log in to SPIRE with your UMass Amherst ID and password, click “Finances” and then “View Financial Aid.”
  • Remember, most tuition credits cannot be used for study abroad; confirm with UMass Financial Aid by stopping by their office at Whitmore 243 any time the service desk is open.  

Can I get more financial aid? 

  • For programs that cost considerably more than a semester at UMass, students may request that Financial Aid consider an increased cost of attendance for their semester abroad. Students may be eligible for additional loans, but additional grant funding is rare. Students are encouraged to apply for study abroad scholarships.  

How do I apply for alternative loans? 

  • Make sure you filed your FASFA for the correct academic year. See Alternative Loan options on the UMass Financial Aid Office website.  

How do I use financial aid to pay study abroad costs?  

  • Students are responsible for paying their partner programs with disbursed financial aid. However, financial aid is not disbursed until the end of the first week of classes on campus which is after partner program payment deadlines.  
  • Students participating in a partner program can submit a financial aid verification form (jump link) to their program requesting a deferment for the amount covered by their expected financial aid.  
  • Students participating in partner programs will receive financial aid funds via Excess Express (a direct deposit refund) by the UMass Bursar directly to their designated bank account in SPIRE. After receiving these funds, the student must pay any balance deferred to the partner program. This date is often after programs start, so many students ask family members to make this final payment for them. Any financial aid greater than the partner program bill can be used for additional study abroad expenses, such as meals, airfare, etc.  
  • Students participating in an exchange program will pay their exchange program fee through their UMass Bursar bill for that term. If their financial aid is more than the exchange program fee, they will receive any financial aid funds via Excess Express (a direct deposit refund) by the UMass Bursar directly to their designated bank account in SPIRE, to use for out of pocket expenses including accommodations, airfare, meals, etc.

What is a “Financial Aid Verification Form”?  

  • Each partner program has their own process for students to have all or part of their program fees deferred until UMass releases their financial aid during the first week of classes at UMass. Students must work with UMass Financial Aid to complete the form before the partner program’s payment deadline. Once received, the partner program defers the amount of the fee covered by financial aid until the date on the form, but the balance (anything more than expected financial aid funds) is due by the partner’s deadline.  

Summer Financial Aid

To apply for summer financial aid, students must indicate they are interested in applying for summer aid in the Financial Aid section of their UMass Abroad application. You will receive an email with instructions for applying for aid as soon as the Financial Aid office is ready to start processing these requests.  For planning purposes, students can ask the Financial Aid office to calculate the anticipated summer aid amount .

More questions?  

Contact Kate Smith, IPO Student Accounts Manager, or Sharon Ruth, Financial Aid Officer. Make an appointment with Sharon by email, or drop in at Whitmore 243, on Wednesdays 12:30pm-4:00pm.