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Financial Aid

Financial Aid General Information

The Department of Financial Aid Services provides educational financial planning information to students and their families, delivers financial aid funds to qualified students, and offers a variety of services including scholarship search, part-time job locator service, and debt management information. The department supports institutional aid efforts for maximizing enrollment and diversity of students. Financial Aid Services is located in Room 255, Whit-more Adminstration Building, tel. (413) 545-0801, TTY/TDD (413) 545-9420. Office hours for telephone contact are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Reception hours for visitors are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

The U.S. Department of Education requires that students receiving federal financial aid meet University academic status standards ensuring academic progress toward a degree or certificate program of study. Measurement for SAP is conducted at the close of the spring semester. To meet the University's academic status standards, students must maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.0. Students are expected to maintain the necessary credit hours to ensure graduation within 10 semesters. Failure to maintain these standards will, at a minimum, place the student on academic probationary status. If a student does not meet the University's academic status standards after a probationary period, he or she may become ineligible to receive federal financial aid. An appeal process is available for students who may lose or have lost financial aid due to failure to maintain SAP after probation. Contact the Financial Aid office for more information.

Applying for Financial Aid

The University uses the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the Renewal Application for Federal Student Aid. These standard forms are the only applications used to determine eligibility for all the need-based financial aid programs. The FAFSA is available at most high school guidance offices and college financial aid offices. The Renewal FAFSA is mailed directly from the federal government to students who filed a FAFSA in the previous year. The FAFSA is also available on the Internet at: Students should complete the FAFSA or Renewal FAFSA after January 1 for the upcoming academic year. To meet the University's March 1 financial aid deadline, mail the FAFSA to the processing center by February 15. Copies of parents' and students' federal income tax returns and other documents may be requested by Financial Aid Services. All information submitted to Financial Aid Services is held in strictest confidence.

Types of Financial Aid

Scholarships and Grants

Federal Pell Grants provide grants to students with exceptional financial need. Students pursuing their first undergraduate degree are eligible for consideration. Awards range from $400-$4,000 per year for full-time enrollment. These amounts are subject to change. Part-time degree students are also eligible.

Army ROTC Scholarships are offered for two, three, and four years and are awarded on merit to the most outstanding students who are interested in becoming officers in the U.S. Army. Scholarships are available for up to $17,000 annually and pay the cost for tuition and mandatory fees. Scholarship winners additionally receive $300 per semester for textbooks and a monthly stipend of $250, $300, or $350 depending on the student's year. For more information, call (413) 545-2321/2322. The Department of Military Science also offers ten $1,000 grants each year to enrolled cadets based on merit. Applications for two- and three-year scholarships, as well as the $1,000 grants, are available in January for award during the next school year.

Air Force ROTC offers two-, three-, and four-year scholarships to qualified new and continuing college students. Scholarships start at $9,000 per year for tuition and mandatory fees. While attending school, students with scholarships receive $510 a year for books and at least $250 per month in tax-free stipends. For more information, call (413) 545-2437/51, e-mail:afrotc@acad.umass. edu or visit the Web page:

MASSGRANT: This need-based grant is awarded to full-time undergradaute Massachusetts residents. Awards to qualified students with need range from $300-$1,350 per year. Out-of-state students should inquire with their state agency for similar scholarships. Part-time degree students may be eligible to receive Mass Grant if they have 6 to 11 credits.

University Awards: The University provides grants and scholarships from various sources to in-state and out-of-state students who demonstrate financial need. Award amounts range from $200 to $8,000 per year. These awards include Tuition Grants, University Scholarships, McNair Scholarships, Tuition Waivers, Traffic Fines Scholarships, and University of Massachusetts Grants.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant: A need-based grant funded by the federal government and administered by the University. Awards range from $100 to $4,000. All undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need are considered for this grant.

Tuition Waiver Programs

Waivers of tuition are available to Massachusetts residents as defined under Mass General Laws Chapter 15A, Section 19 to members of the following categories:

1. National Guard Tuition Waiver - All members of the Massachusetts Army National Guard enrolled in a full-time or part-time course of study are entitled to a waiver of tuition costs under the provisions of the Education Assistance Bill. Students participating in this program may pursue an Associate, Bachelor's, Master's or Doctoral degree program as well as individual fulfillment programs.

2. Veterans - U.S. Veterans from World War II, Korean, Vietnam, Lebanese Peace Keeping Force, Grenada Rescue Mission, The Panamanian Intervention Force or The Persian Gulf. For more information, call Dianne Delisle at (413) 545-0939, University's Veteran's Assistance and Counseling Services, 425 Amity Street, Amherst, MA 01002.

3. Native Americans - Native American students who are enrolled members of a federal- or state-recognized tribe or nation or who can verify affiliation with a tribal council or Native community and have resided in the state of Massachusetts for at least three years before admission to the University will be considered for a tuition waiver. Eligible students must be registered as full-time students in a degree or certificate program. Students will continue to receive the tuition waiver upon written verification of their satisfactory completion of each semester. Entering freshmen must submit: 1. a completed Native American Tuition Waiver application; 2. verification of acceptance to the University of Massachusetts Amherst (for example, a copy of his or her acceptance letter) and 3. a letter requesting the tuition waiver. Contact the Native American Students Support Program, 11 Bartlett Hall, tel. (413) 577-0980.

