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Financial Aid

Understanding the Financial Aid Process

Award Notice Information

The University of Maine at Fort Kent strives to provide financial assistance to qualified students on the basis of financial need and we are pleased to make you an offer of financial aid. Our offer is reflected on the UMFK Financial Aid Award Notice. Your aid eligibility and aid package have been based on the information you and your family provided to us on your financial aid application, (i.e. Free Application for Federal Student Aid - FAFSA), applicable federal state requirements and funds available.

The initial award notice is mailed to first- time UMFK students. Continuing students can view their award in MaineStreet. If there are changes to a student's award the student will receive an email from UMFK, asking the student to view their new award notice on MaineStreet. The new award notice will reflect changes or updates to your financial aid package.

We ask that the aid on an initial award notice be reviewed, accepted or decline. Aid can be accepted or decline on MaineStreet. Changes in your enrollment status or living arrangements, the reporting of outside assistance not previously reported, etc., need to be reported either on MaineStreet or to the financial aid office.

General Information (Know about the types of aid offered to you)

Grants and Scholarships (Aid offered to you on your award notice)

Most of these types of aid are either from UMFK or administered by UMFK. This may include but is not limited to, grants and/or scholarships (i.e., Federal Pell Grant, Federal SEOG, University Scholarship, State Grants, etc.) This offered aid will appear on a student's UMFK award notice. Assuming the student continues to meet all eligibility requirements (including being registered for classes), the aid is usually credited (each semester) to a student's UMFK account with the business office.

Apply for UMFK scholarships here.

Outside Scholarships (Not awarded by UMFK)

Outside scholarships is money that the student receives from outside sources other than from UMFK, (Exception: UMFK Employee waivers must be reported to the financial aid office.) Money could come from high school scholarships, employer assistance and other various sources. Restrictions and/or terms sometimes apply. Outside assistance can affect your financial aid package. It is very important to keep the financial aid office informed of all outside assistance received or anticipated.

Note: It is the students responsibility to report all anticipated outside assistance to the Financial Aid Office.

Once the financial aid office is informed (by the student or parent) of the anticipated outside funding to be received, the aid will be added to a student's award notice and listed as "Outside Assistance". (A student's award can be viewed on MaineStreet.) Outside scholarships reported will be added together and the combined total will be reflected as one figure on the Award Notice. For financial aid purposes, the total will be divided in two parts, half for the fall semester and half for the spring semester, even though in reality this may not be the case. Sometimes scholarships are more heavily paid to students during the spring semester.

Outside scholarships are usually credited to a student's University account but only once funds are received from the outside source. Some stipulations may apply and disbursing procedures will vary. Check with the organization and/or the institution who has granted you the award. This type of funding may only be available after your first semester is completed successfully. If this is your situation, notify the Business Office of forthcoming funds that you anticipate will be available to help pay your college. Arrangements will be considered by the Business Office.

Outside assistance must be reported to the financial aid office. Sometimes outside assistance can affect a student's financial aid package. Previous aid offered may need to be adjusted. Usually loans are the first type of aid adjusted.

Apply for outside scholarships here. (Select outside scholarships and/or outside links in the drop down box.)

Work Study

If you have been offered and have accepted your work-study award, you will receive more information regarding hiring and payroll procedures at a later date. Keep in mind that your work-study award will not be credited to your student account. The amount listed on your award notice is the amount you can earn. (Note: Once you begin earning this allotted money, a portion of these funds may be applied to your account if you wish to do so.) Once you are established on the payroll system, the work-study payroll is processed every two weeks. For more information about Work-study, click here.

Note: when reviewing your award letter to determine/calculate how much aid you are receiving, what your bill is and how much remaining you may need to pay on your bill, we suggest that you do not include the work-study allocation on your award letter since it is money that you need to earn first and it is not money that is immediately available upfront.

Loans

Loans must be repaid (and with interest). Educational loans include the Federal Perkins loan, the Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Loan, the Federal Parent (PLUS) loan, and (non-federal) Alternative loans.

