The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Types of Aid

Non-degree seeking students are generally not eligible for financial aid. You can apply for an alternative loan to finance your education.

If you are eligible for a Federal Direct Loan (see Non-Degree Eligibility), you need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). After submitting your FAFSA, Financial Aid Services may award you Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans.


William D. Ford Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to eligible students, regardless of family income or financial need. However, to receive this loan, you must:

  • Successfully complete a FAFSA or renewal FAFSA.
  • Be enrolled in at least six credits in a degree granting program (see Non-Degree Eligibility for more information).
  • Complete a Direct Loan Entrance Counseling Form and Master Promissory Note if this is your first time borrowing a federal loan within ten years. Financial Aid Services will post these items on your To Do list on SPIRE.
  • Not have exceeded your lifetime aggregate direct loan limits. The lifetime limit for graduate students is:
    • $138,500 (this includes your undergraduate degree and may include subsidized loans)

The annual limit for graduate students (and eligible non-degree seeking students) is $20,500.

The interest rate is fixed at 6.60%. Interest payments for Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans begin the day the loan is disbursed and can be paid monthly, quarterly, or capitalized (adding the interest to the loan principal).

Alternative Loans

First: Have you filed a FAFSA?

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

Financial Aid Services at the University of Massachusetts Amherst 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. 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 you have 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.

Alternative Loan Options Available

Click here for information on credit based alternative loans available to undergraduate, graduate, international, continuing and professional education and non-degree students. As well as parents of undergraduate students.