The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships strives to provide as many resources as possible to assist students in getting answers to the many questions they have about financial aid. Below, we have curated a number of frequently asked questions that we hope can assist you in getting quick, easy-to-understand answers to some of the most commonly asked questions. If you cannot find the information you are looking for below or elsewhere on our website, please feel free to contact our office for further assistance.
How can I view my financial aid?
Once awarded, students will receive notification of their financial aid awards via myUMBC email. Their financial aid offers can be viewed at any time on myUMBC by clicking “Billing and Personal Finances” and then “Account Inquiry.” Grants and scholarships are automatically applied. You can find further instructions on accepting Stafford loan eligibility here.
Why is my aid different than it was last year?
Your eligibility for financial aid is evaluated separately each year. Your awards may vary from year to year depending on your eligibility as determined by your EFC (Expected Family Contribution) from the FAFSA and your COA (Cost of Attendance) with the university. Your EFC is calculated using many factors, including parent and student income, the number of people in your parents’ household, number in college, etc. Your COA represents the maximum aid you can be awarded at UMBC based upon your residency, housing and enrollment. If your housing or enrollment statuses have changed, please update our office by submitting the appropriate update forms to our office.
When should I accept/decline my loans?
Students can accept their loans at any time once they are offered. It is recommended that aid is accepted a minimum of two weeks prior to the billing due date to ensure that it is able to disburse by that time.
The Cost Calculator can be used to estimate out-of-pocket costs and help to determine what portion of the offered loan eligibility students may want to accept. If loans are declined, they can be reinstated at a later date through a Loan Increase/Reinstate Request. Fall only loans are available through early December and Fall/Spring and Spring only loans are available through early May.
How can I make changes to Stafford loans I have already accepted or declined?
You can request adjustments to Stafford loans prior to and within 14 days of the funds disbursing to your account. Requests can be made via the Loan Increase/Reinstatement or Loan Decrease/Cancellation forms located on our forms page.
How can I accept or decline the Parent PLUS loan offer on my account?
Parent PLUS Loan offers are placeholders on student accounts to demonstrate maximum eligibility. Because the Parent PLUS loan is a credit-based loan, it requires a separate parent application. As a result, students are unable to take direct action on the loan in their account. Once an approved application is received and processed, the loan offer will be updated accordingly by our office. You can find more information and a link to the Parent PLUS Loan Application here.
If no Parent PLUS Loan application is received, the offer will be removed from the student’s account automatically. No action is needed.
Why has my aid not applied to my account?
There are many reasons why your aid may not yet have been disbursed. Common reasons for this include our disbursement schedule and an incomplete financial aid record (outstanding alerts/requests for information).
Due to federal regulations, we are only able to disburse funds a maximum of 10 days prior to the start of the semester. If you are enrolled full time (12+ credits for undergraduates and 9+ credits for graduates), your aid may be eligible to disburse on our first regularly-scheduled disbursement date for the semester. If you are a part-time student, your aid will become eligible for disbursement after the final add/drop date for the semester. If you intend to be part time, we recommend completing an Enrollment Update Form as soon as possible so that your financial aid record can be updated accurately. You can view our full disbursement schedule via the calendar on our home page.
We also recommend checking your alerts to ensure that there are no outstanding requests from our office that may be holding your aid from disbursement.
When will I get my bill and how can I access it?
E-bills are posted by Student Business Services (SBS) on the first day of each month beginning in August for the fall semester and January for the spring semester. You can find the full e-billing schedule on the SBS Website. Students can view their e-bills on myUMBC by clicking “Billing & Personal Finances.” They will also receive notifications on their myUMBC account and via myUMBC email regarding bill availability.
I have an alert indicating my account is past due. What does this mean?
This alert indicates that all or part of your bill remains unpaid. You may be receiving late fees. For more information regarding this alert, and for questions regarding your bill, please contact Student Business Services (SBS).
If your current aid does not cover your university charges, you may be interested in pursuing an alternative loan or Parent/Grad PLUS loan. We are not able to make any alternative loan recommendations, however, we do offer a loan search tool to assist you. If you are a dependent student, your parents may be interested in applying for a Parent PLUS loan. If you are a graduate student, you can apply for a Grad PLUS loan.
How will I get my refund?
If your financial aid exceeds the balance on your account, Student Business Services (SBS) will process a refund for you via the method you selected with their office. Typically, your refund will be processed within a few days of financial aid disbursement. The length of time it may take to receive your refund also varies depending upon the refund method selected. Typically, e-refunds are available sooner than paper checks. You can find more information on this process here. If you have questions or concerns regarding your refund, it is recommended that you contact SBS directly.
Can I use my financial aid to pay for books?
Students who need assistance paying for books can apply for a book loan to use towards the purchase of books at the UMBC Bookstore. The book loan serves as an advance on any anticipated financial aid refund. In order to be eligible, students must have submitted all requested documents to our office, must not have an outstanding balance with the university and must have aid in excess of their bill for the upcoming semester. Book loan applications must be completed each semester for consideration. You can find the application and more information on our Book Loan page.
My financial aid does not cover my bill. What are additional aid options?
If you are a dependent undergraduate student, you may be interested in pursuing alternative loans or a Parent PLUS Loan. Alternative loans come from private lenders, and while we are unable to give any lender recommendations, we do offer a loan search tool to assist you. In addition to this, your parents may be interested in pursuing a Parent PLUS Loan. This is a credit-based loan that requires a separate parent application through the Department of Education.