Federal Perkins Loan

The Perkins Loan is a federally funded low interest (5 percent) loan for undergraduate and graduates attending school on at least a half-time basis. The school is the lender. Perkins loan borrowers do not have to pay origination and/ or insurance and guarantee fees. Loan funds will be provided by the school. The loan amount is usually divided into two payments. Eligibility is based on need. The grace period is 9 months. You must repay this loan to your school. For more information and application details click here.

A Perkins loan is not credited to your account automatically. Loan funds will only be applied to your bill/student account after your have accepted your loan on MaineStreet and have successfully completed all the necessary paperwork. More information is available from the campus website and from MaineStreet.

You may want to inform the Business Office that additional (anticipated) money will be applied to your student account in the near future. Informing the (One Stop) Business office of how you plan to pay your school bill, before it is due, may prevent late fee charges from being added to your student account.

Applying for a Federal Perkins Loan

If you have been offered a Perkins loan on your award notice and would like to borrow this money, you will need to accept it and complete a Perkins Master Promissory Note (MPN). Both can be completed in MaineStreet

Failure to complete your Perkins Promissory Note (MPN) will result in the cancellation of your Perkins loan. If you do not want the Perkins loan offered to you on your award notice, it may be denied on MaineStreet, or notify the student financial aid office. More information regarding the Perkins loan is available online.

Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Loans

Federal Subsidized Direct Loan

Loan eligibility is based on financial need. Repayment of loan principal and interest is not expected to be paid until the student graduates or drops below half-time (6.0 credit hours) enrollment. There is a 6 month grace period.

If you indicated an interest in borrowing loans on your financial aid application and we've determined you are eligible for a Subsidized Direct loan, the amount of your eligibility will be listed on your award notice. Maximum loan amounts vary depending on your grade level, your financial need, prior loans, and any regulations that your state's guaranteeing agency may have. For more information and application details click here.

Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan

This loan is available to students with partial or no eligibility for a Subsidized Direct loan. Financial need is not a requirement for eligibility for this type of loan. Although the principal does not have to be repaid until you graduate or drop below half-time time enrollment, with a 6 month grace period on the principal, you will be charged interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. If you are eligible for an Unsubsidized Direct loan the amount of your eligibility will be listed on your award notice. For more information and application details, click here.

Direct Loans are not credited to your account automatically. If you have accepted and applied for a Direct loan, you may want to inform the One Stop or the Business office that additional money will be forthcoming and is anticipated to be applied to your student account in the near future. Making payment arrangements with the appropriate office can help prevent late fee charges on your student account.

Applying for a Federal Direct Loan

If you have been offered a Direct loan on your award notice and would like to apply, you will need to complete all of the steps to the application process. The process must be completed before any Direct Loan funds can be transferred to your student account. The school is required to certify the loan before the lender can process it and before your money will be sent to the school to be applied to your student account/bill. Learn about the Direct loan and complete the loan application process here.

Federal Direct Plus (Parent) Loan

PLUS loans enable parents with good credit histories to borrow to help pay the education expenses of each college enrolled child who is a dependent student. This is a private loan. The application process is through Direct Lending. Parents generally will need to pass a credit check to be eligible for this type of loan. Parents must meet general citizenship requirements and may not be in default or owe a refund to any Student Financial Assistance (SFA) Program. The interest rate is variable, but will never exceed 9 percent.

Loan funds will be sent directly to the school. Amounts are limited to the Cost of Education minus any other financial aid received. Parents will pay a fee of up to 4 percent of the loan. Repayment begins with 60 days after the final loan disbursement. There is no grace period. Parents must begin to repay both principal and interest while the student is in school.

A UMFK application form and a Direct Loan Parent/Plus Master Promissory Note are required. The school is required to certify the loan. For more details on this loan type, click here.

Direct Plus (parent) loans are not credited to a student's account automatically. Parent/Plus loan funds will only be applied to a student's university bill/account after the parent has successfully completed all of the necessary loan paperwork. For more details about this loan application process, click here.

If a parent has applied and has been approved for a Parent/ Plus loan, you (or your parent) may want to notify the (One Stop) or Business Office that additional funding is anticipated and forthcoming. Informing the appropriate office, before the bill due date, on how you plan to pay the bill can prevent late fee charges.

