The Office of Student Financial Services exists to help students who need financial assistance to pursue a college education. Financial assistance of a variety of types is available for those who qualify.
Most aid is awarded to students on the basis of financial need. The basic premise underlying the financial aid program is that the primary responsibility for meeting college expenses rests with the student. Where appropriate, parents and spouse are taken into consideration when making a determination of resources which should be available to meet educational expenses.
After a determination of available resources is made, these resources are subtracted from a cost of attendance (COA) budget which is based on an individual’s education costs and living costs. The remainder or difference (COA minus student estimated family contribution (EFC)) is a student’s financial need, and it is this information that is used in allocating need based aid funds. The total amount of aid a student is awarded will not exceed the student’s cost of attendance.
All financial aid falls into three categories: 1) grants and scholarships, frequently referred to as gift aid because they do not normally have to be repaid; 2) student loans, on which payments with low interest begin six to nine months after the student has left school; and 3) work assistance, which is part-time employment. Loan and work assistance are frequently referred to as self-help aid. Most financial aid to an individual student comes in the form of a “package”-the aid offered contains a mixture of gift and self-help assistance.
All aid applicants must be admitted to a UMA degree or aid eligible certificate program prior to the issuance of financial aid. Beginning October 2016, students should apply for financial aid as soon after October 1 of each year as possible. UMA’s preferred application date is March 1. Every financial aid applicant must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Tax transcripts and other supporting documentation may be requested. Students who have previously earned a baccalaureate degree may be eligible for Direct Federal Stafford Loans only.
Types of Aid
There is a complete listing of available UMA scholarships, including UMA Center and University of Maine System specific scholarships, on the website at https://www.uma.edu/financial/scholarships/. In general, scholarships require a minimum academic grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 unless otherwise specified. Some scholarships are based on demonstrated financial need as determined by the results of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students must file the FAFSA prior to March 1 for each academic year in order to be considered. All scholarship amounts vary.
Unless otherwise noted, students must complete the application process by completing and submitting a General Scholarship Application by March 1. These forms are available in the Office of Student Financial Services, on the financial aid website, and at various sites and centers from January 15 through the end of February.
Federal Pell Grant is a federally-funded grant program. The amount of the Federal Pell Grant varies depending upon the number of credits for which the student is enrolled (full time, three quarter, half time, or less than half time), and the calculated expected family contribution. Federal Pell Grant funding is available for students who have not previously earned a baccalaureate degree.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program is a federally-funded program for undergraduate students with financial need and availability of funds. FSEOG grants are available in amounts ranging from $100 to $4,000 per year with priority for Federal Pell Grant recipients.
Maine State Grant is a state funded grant program for qualified full-time and/or part-time students that are residents of the state of Maine who have applied for federal aid by May 1.
University Grant is a University-funded grant based on financial need and availability of funds. Grants range from $100 to $2,000.
Pine Tree State Pledge is a University-funded program for Pell eligible new in-state full-time students and full-time and part-time transfer students. To be eligible, transfer students must have earned at least 30 transferable credits and not be currently enrolled in a University of Maine System institution. Additionally, students must meet in-state residency requirements and al entrance requirements. For more information visit www.uma.edu/pinetreestatepledge.
10K Scholarship is a University funded program for student who are not eligible for Pell Grant. To be eligible the student must enrolled in a full-time course load (12+ credit hours) in a given term. Additionally, students must meet-in state residency requirements and have been accepted and enrolled at UMA.
Waivers are available to students meeting certain criteria. Students qualifying for waivers receive tuition and/or fee reductions. The tuition waivers usually apply to for-credit courses. Each university has the right to designate tuition waivers for non-credit courses for employees and senior citizens.
In some cases, applicants eligible to receive University tuition waivers and/or scholarships are also eligible to receive benefits from non-University financial aid programs. The total available aid may exceed a student’s total cost of attendance. University tuition waivers and scholarships will be administered so that total financial aid does not exceed a student’s total cost of attendance. Where UMA policy and federal financial aid regulations differ, federal regulations will prevail.
Total financial aid is to be defined as all federal, state, and institutional aid and educational assistance from outside sources.
Dependent Tuition Waiver: Dependents of University employees may be eligible for a partial tuition waiver. Contact the personnel office of the employee’s campus for specific details.
Employee Tuition Waiver: Employees may be eligible to take up to two courses each semester, depending on space availability. Contact the personnel office on the employee’s campus for specific details.
High School Aspirations Incentive Program: The Aspirations Program is funded by the Maine Legislature, authorized under Title 20-A, Chapter 208-A and administered by the Maine Department of Education. The Aspirations Program provides eligible Maine high school students with an opportunity to receive academic credits toward a high school diploma, and an associate- or baccalaureate-level degree, through enrollment and successful completion of college-level courses at approved Maine institutions. This is often referred to as dual or concurrent enrollment. To be eligible, students must be enrolled in a public high school or be home schooled and meet certain general and academic requirements. The participating institutions must have course space available and may require prerequisite courses for enrollment. The waiver will fund up to 6 credit hours per semester with a maximum of 12 credit hours per academic year. Students may take courses through on-site instruction, UMA interactive television, or courses offered online. Contact UMA’s Office of Early College for more information.