If you are a graduate student, you may be interested in alternative loans or a Grad PLUS loan through the Department of Education.
What scholarships are available to me?
All students are automatically considered for merit scholarships upon admission to the university. You can, however, utilize the Scholarship Retriever to submit a general application for consideration for donor-supported, departmental and other institutional scholarships.
Where should I send my outside scholarship?
Scholarship funds can be sent to Student Business Services (SBS) at the following address:
Attn: Student Business Services
1000 Hilltop Circle
Baltimore, MD 21250
The students name, campus ID and the semester(s) the funds are to be applied to should also be included. In addition to this, you should also complete a Private Scholarship Notification Form.
My fall and spring costs will be different due to enrollment/housing. How will this affect my financial aid?
Initial financial aid offers are awarded for the full academic year and are based on the assumption that you will enroll full time and be housed according to the status reported by the student on the FAFSA. If you will not be enrolled full time or change your housing status, we recommend completing the Enrollment Update Form or the Housing Update Form available on our forms page.
Dependent students who have indicate that they will be living on campus, but have not incurred university housing charges, will see their costs updated to a housing status of “living with relatives.” Independent students who indicated that they will be living on campus, but have not incurred university housing charges, will see their costs updated to a housing status of “living off campus.” You can check the costs associated with various housing statuses on our Cost of Attendance page.
You can also utilize the Cost Calculator to determine an estimate of your costs with the university depending on different enrollment and housing statuses.
How will dropping a course impact my financial aid?
Withdrawing from all courses: If you withdraw from all of your courses before completing at least 60 percent of a semester, you may become ineligible for a substantial portion of your financial aid for that semester.
Withdrawing from one or more (not all) of courses: Your financial aid will reflect your enrollment as of the add/drop date for the current semester. If you will be enrolled less than full time (12+ credits for undergraduates and 9+ credits for graduates), we recommend completing an Enrollment Update Form so that your financial aid record can be updated accurately.
Withdrawing from courses may also impact your eligibility for Maryland State Scholarships, UMBC Merit Scholarships and awards from private donors. It may also impact your ability to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).
For more information on how withdrawals may impact your financial aid, please view this website.
My family’s financial circumstances have changed. Is there anything I can do?
The FAFSA application uses prior-prior year tax data to determine your financial aid eligibility. If this information no longer accurately represents your family’s financial circumstances, you may be interested in pursuing a Change in Circumstances Appeal. Students considering pursuing the Change in Circumstances Appeal are highly encouraged to schedule a meeting with their Financial Aid Counselor.
How can I meet with my Financial Aid Counselor?
Financial Aid Counselors are assigned by the first letter of your last name. You can find your assigned counselor on our contact page. To set up an appointment with your counselor, you can submit a request directly to your counselor using the counselor contact form.
I am the parent of a UMBC student. How can I access their financial aid information?
FERPA (Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act) limits educational and financial information we can share with individuals other than the student. We are only able to disclose student information to authorized persons. If your student wishes to authorize you for access to their account information, they can do so via Profile Sharing on myUMBC. If they would like to grant you authorization to speak with our office over the phone, through email, or in person, they will want to be sure to select “offline access” during setup.
What options do I have if I am not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is calculated once per year at the end of the spring semester. If a FAFSA is not on file for the next academic year at the end of the spring semester, your SAP status will be calculated once your FAFSA is received. If you are not meeting SAP, you can complete an appeal to be considered for continued financial aid eligibility. You can find more information about SAP, including the appeal documents and deadlines, on our SAP page.
Is there financial aid available for the winter term?
The short answer is that there is not generally additional aid available for the winter semester. Pell-eligible students who enrolled in fewer than 12 credits in the fall may be eligible for additional Pell Grant funding based on their combined fall and winter enrollment. These students are identified and awarded automatically – no additional application is required.
Stafford loans are only available to students who enrolled in fewer than six credits in the fall, and will have a combined fall/winter enrollment that exceeds six credits, which is rare. Please contact your Financial Aid Counselor directly if you feel that you fall into this category.
You might consider contacting the Office of Summer, Winter and Special Programs to pursue a full or partial scholarship for your winter coursework. More information is available on their website.
I am graduating at the end of the fall semester. Can I use my spring financial aid in the fall?
If you plan to graduate at the end of the fall semester, you should complete a December Graduation Form. This allows our office to prorate your loan eligibility based on your enrollment. Unfortunately, if you are receiving a Pell grant and/or other grants and scholarships, you are unable to utilize this for any other semester. Pell grant award amounts are based on your EFC (Expected Family Contribution) as determined by the FAFSA application and your enrollment.
I am a new/continuing student with an EA or GA grant from MHEC. Why is my award not included in my financial aid? When are my credits reported to MHEC?
All awards from the State of Maryland are processed by their offices (MHEC- Maryland Higher Education Commission). When students are awarded through their office, they should receive notification to accept the award through their portal (MDCAPS). If you have been awarded a scholarship or grant through MHEC and have accepted the award, it will be posted to your student account once we receive a record of the award from MHEC. Our office receives updates on student awards from MHEC on a weekly basis. For more information regarding MHEC awards and eligibility, please visit their website.
If you are a student who has received the EA or GA Grant for at least two years since the 2015-2016 academic year, you must meet certain Credit Completion Requirements in order to receive their renewal award for current and future academic years. You can read more about these requirements on our MHEC page. MHEC makes requests for UMBC to report credits for specific students. Credits are reported at the close of each semester after transcripts have been updated by the Registrar’s Office.