Alternative Loan

The Alternative Loan is designed to help students to bridge the financial gap between college costs and traditional funding sources such as federal loans, grants, scholarships and work-study. Arrangements to borrow this type of loan are made through a bank or credit union. As part of the eligibility requirements, the borrower will generally need to pass a credit check. This is a private loan, established between a student/borrower and the lending institution.

If you have applied for this type of loan with your lender, you will also be required to complete all the necessary steps of the application process with your lender. An application form and a promissory note are also usually required. The school usually is required to certify this type of loan.

Loan funds will be sent directly to the school and applied directly to a student's account/bill. Borrower amounts are limited to the Cost of Education minus any other financial aid received. Fees may apply. Repayment is required according to the terms of the loan. FMI, regarding this loan type, click here.

Alternative loans are not credited to your account automatically. If a student has applied and has been approved for an Alternative loan, you may want to notify the One Stop or the Business Office that additional funding is anticipated and forthcoming and will be applied to your account/bill. Informing the One Stop/Business Office how you plan to pay your bill, before its due date, can prevent late fee charges.

How to Evaluate How Much Money You Need

Determining your Estimated Cost of Education

We have based your award on your estimated cost of education which includes both DIRECT COSTS (tuition, fees, and on-campus room and board) and INDIRECT COSTS (books, off-campus room and board, transportation, utilities, medical/dental, child care, and miscellaneous expenses related to your attendance at UMFK). To avoid confusion, keep in mind that your University bill, generated by the UMFK Business Office (and available in MaineStreet to view), will only list your DIRECT COSTS. You will be charged for your fall and spring semesters separately. Your anticipated academic financial aid will be applied to your student account in two parts, i.e., half for the fall semester and half for the spring semester. View UMFK's Cost of Education Chart here.

Find the information on the Cost of Education Chart that best corresponds to your situation (i.e., on-campus, off-campus, in-state, out of state etc.). Compare the estimated costs listed for your specific category to determine your estimated costs. You may also want to consider other personal living school related costs as well, such as money for gas and rent, if you are living off-campus.

Review your Award Notice

Review your award notice to determine how much money is being offered to you. Add the free money (i.e., scholarships and grants) first. If scholarships do not cover your estimated costs (and living expenses), then consider "how to come up with your share".

How to Come Up with Your Share

Evaluate your own resources from savings and anticipated income from all sources. If the total of your financial aid and your own resources combined are not enough to pay your education bill, consider the following options:

  • Look for a summer job
  • Savings
  • Lower your indirect costs
  • Take fewer classes (although this may affect the amount of financial aid received)
  • Budget your miscellaneous expenses
  • Apply for additional outside scholarships
  • Consider a roommate if you live off-campus
  • Consider a payment plan with the UMFK Business Office
  • Reduce your travel expenses
  • Consider other loan options (see a financial aid advisor)
  • Consider on campus and/or off campus employment

Common Questions About Your Financial Aid Award

What Should You Do Now?

After you have considered all of your resources and if you still come up short with funds to help pay your educational costs, then consider any loans offered to you on your award notice. The financial aid package (i.e., aid listed on the award notice) can include such loans as the Federal Perkins loan and the 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 work best for you and your family. To learn more about loans click here.

What if my Award Notice Does Not Provide Sufficient Funding?

If the aid offered on the award notice is not sufficient to cover a student's educational costs, this is the time a student and/or parent may want to explore other private lending options, such as the Direct Parent Plus Loan and the Alternative Loan. These loans are based on credit and can supplement a school's financial aid package. Different types of loans have different procedures. Make sure to complete all the steps to the application process successfully with your lender. Various Alternative loans offer different benefits and interest rates. You may want to shop around. Visit our website at the link above for more information.

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. Financial Aid that a student is scheduled to receive (for a semester) will be disbursed, (i.e. applied) to a student's account (billing) one week prior to the (scheduled) first-day-of-classes each semester. Once any aid is applied to a student's account, it will show as a "payment" under the billing section on MaineStreet.

