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Financial Assistance & Assistantships

Financial Assistance & Assistantships


The Solution Center
University Crossing Lobby
220 Pawtucket Street, Suite 131
Lowell, MA 01854
Telephone: 978-934-2000
Office Hours: Monday - Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

FinancialAid Applying Financial Aid

The University requires students to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students may apply for the FAFSA online at It is recommended that students save time by requesting personal identification numbers called Federal Student Aid PINs before the student applies for aid. The PIN can be used to electronically sign the FAFSA, electronically sign certain loan contracts, and access online information about federal student aid the student has received. The PIN must be requested online at

Copies of students’ and spouses’ federal income tax, W2 forms and other forms may be requested by the Financial Aid Office to verify information provided on the FAFSA. Many forms requested are available on The Solution Center website. All information requested by the Financial Aid Office is required to complete the application process and is held in strictest confidence.

Eligibility Requirements

To receive financial aid from the various student aid programs, a student must:

  • Have demonstrated financial need to qualify for need-based aid programs. Need is defined as the cost of attendance minus the expected family contribution derived from filing the FAFSA. Students may also be eligible for non-need based aid programs, such as the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan program and meritorious awards.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  • Have a valid Social Security Number.
  • Make satisfactory academic progress.
  • Have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate, pass a test approved by the U.S. Department of Education, meet other standards the state of Massachusetts establishes that are approved by the U.S. Department of Education, or complete a high school education in a home school setting that is treated as a home school or private school under state law.
  • Be a matriculated student enrolled in a degree granting or approved certificate program. Students enrolled in non-degree programs are not eligible for financial aid.
  • Be enrolled at least half-time each semester. (Minimum of six credits for graduate students).
  • Cannot be in default or in over payment on a federal student loan.
  • Register with the Selective Service, if required (

Determining Financial Need:

Demonstrated financial need is the difference between the cost of attendance and the expected family contribution. The cost of attendance (COA) includes direct expenses such as tuition and fees, and also includes indirect such as room, board, books and transportation. The expected family contribution (EFC) is determined by the federal needs analysis formula and is calculated by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Types of Financial Aid:

William D. Ford Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan Program: The primary source of financial aid recommended for graduate students is the William D. Ford Federal Direct Student Loan Program. This program allows the student to borrow up to $20,500 per year at a low interest rate in subsidized and/or unsubsidized loans. Eligibility for a subsidized or unsubsidized direct loan is determined from the information provided on the FAFSA. A student may receive a subsidized loan and an unsubsidized loan for the same enrollment period. A subsidized loan is awarded on the basis of financial need. A student will not be charged any interest before repayment begins or during authorized periods of deferment. An unsubsidized loan is not awarded on the basis of need. A student will be charged interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. If a student allows the interest to accumulate, it will be capitalized that is, the interest will be added to the principal amount of the loan and additional interest will be based upon the higher amount. For more information about graduate student aid contact visit the Solution Center at

William D. Ford Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program:

A non-need based federal loan offers up to the cost of attendance minus financial aid per academic year to qualified graduate students and parents/stepparents of undergraduate dependent students. Interest rate is fixed and repayment begins 45-60 days after the second disbursement. Refer to the Direct Loan website for current interest rates. A FAFSA is not required to apply for the PLUS loan; however, students are encouraged to file a FAFSA so that they can receive the maximum aid available. Parents may download an application online from The Solution Center. Applications should be returned to the financial aid for processing. This is a loan that needs to be repaid by the parent/stepparent.

Other-Types Other Types of Assistance:

Federal Professional Nurse Traineeship Grant Program : Federally funded grant available to graduate nursing students. Award amounts vary and are dependent upon funding. Please contact the School of Nursing for more information.

Federal Teach Grant: Federally funded grant available to qualifying graduate education majors enrolled in coursework or plan to complete coursework toward a career in teaching in a high need subject area. Contact the Graduate School of Education for more information.

Deans Fellowships: $2,000 awards granted to eligible, newly admitted full-time, in-state Master’s candidates not receiving a teaching or research assistantship.

Provost’s Fellowships: $4,000 awards granted to eligible, newly admitted full-time, out-of-state and international Master’s candidates not receiving a teaching or research assistantship.


Teaching and Research Assistantships

A limited number of teaching and research assistantships are available for matriculated, full-time (minimum of 9 credits/semester) graduate students. All assistantships are subject to the agreement between UMass Lowell and UAW/Graduate Employees Organization. Teaching assistantships are assigned by the student's department; therefore, queries regarding teaching assistantships should be directed to the departmental graduate coordinator or chairperson (see for a list). Research assistantships are available through special arrangements with individual research advisers. Individuals interested in research assistantships should contact departmental faculty members concerning the availability of this form of financial aid.

Qualifying for an Assistantship

To ensure that assistantships are awarded to the most qualified individuals, the University has established the following requirements:

  1. 1. No teaching/research assistantship may be awarded to a graduate student with incompletes, F's, or U's on his or her transcript.
  2. 2. No teaching/research assistantship may be awarded to a graduate student who fails to maintain good academic standing (a grade point average under 3.000 on the official transcript).See the Academic Standing information at
  3. 3. No University-funded teaching/research assistantship may awarded to a master's degree candidate if he/she has completed the total number of credits required for his/her program.
  4. 4. Level III teaching/research assistantships may only be awarded to graduate students who have reached doctoral candidacy (i.e. completed all course work, oral/written and language examinations) and are enrolled in dissertation research.    

Teaching and Research Assistants are awarded either a semester or a yearly contract. The current negotiated agreement between The University of Massachusetts Lowell Board of Trustees and the Graduate Employee Organization is posted on the Human Resources website. Current stipend levels may be found there as well.

Graduate Student Assistantships

A limited number of student assistantships may be available in the departments. Students in this category are paid an hourly rate and are obligated to pay their own tuition and fees. All queries concerning assistantships should be directed to the graduate coordinator ( in the student's department.