Determination of Awards
In an effort to distribute limited funds in a fair and equitable manner, UMass Lowell awards grant aid based on equity. Financial Aid awards may consist of some or all of the following types of aid depending on financial need: grants, scholarships, student employment and federal student loans.
Initial financial aid award packages for undergraduate students are based on the cost of 12 state supported credits each semester. Graduate student financial aid packages are based on the cost of 9 state supported credits each semester. Online and professional studies student financial aid packages are based on 6 credits.
Please note: all financial aid awards are contingent on funding.
Students receiving internal or external scholarships, stipends, assistantships or other payments toward education expenses must notify The Solution Center in writing using the Additional Resources Form (pdf).
Federal regulations require the coordination of internal and external awards with other need-based financial aid awards received. In situations when student financial need has been met with financial aid funds, it is the university’s policy to reduce aid in the following sequence: student loans, student employment and finally, grant aid.
Student enrollment status is confirmed after the add/drop period of each semester. Students whose enrollment is less than the anticipated enrollment, as well as those enrolled in continuing education courses, may see an adjustment in financial aid awards as the costs for these enrollment charges is different than the costs upon which the original award was based. The Solution Center will email students regarding award changes; however students are encouraged to check SiS (Student Self-Service) often to stay up-to-date of award offers and changes.
In addition to changes in enrollment, students may see adjustments due to the following:
- Change in residency
- Change in grade level
- Change in housing status
- Change in degree status
- Change in graduation term
Financial Aid Disbursement & Refund Checks
Disbursement of financial aid, in accordance with the university’s policy, is directly made to the student’s account, generally in two equal disbursements (except in the case of student employment). Disbursements are made after the Add/Drop period of each semester once enrollment, residency, grade level and housing are confirmed and all program requirements have been met (ie. loan entrance counseling, promissory notes, verification, etc.).
Students whose financial aid award exceeds their charges will have the credit balance returned to them after disbursements are made. Students can authorize the university to deposit credit balances directly into a designated bank account by enrolling in Direct Deposit through SIS Student Self-Service.
For detailed instructions on Direct Deposit, please read the: Enrolling in Direct Deposit job aid (pdf).
Financial aid awards are offered based on the information available at the time of the award. Students are expected to maintain eligibility throughout the year. Failure to meet federal, state or institutional eligibility criteria may result in adjustment or cancellation of awards.
Common eligibility failures include:
- Student loan default
- Non-degree status
- Change in program/plan
- Change in career/degree
- Failure to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards
- Course load requirements:
- Some financial aid programs require full-time enrollment (12 or more credits) while others require half-time enrollment (6 or more credits)
- Audited courses are not eligible for aid
Repeated Coursework for Financial Aid Eligibility:
Repeated courses may impact financial aid eligibility and Federal Title IV financial aid awards. In order for a repeated course to count toward the student’s enrollment status for financial aid purposes, the student may only repeat a previously passed course once (a total of two attempts). A student may receive aid when repeating a course that was previously failed or withdrawn from regardless of the number of times the course was attempted and failed.
Note: All repeated courses affect financial aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) calculations, regardless of whether the student received financial aid or not. All repeated coursework will be counted as attempted credits in SAP calculations.
Students must reapply for financial aid every year, beginning October 1, by the March 1 priority deadline by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online.
Students who withdraw from the university will be subject to federal return of Title IV, state and institutional refund calculations. These regulations determine how much of your financial aid awards are earned at the time of withdrawal. Prorated financial aid awards may result in a balance owed to the university. Students who withdraw from the university during the fall semester will have their aid cancelled for the spring semester. If a student re-enrolls in the spring semester, financial aid will be reinstated based on availability of funds. Additional information is found on the Withdrawal Policy webpage.
Grant and scholarship aid that, combined, exceed the cost for tuition, fees, books, and required equipment & supplies may be considered taxable income. You are responsible for your own record-keeping, so that you can complete your tax forms properly.
For additional information, please refer to IRS Publication 970: Tax Benefits for Education, available on the IRS website, or discuss your situation with a personal income tax professional.
Rights and Responsibilities
Understand your rights and responsibilities as a financial aid recipient.
For more information, you can review the Student Guide to Financial Aid as a resource.