Knowing what to do can Save you Money

Since (a semester's) financial aid is only applied to a student's account one week prior to the semester classes beginning, the Business Office (Billing Office) may not be aware of all the financial aid that you anticipate receiving (including Direct Loans, Parent Plus loans and/or Alterntive loans that you are applying for). Therefore, if you have an outstanding balance (bill) with the Business Office and if you are planning to pay your bill with money from anticipated financial aid and/or a loans, it would be in your best interest to inform the business office of "how you plan to pay your college bill". This is considered "making payment arrangements".

  • If payment arrangements are not made with the One Stop or Business Office by the designated pay date, a late payment fee will be charged.
  • Once the Business Office is informed of any pending financial aid and/or loans that you anticipate receiving, they may ask you to sign-up for a payment plan or flag your file with aid pending. Making arrangements in a timely manner can avoid your being charged a late fee. A payment plan form can be downloaded from the campus website, under campus forms.
  • If your anticipated financial aid and loan(s) do not pay your total (semester) bill, you will also need to make arrangements with the One Stop or Business office on how you will pay the remaining amount. A payment plan can be established. The payment plan form is available for you to download from the campus website, under campus forms.
  • If for whatever reason you do not receive anticipated financial aid (and loans) or insufficient funds, the obligation of paying your University 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.

Other Important Things to Know

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., or if you will be attending only one semester during the academic year or graduating in December rather than in May of the academic year) AND/OR changes in your living arrangements (i.e., moving from parents' home to your own 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 and/or benefits after the financial aid package has been offered. If the outside assistance, when 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/or 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 classes during a semester, that semester's financial aid award will be prorated based on the date of withdrawal.

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.

Refund

A semester refund may be issued when a student’s current semester financial aid is greater than the student’s current semester bill and there is no prior back balance on the student’s account/bill.

Because of the regulations requiring 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 check the status of your bill. 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, it is possible for you to 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 what is indicated on your (most current) award notice, your aid may need to be adjusted (i.e., increased or decreased). This is why it is very important for you to keep the financial aid office informed of credit load changes, outside scholarships, etc., (preferably prior to your refund). These potential changes may affect your financial aid, as well as, 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, keep in mind that adjustments and debit/credit postings are not always applied to a student's 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 One Stop or the financial aid office.

Important: Here is an example of another issue that can occur. If an outside scholarship is applied to a student's account one day, the student's bill may appear to be paid in full and the student may be issued a refund for the excess money. However, once the financial aid office is made aware of the outside scholarship and once the student's file is reviewed to include the outside scholarship, the extra funding the student received can sometimes create an over-award. If there is an over-award, the school may be required to reduce a prior financial aid packaged offered/awarded to a student. If aid is retracted from a student's account, this can possibly create an unanticipated balance/bill on the student's account.

Reminder: It is the student's responsibility to report all outside aid to the financial aid office.

The financial aid office is required to monitor all the aid a student receives from all resources. If outside assistance is the cause of an over-award, the school must adjust previously offered aid as necessary. The school will normally reduce loans and work-study first.

Before Spending your Refund

The financial aid process and the posting of debits and credits on the student's bill are very complex. Sometimes postings and adjustments are not always posted on a student's account at the time a refund may be issued to you. And sometimes debits/credits and other misc. entries to your account may not have occurred yet or have not occurred in chronological order on the bill. As a result, you may be issued a refund before your bill is actually 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 make sure all your charges are correct/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 should that your financial aid is posted on your bill according to the aid that you have accepted (on your award notice) and according to any loans you have applied and were eligible for. When in doubt about amounts, talk to the One Stop, the Business and/or the Financial Aid Office.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

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

Keeping In Touch

The Student Financial Aid Office will post/announce and attempt to keep students informed of various deadlines, information requests and procedures through email, direct mail, the UMFK website, and/or other appropriate means. It is in your best interest to 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 would like to update your address with the University, please do so on MaineStreet or contact our Registrar's office.

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, move from parents' home to off-campus or to the dorm or vice versa, get divorced, lose your job, receive outside assistance or are affected by a change in your parents' financial situation, please notify the UMFK Student Financial Aid Office IMMEDIATELY. Certain financial hardship situations can be addressed by completing the Special Circumstance form available from the Financial Aid website, under "Financial Aid Forms".

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