Changes to Financial Aid Awards

If any changes are made to your financial aid award, you will be notified by email to view your revised award notice on MaineStreet. Make sure to activate your campus email at the University of Maine System Email page. Changes to an award may be due to any of the following circumstances:

  • Adjustments: initial financial aid awards are based on the assumption that you will be enrolled full-time for the academic year. Other information is acquired from data you reported on either your Free Application for Federal Student (FAFSA) or on your award notice. Any changes in your enrollment (i.e., from full-time to 3/4 time or 1/2 time status to full-time, etc., if you will be attending only one semester during the academic year, or if you’re graduating in December rather than in May) or changes in your living arrangements (i.e., moving from your parents’ home to an apartment, moving from off-campus to your parents’ home, or from the dorm to your parent’s home, etc.) may result in adjustments to your financial aid award.
  • Receipt of outside assistance/state grants: often, a student may receive additional assistance or benefits after the financial aid package has been offered. If the outside help, combined with your financial aid award, exceeds your total eligibility for all types of aid, adjustments to your award will be required. Usually, all or a portion of loan eligibility and work-study will be reduced before grants or scholarships are replaced.
  • Corrections and updates to your original aid FAFSA application
  • Changes in your own or your family’s circumstances
  • Further awarding or processing of specific types of financial aid
  • Withdrawal from classes: if you withdraw from all your courses during a semester, that semester’s financial aid award will be prorated based on the withdrawal date.

Please notify the financial aid office immediately if any information on your award notice is incorrect, changes you requested are incorrect, if you wish to cancel any of the aid offered, or if you have additional assistance to report.

Refunds

A refund may be issued when your current semester financial aid exceeds your current semester bill, and there is no prior back balance owed.

Because regulations define how funds can be applied to a student’s account, a refund could be issued with a remaining (back) balance left on your account.

Please check your bill periodically in MaineStreet to see your account status. Just because you get a refund does not mean your school balance is paid in full!

If a refund is issued with a back balance remaining on your account, you can pay your remaining balance by reapplying your refund to your account.

Bookstore vouchers may be available if you are due a refund or if an outside agency has agreed to pay the cost of your books, and you can provide verifying documentation.

Important: If your credit load is different than indicated on your (most current) award notice, your aid may need to be adjusted (i.e., increased or decreased). This is why you must inform the financial aid office of credit load changes, outside scholarships, etc., (preferably before your refund). These potential changes may affect your financial aid and your student bill.

Important: Please be aware that the “order” of charges and the “order” of financial aid adjustments and when adjustments and jobs are run to update the billing can also affect the details showing on the bill. And sometimes, figures are inaccurate on a particular day until all adjustments are reviewed and posted. Also, remember that adjustments and debit/credit postings are not always applied to your account in chronological order. This can sometimes cause incorrect refunds to be issued. If you suspect this has happened, please discuss your concern with the Business Office or the financial aid office.

Important: If an outside scholarship is applied to your account one day, your bill may appear to be paid in full, and you may be issued a refund for the excess money. However, once the financial aid office is aware of the outside scholarship and your file is reviewed to include the outside scholarship, the extra funding can sometimes create an over-award. If there is an over-award, we may be required to reduce a prior financial aid package awarded to you. If aid is retracted from your account, this can create an unanticipated balance on your account.

Remember, it is the student’s responsibility to report all outside aid to the financial aid office.

The financial aid office must monitor all the aid you receive from all sources. If outside assistance is the cause of an over-award, we need to adjust previously offered aid as necessary. We will generally reduce loans and work-study first.

Before Spending your Refund

The financial aid process and posting debits and credits on your bill are very complex. Sometimes postings and adjustments are not always posted on your account when a refund may be issued to you. And sometimes, debits/credits and other miscellaneous entries to your account may not have occurred yet or have not appeared in chronological order. As a result, you may be issued a refund before your bill is updated and your debits and credits are posted correctly. If this is the case, you may receive a refund that is too large.

Before cashing a refund, ensure all your charges are correct and current on your bill. Example: were you charged for all the credits you are taking? Were your room and board charges both applied to your account?

