Arrival of Aid

With very few exceptions, most financial aid is sent directly to UM, not to the student. UM then uses the funds to pay the balance owed to the school. Once the bill is paid in full, aid in excess of the charges is sent to the student in the form of a refund.

Not all aid arrives at the same time. As a result, a student may receive multiple refunds in a semester. Aid begins to be disbursed the week before classes begin.

Though loan funds may appear on the bill as a future payment, they will not disburse unless a promissory note and entrance counseling have been completed. If a student changes their mind about borrowing, loan funds can be returned even if the loan has already disbursed.

Schedule adjustments made after aid has been disbursed can result in the student owing a balance to the school.

To receive work-study funds a student must secure a work-study position.

Arrival of Aid Details

The Federal Direct Student Loans (Subsidized and Unsubsidized) and the Federal Direct PLUS Loans (for Parents or for Graduate Students) all use a Master Promissory Note (MPN), available at studentloans.gov. The MPN only needs to be completed the first year the loan is requested as it remains active for up to 10 years.

Federal Direct PLUS loans also require a credit approval. Parents must authorize this by completing the PLUS Loan request annually at studentloans.gov. For graduate students, this is completed automatically.

Graduate students must complete one MPN for the Federal Direct Student Loans and one for the Federal Direct PLUS Loan. If a parent is taking out the Federal Direct PLUS Loan for multiple students they are required to complete one MPN per student. If an endorser is used to secure a Federal Direct PLUS loan then the MPN is only good for that specific loan. Subsequent requests would require a new MPN.

Students awarded a Federal Perkins Loan must sign a promissory note each academic year. After completing entrance counseling in the "Student Loans" section of CyberBear, the student is directed to print out a paper promissory note. The completed form is then submitted to Business Services.

Students awarded a Federal Direct Loan (Subsidized or Unsubsidized) must complete loan counseling at  studentloans.gov. Loan entrance counseling only needs to be completed the first time a student borrows. Graduate students awarded a Federal Direct PLUS Loan must complete graduate level loan counseling at studentloans.gov even if they did loan entrance counseling as an undergraduate.

Students awarded a Federal Perkins Loan must complete loan entrance counseling each academic year. The entrance counseling is done in the "Student Loans" section of CyberBear.

Parents are not required to complete entrance counseling. However, they are required to complete PLUS Loan counseling if they appeal the credit decision or have an endorser. Similarly, Graduate students who appeal the credit decision or have an endorser for a Federal Direct PLUS Loan must complete PLUS Loan counseling in addition to standard loan entrance counseling.

Students awarded work-study will only receive the funding if they secure a position and work the hours.

Work-Study funds are not applied to a student's bill. They are delivered in the form of a bi-monthly paycheck based on how many hours the student works.

More information on obtaining a position is detailed on UM's work-study page.

Students who have aid in excess of their charges are due a refund once their aid is disbursed. Currently, refunds are generated by Business Services twice a week.

Students can choose to have the refunds electronically deposited into a personal bank account or have a check sent to them. Selection of refund method is made in the "Student Refunds" section of CyberBear.

Aid does not disburse until a student has completed the bill payment process and all other eligibility criteria are met.

Once a refund is generated, it will appear as a charge in the "Account Summary by Term" section of CyberBear. If at a later date in the term additional aid is disbursed, it will not appear as a separate entry on the "Account Summary by Term". Rather, the amount of the charge will increase to reflect the new total refunded.

If aid is not disbursing it could be for one of the following reasons:

  • The financial aid office has not begun disbursing funds for the term
  • The financial aid office has not received the student's FAFSA or it is invalid
  • Unsatisfied requirements exist
  • The final review process has not been completed
  • The Master Promissory Note (MPN) has not been completed
  • Loan entrance counseling has not been completed
  • The enrollment status recorded in the financial aid section of CyberBear (under "Special Messages") does not match the number of credits for which the student is registered
  • The bill payment process has not been completed in CyberBear
  • The student is ineligible due to exceeding the maximum credits allowed
  • The student is ineligible due to not making satisfactory academic progress (SAP)
  • For departmental scholarships the financial aid office has not received notice of the award
  • For external scholarships/grants the financial aid office has not received the funding/check
  • For private student loans, the mandatory waiting period has not been completed
  • There could be technical errors with the release of funding from the Department of Education
  • A financial aid hold exists

Prior to the 16th class day, a reduction in credit load may result in a reduction to a student's financial aid.

When making schedule changes, it is recommended that a student add the desired courses before dropping undesired courses. Whenever possible, these schedule adjustments should be made during the same session to prevent aid inadvertently being rescinded.

If a student does reduce their credit load triggering an aid reduction, the balance will need to be promptly repaid to avoid penalties.

Adding classes after the 15th class day will not result in an increase to a student's aid eligibility.

Students attending part-time, who increase their credit load after aid has disbursed, may owe a balance to the school. Aid eligiblity will be reviewed after the 15th class day.

If a student receives more funds in the form of a refund than they anticipated or need, they can return the excess funds to reduce their total loan debt. To do so, they contact the financial aid office and notify them of the amount, in whole dollars, they want to return.

After the reduction is processed by staff in the financial aid office the student will owe a balance to the university which must be paid promptly. Requests to return funds to the lender must be done before a student ceases to be enrolled in the academic year.

By going through the financial aid office, the lender will cancel the portion of the origination fee and interest corresponding to the returned amount.