4. Senior Citizens - Persons over the age of 60. Contact the Bursar's Office, 215 Whitmore Building, for details.

5. Armed Forces - An active member of the Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force or National Guard) stationed and residing in Massachusetts. Contact the University's Veteran's Assistance and Counseling Services, 425 Amity Street, Amherst, MA 01002.

6. The Department of Social Services Adopted Children Tuition Waiver is designed to lessen the financial burden on adopting parents in the Commonwealth. This waiver extends eligibility to all children and young adults, age twenty-four or under, adopted through the Department of Social Services by state employees or eligible Massachusetts residents, regardless of the date of adoption. The tuition waiver encompasses 100 percent of tuition for state-supported courses at all of the Massachusetts public institutions of higher education, excluding graduate courses and courses in the M.D. program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. To be eligible for a DSS Adopted Children Tuition Waiver, a student must: be twenty-four years of age or under; be in the custody of the Department of Social Services and adopted by an eligible Massachusetts state employee through the Department of Social Services or be in the custody of the Department of Social Services and adopted by an eligible Massachusetts resident through the Department of Social Services; be a United States citizen or eligible non-citizen; not have received a prior bachelor's degree or its equivalent; be in compliance with Selective Service Registration requirements; be maintaining satisfactory academic progress in accordance with institutional and Federal standards.

7. The Department of Social Services Tuition Waiver for Foster Care Children is designed to provide financial support for higher education to foster children in state custody who were neither adopted nor returned home. To be eligible for a DSS Tuition Waiver for Foster Care Children, a student must: be a current or former foster child who was placed in the custody of the state through a Care and Protection Petition; be twenty-four years of age or under; have been in the custody of the Commonwealth for at least twelve consecutive months; not have been adopted nor returned home; be a United States citizen or eligible non-citizen; maintain full-time enrollment; be in compliance with applicable laws regarding Selective Service Registration; not be in default of any Federal or State loans or owe a refund for any previous financial aid received.

8. The Stanley Z. Koplik Certificate of Mastery Tuition Waiver awards non-need-based state-supported undergraduate tuition waivers to students who are awarded Stanley Z. Koplik Certificate of Mastery Awards by the Department of Education. The purposes of the Certificate of Mastery are to: recognize high academic achievement on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) and other measures of academic achievement; recognize high academic achievement as identified by outside forums including competitions, student publications, and awards; provide an incentive for students to perform to their best abilities on MCAS and on the course of studies beyond grade 10; and recognize high academic achievement in areas not included in MCAS.

9. The Massachusetts Educational Financing AuthorityóPrepaid Tuition Program Waiver allows a participating public institution of higher education to waive the amount of tuition that would otherwise be due from the eligible student if the tuition charged by the participating public institution exceeds the amount received as a tuition credit pursuant to the Prepaid Tuition Program for the year the tuition credit is redeemed, in direct proportion to the eligible student's participation in the Prepaid Tuition Program.

10. The Joint Admissions Tuition Advantage Program Waiver awards a tuition waiver equal to 33 percent of the resident tuition rate at a state college or participating university for the two years of a student's matriculation in college, immediately following his or her Massachusetts community college enrollment.

11. University of Massachusetts Academic and Artistic Talent Program Tuition Waiver is awarded to students showing outstanding ability and promise in studio art, dance, music or theater regardless of residency. Candidates in the arts, dance, and music are identified and selected by departmental faculty through pre-college auditions, portfolios, and interviews. In theater, departmental faculty identify candidates during the course of the first year.

12. The Incentive Program for Aspiring Teachers Tuition Waiver is a non-need-based tuition waiver available to Massachusetts residents. It is designed to complement the Tomorrow's Teachers Scholarship Program. The Incentive Program for Aspiring Teachers will provide support to students in their third and fourth year of college, who have earned a cumulative 3.0 Grade Point Average and have entered a teacher certification program in a designated teacher shortage field. Teacher shortage fields in Massachusetts are Math, Science, Foreign Language, and Special Education.

13. The High Technology Scholar/Intern Tuition Waiver Program for Massachusetts residents provides an incentive to business and industry to support the computer information technology/science and engineering students through matching scholarships and internships.

14. Valedictorian Program Tuition Waivers are available to students who are Massachusetts residents enrolled in a degree program at a public higher education institution in the Commonwealth who have been designated by a public or private high school in the state as the valedictorian and meet the eligibility criteria established by the public higher education institution in this program.

15. The Commonwealth September 11, 2001 Tragedy Tuition Waiver recognizes the challenge that dependents of victims of the national tragedy may face in their attempt to pay for a college education. The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education has expanded the Tuition Waiver Program to include residents of the Commonwealth who are directly affected by the September 11 events. The Commonwealth September 11, 2001 Tragedy Tuition Waiver provides a 100 percent tuition waiver to children and widowed spouses of Massachusetts residents for any non-state supported course or program offered by a Massachusetts public college or university.