Native American Waiver Program (Effective September 2012): The University of Maine System has a waiver program for qualified and eligible North American Indians who meet the following criteria:
- Student must be a member and be included on the current tribal census of the Passamaquoddy Tribe, the Penobscot Nation, the Houlton Band of Maliseet, the Aroostook Band of Micmac, or have at least one parent or grandparent who is included on the current tribal census of the Passamaquoddy Tribe, the Penobscot Nation, the Houlton Band of Maliseet, the Aroostook Band of Micmac; OR
- Student must be a member and be included on the current tribal census of a Canadian Wabanaki Tribe or have at least one parent or grandparent who is included on the current tribal census, and have lived in Maine for at least twelve months, for purposes other than education, immediately prior to application. OR
- Student must be a member and be included on a current tribal census of a federally, state or provincially recognized Native American Tribe and who have lived in Maine for at least twelve months, for purposes other than education, immediately prior to application.
- Proof of residency is required for all applicants with the exception of current tribal members and their direct biological descendants (e.g., parent or grandparent was a tribal member) of the Passamaquoddy Tribe, the Penobscot Nation, the Houlton Band of Maliseet, or the Aroostook Band of Micmac. The residency guidelines are the same as those employed for any student and can be located within the UMS Administrative Practice Letter IX-G found at: http://www.maine.edu/about-the-system/system-office/finances/administrative-practice-letters/
- Matriculating students must apply for financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and supply all required documentation to the Financial Aid Office at the campus they are attending. For the academic year and/or the fall semester, the FAFSA must be filed and the aid application completed by September 1st. For the spring semester, the FAFSA must be filed and the aid application completed by January 1st.
- All students must remain eligible to register for classes and maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress as defined by federal guidelines. Degree seeking students will be evaluated based on the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy of the campus where they are matriculating. Students who are not matriculating at any campus of the University of Maine System will be evaluated using the University of Maine Satisfactory Academic Progress policy. The policy can be found at https://umaine.edu/stuaid/sap/.
- Students who have earned a degree and wish to continue their education with the waiver must enroll in a degree program at the next academic level from the one they have earned.
- Native American Waivers cannot be applied to the B.S. in Aviation program flight fees.
Senior Citizens Waiver: Maine residents aged 65 or older may apply for tuition waivers for credit bearing undergraduate courses. Waivers are approved based on space availability. Senior Citizen Waivers cannot be applied to the B.S. in Aviation program.
Trustee Waiver: See President’s Scholarships.
Veterans’ Dependent Waiver: Tuition, mandatory fees, and lab fees are waived for eligible orphans, widows, and widowers of veterans as well as spouses and children of veterans who are disabled, missing in action, etc. Initial eligibility is determined by the Veteran’s Affairs Office of the State of Maine. Students must be enrolled in an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree program. The waiver is administered so that total financial aid does not exceed a student’s total education costs. MRSA, Title 37-B, Section 505, as amended 2002, P. L. c. 662.
Federal Direct Loan Program (subsidized and unsubsidized): Students may apply for loans under the Federal Loan Program through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. A subsidized loan is awarded on the basis of financial need. The federal government pays the interest on the loan until repayment begins. An unsubsidized loan is not awarded on the basis of need. Students are charged interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. An entrance interview and master promissory note is required for all new borrowers at UMA.
Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS): This loan program is a low-interest loan program designed for parents of dependent students. Parents need to contact Office of Financial Aid for further information.
Federal regulations require less-than-half-time students, who have received Perkins/Nursing/Direct Loans while attending the University of Maine at Augusta, be informed that they need to complete an exit interview for each loan type advanced. This notification occurs when students’ credit hours drop below a half-time basis or if they have graduated, withdrawn, or transferred to another school.
The exit interview is designed to provide the student with valuable counseling and information regarding the terms of repayment. As students enter their grace period and begin the repayment process of their loans, the first step is to complete an exit interview. The exit interview may be completed online at www.studentloans.gov.
The Federal Work-Study Program is a federally-funded financial aid program which allows eligible students to earn money to help meet educational expenses. Federal work-study is awarded to eligible students as a portion of the overall financial aid package. Students are paid bi-weekly for hours worked until the total award has been earned. Federal work-study funds cannot be used to pay for work that is religious, political, or performed for the benefit of a private individual. Because of this, students can be paid for general office work but cannot be paid for typing a dissertation or assisting with private consultation. Students cannot be hired to replace regular employees and all employment practices must comply with existing civil rights and wage and hour regulations. Students are paid only for hours worked.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Continued eligibility for financial aid depends on a student making satisfactory academic progress toward completion of degree requirements. The University’s educational progress scale has been incorporated with federal requirements to establish appropriate progress. A copy of this standard is available on the financial aid Website (http://www.uma.edu/financial/policies/sap/) or in the Office of Financial Aid.