The Student Financial Services office administers, coordinates, and recommends a variety of programs of financial aid including grants and scholarships to enable students who lack adequate financial resources to attend USM. The U.S. Department of Education offers eligible students low interest student loans. Some employers offer assistance in the form of tuition reimbursement, flexible scheduling, or paid educational leaves. Scholarship assistance may also be available from organizations, clubs, or religious groups of which the student or their family is a member. The University is also approved by the Veterans Administration for payment of veteran’s benefits. During the most recent academic year, approximately $75 million in financial aid was available to USM students.
Student Financial Services offices are located in Bailey Hall in Gorham, in Luther Bonney Hall in Portland, and at the Lewiston-Auburn Campus. For more detailed information about the application process, the funds available and the priority filing dates and deadlines, visit us on the Web at http://usm.maine.edu/student-financial-services.
Eligibility for Aid
To receive financial assistance, a student must be admitted into a degree program at the University and, in most instances, must be enrolled for at least three credit hours for a semester. Aid can be granted only to U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens. Students must also be registered with the Selective Service if you are a male, at least 18 years old, and born after December 31, 1959. If you believe you are not required to be registered, please call the Selective Service Office for information regarding exemption.
The deciding factor in the establishment of a student’s eligibility for most financial aid programs is that of documented financial “need”; that is, when an applicant has been determined to have insufficient family resources to meet the cost of attending the University of Southern Maine, the applicant is eligible for assistance. Since the federal government provides most of the funds the University allocates to its students, family resources are assessed in accordance with a formula required by the U.S. Department of Education.
Aid applicants must also meet standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress in their chosen course of study. These standards are set by the University in accordance with federal financial aid regulations and are in addition to the requirements established by the dean or director of an academic program. A full explanation of these standards may be found at the following Web site: http://usm.maine.edu/student-financial-services.
Additional Requirements for Graduate and Doctoral Students
To be eligible for federal financial aid (including deferment of student loans) a matriculated graduate or Ph.D. student must meet one of the following conditions:
- is enrolled in at least 3 academic graduate credits; or
- has obtained a certificate of adequate academic progress from the chair of the committee, indicating that the student is continuing to actively pursue studies leading to the master’s or doctoral degree, and is registered for GRS 701. (Note: This applies to students taking anything less than three academic credits.)
GRS 701 is a 1-credit course that permits doctoral degree candidates registered for less than six credits to retain eligibility for financial aid, University-funded fellowships, scholarships, graduate assistantships, student health insurance, loan deferment, visa compliance, and access to University services, including USM computers, libraries, and recreational facilities. Prerequisites include passing qualifying exams, receiving certification of adequate academic progress from the program chair and dissertation/capstone chair, and obtaining approval from the Office of Graduate Studies.
To apply for financial assistance from the University of Southern Maine, students should file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or a Renewal FAFSA on the Web at http://www.fafsa.gov.
Students are encouraged to apply for assistance as early as possible. To ensure a fair distribution of funds, a priority filing date is established. To meet USM’s deadline, applicants must ensure that their FAFSA data is received at the institution by February 1. Students should submit the FAFSA online at http://www.fafsa.gov by January 15 to meet the USM February 1 deadline.
Even after a student is allocated aid, the amount may be adjusted if the student’s financial situation changes. Students and parents must promptly report any of the following to the office of Student Financial Services: a change in the number of credit hours attempted; changes in family circumstances; the receipt of financial aid from sources other than the Student Financial Services office.
For additional information
Contact the Student Financial Services office in Bailey Hall in Gorham, 137 Luther Bonney Hall in Portland, on the Lewiston-Auburn campus, by telephone (207) 780-5250, or online at http://usm.maine.edu/student-financial-services.
Offers of financial aid are conditional upon receipt of funds from all funding sources. The Student Financial Services office reserves the right to revise offers of financial aid at any time during the year based on availability of funds and/or changes in regulations and/or procedures mandated by University, state, or federal authorities.