16. The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminar provides experiential education opportunities to students of the Massachusetts public college and university system. The Center uses the resources of the nation's capital to provide high-quality learning experiences to enhance students' academic, civic, and professional development. Nine internships are available for Massachusetts residents per year. Students must meet program eligibility requirements and will receive a tuition and mandatory fee waiver and housing scholarship.

17. The University of Massachusetts Exchange Program Tuition Waiver encourages direct reciprocal and regional cross-registration agreements through which the University enters into cooperative learning contracts with other institutions, allowing students to receive comparable waivers for cross-institution registration. Under such an agreement, University of Massachusetts students attend exchange institutions without tuition charge and exchange students attend the University without tuition charge, or with payment at in-state rates to the home institution.

18. The Commonwealth Talent Award Tuition Waiver draws candidates from among Massachusetts residents who have been invited to enter Commonwealth College at the University of Massachusetts. Candidates may also be drawn from among students who are currently attending Commonwealth College, are Massachusetts residents in good academic standing, and have exhibited a significant commitment and contribution to community or public service, or have demonstrated outstanding scholarship through excellence in research.

Need-Based Loans

Federal Perkins Loan: A need-based loan administered by the University. Repayment begins nine months after graduation or nine months after the borrower ceases to be enrolled at least half-time. The repayment period is 10 years at 5 per cent interest. Awards range from $200 to $3,000 per year.

Massachusetts No Interest Loan: This is a need-based loan offered by the University and funded by the eligible state residents. To be considered, students must be taking at least 12 credits and have filed a FAFSA with Federal Student Aid Programs. No interest is charged and there are no origination fees. Repayment begins six months after graduation or withdrawal from school and may not exceed 10 years. The minimum monthly payment is $50.

William D. Ford Federal Direct Subsidized Loan: A need-based federal loan administered by the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The application and promissory note for this loan are completed at the school. Eligibility for this loan is determined by completing the FAFSA or the Renewal FAFSA. First year students may borrow as much as $2,625; second year students may borrow up to $3,500. Students who have completed two years of undergraduate study may borrow up to $5,500 for each year thereafter. The federal government pays the interest on the subsidized loans while you are enrolled in school and during your six-month grace period after graduation or withdrawal from school. The federal government will allow at least ten years to repay this loan and offers several flexible repayment plans.

Employment Programs

Federal Work-study Program: A need-based program providing students with part-time employment in a variety of on-campus departments and off-campus agencies. Awards range from $1,200 to $1,800. Students are paid weekly and use these funds to help with personal expenses or other educational costs.

Job Listing Service

The Office of Financial Aid Services/Student Employment Office provides students with current listings of on- and off-campus jobs. This service is designed to assist students in finding temporary, part-time, and seasonal jobs to help meet their educational costs. Jobs are posted outside of Room 243 in the Whitmore Administration Building and on Financial Aid Services' Home Page at:

Alternate Loan Programs

There are several loan programs available to supplement financial aid or to assist families who do not qualify for federal, state, campus- based or private funds.

William D. Ford Federal Direct

Unsubsidized Loan

This loan is available to all eligible students, regardless of family income or financial need. Students must complete the FAFSA or Renewal Application to be considered for this program. Interest for the Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan accrues from the day the loan is disbursed. The promissory note for this loan is completed with the University's Financial Aid Office. Borrowers may receive both the subsidized and unsubsidized loans for the same loan period, although the combination of both cannot exceed the following loan limits:

Dependent Student Independent Student

Freshman $2,625 $6,625

Sophomore $3,500 $7,500

Junior $5,500 $10,500

Senior $5,500 $10,500

Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program offers loans up to the cost of attendance minus financial aid per academic year to qualified parents of undergraduate dependent students. The interest rate is variable and repayment begins 60 days after the second disbursement.

MEFA Loan: A credit based, fixed- or variable-rate loan available through the Massachusetts Education Financing Authority (MEFA). Parents may borrow the total cost of education minus any financial aid received. For an application, contact MEFA, tel. 1-800-449-MEFA.

Additional Services

Financial Aid Services' Home Page

Financial Aid Services maintains a home page on the World Wide Web (a global computer information network). Helpful information is available on a variety of topics, including financial aid application procedures, student employment, and loan information. Access to the Financial Aid Home Page is available at:

Scholarship Search Services

fastWEB Scholarship Search

fastWEB (Financial Aid Search through the Web) provides students at the University free access to a scholarship search via the Internet. This search service provides information on scholarships, grants, and funds for which you may be eligible from a database of over 400,000 sources. When you initiate a scholarship search, an electronic mailbox will be created for you. As new scholarship opportunities arise that match your eligibility, the information will be automatically forwarded to your electronic mailbox. Access to the fastWEB program is available through the Financial Aid Home Page. Please refer to the previous section for information on the Financial Aid Home Page.

Payment Plan

Academic Management Services (AMS): Allows students and their families to budget tuition and fee expenses over a ten-month period. For program details, contact AMS, tel. 1-800-556-6684.