Also, make sure that your financial aid is posted on your bill according to the assistance you have accepted (on your award notice) and any loans you have applied for. Talk to the Business Office or the Financial Aid Office when in doubt about amounts.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Federal regulations require that you must maintain satisfactory academic progress and be in a UMFK degree program for you to receive federal student aid. Both qualitative (grade point average) progress and quantitative (number of credits earned) progress are measured. A copy of the current Satisfactory Academic Progress is available in the UMFK portal.

Knowing what to do can Save you Money

Since (a semester’s) financial aid is only applied to your account one week before the semester classes begin, the Business Office (Billing Office) may not be aware of all the financial aid that you anticipate receiving (including Direct Loans, Parent Plus loans or Alternative loans that you are applying for). If you have an outstanding balance with the Business Office and are planning to pay your bill with money from anticipated financial aid or a loan, inform the business office of “how you plan to pay your college bill.” This is considered “making payment arrangements.”

  • A late payment fee will be charged if you don’t make payment arrangements with the Business Office by your bill’s due date.
  • Once you inform the Business Office of any pending financial aid or loans you anticipate receiving, they may ask you to sign-up for a payment plan or flag your file with aid pending. Making arrangements promptly can avoid a late fee being charged.
  • If your anticipated financial aid and loan(s) do not pay your total (semester) bill, you will also need to make arrangements with the Business Office on how you will pay the remaining amount. A payment plan can be established. The payment plan form is available to download from the UMFK portal.
  • If, for whatever reason, you do not receive anticipated financial aid (and loans) or insufficient funds, the obligation of paying your bill remains with you. Payment arrangements can be made. If arrangements are not made within a reasonable time, outstanding accounts not paid can be sent to a collection agency.

Common Questions About Your Financial Aid Award

What should you do now?

If, after you have considered all of your resources, you still come up short with funds to pay your educational costs, then consider any loans offered on your award notice. The financial aid package (i.e., aid listed on the award notice) can include such loans as Federal (subsidized and unsubsidized) Direct Loans. You’ll want to consider the loans offered by the school on your award notice first. The benefits are usually better. (Always consider grants and scholarships first because you do not need to pay these back.) Apply for loans only if you need the money and borrow only what you need. Remember, whatever loans you borrow, you will need to repay (and with interest). There are different types of loans. Some interest rates are higher than ours. Select the loan type that works best for you and your family. To learn more about loans, visit the UMFK loans page.

What if my Award Notice doesn’t provide enough funding?

If the aid you’re offered is insufficient to cover your educational costs, you or your parent(s) may want to explore other private lending options such as the Direct Parent PLUS Loan and the Alternative Loan. These loans are credit-based and can supplement your financial aid package. Different types of loans have procedures unique to them. Make sure to complete the entire application process with your lender. Various Alternative loans offer varying benefits and interest rates. You may want to shop around.

When will my financial aid be disbursed to my student account?

An academic year’s financial aid is disbursed in two semesters, i.e., fall and spring. Aid you are scheduled to receive (for a semester) will be disbursed (i.e., applied) to your account one week before the scheduled first day of classes each semester. Once any aid is applied to your account, it will show as a “payment” under the billing section on MaineStreet.

Keeping In Touch

The Student Financial Aid Office will attempt to inform you of various deadlines, information requests, and procedures through email, direct mail, the UMFK website, and other appropriate means. It’s critical you keep the University updated on your current address and telephone number. It is difficult for us to help you if we cannot reach you. If you want to update your address with the University, please do so on MaineStreet or contact our Registrar’s office.

Once accepted into a degree program at UMFK, you will have online access to your Student Service Center on MaineStreet. You will find information regarding your classes, bill, and financial aid here.

If your financial aid status changes in any way, i.e., if you take one or more semesters off, change your credit load, secure a job, change living arrangements, get divorced, lose your job, receive outside assistance, or are affected by a change in your parents’ financial situation, please notify the Financial Aid Office IMMEDIATELY. Certain financial hardship situations can be addressed by completing the Special Circumstance form available within the UMFK portal.