In December, the financial aid office begins generating estimated award offers for eligible students who have submitted a valid FAFSA. New students will receive notice of their award via letter and continuing students via email.
All students are then directed to the financial aid section of CyberBear to answer a series of questions, and accept or decline the offered aid. CyberBear is a secure portal that provides students access to academic records, billing statements and aid award information among other things.
Generally, financial aid is awarded for the standard academic year (autumn/spring) with half of the aid being available each term. Students attending just one term, or attending summer, will have their awards adjusted accordingly. CyberBear will show the break down of aid awarded by term.
For a student's estimated award to become actual, it must go through a "final review". In the review, adjustments are made if the student's EFC has changed, they are receiving additional aid, or changes have been made to their residency status, campus, program or enrollment status.
If additional information is received that affects a student's aid eligibility, awards will continue to be adjusted, even after an application has gone through final review and been disbursed. To reduce the likelihood of unanticipated changes, the financial aid office should be notified as soon as a student's plans or resources change.
Award Notice Details
Estimated vs. Actual Awards
Initial awards are estimated and made with the assumption that students will be enrolled in 12 or more credit hours (9-11 credit hours for graduate students) in both the autumn and spring terms.
If estimated tax information was used on the FAFSA, students are asked to update the information with actual income figures after taxes are filed. They may also be asked to submit additional documentation, particularly if selected for verification. The final review process uses the answers supplied on the "Resources/Additional Information" tab of CyberBear, and any FAFSA changes, to produce the actual award.
Students will be notified via email when their application has successfully gone through the final review process.
Once in CyberBear financial aid information is accessible by selecting the "Financial Aid" tab at the top of the screen.
To accept or review award information select "My Award Information", then "Award by Aid Year", then select the corresponding time frame. Follow the instructions on the "General Information" tab.
Accept aid in CyberBear
When the financial aid office generates a student's annual award offer it is available to be viewed and accepted in CyberBear.
Once a student logs into CyberBear a message should come up stating "Your estimated financial aid offer is ready to accept..." When they follow the link it takes them to a page with six tabs. The student should go through the tabs in order until they have accepted/declined the aid on the "Accept Award Offer" tab.
When accepting aid, the student has the option of accepting the full amount, accepting a partial amount or declining the full amount. Federal Pell Grants and most scholarships are automatically accepted. If a student has only been awarded the Federal Pell Grants, they will need to contact the financial aid office to complete the award acceptance process.
Once the aid has been accepted, it can ony be modified by staff in the financial aid office. If a student needs to make a change to an accepted or declined amount, they should send the request via their UM email account, or stop by Griz Central and complete a revision request form.
After completing the FAFSA, students often have additional requirements that need to be satisfied to receive financial aid. If a student has outstanding requirements, they will be posted on CyberBear on the "Accept Award Offer" tab and/or the "Special Messages" tab.
Not all requirements are posted at the time of the initial award offer. Any outstanding requirements must be completed before a student's financial aid can be fully processed.
For Direct Student Loans to appear as a credit on a student's bill, all aid has to be accepted/declined prior to when the bills are run. For autumn term, this would be prior to July 15. For spring term this would be prior to November 15.
For other loans and grants to appear as a credit on a student's bill, the aid has to be accepted or declined, and the application must have gone through the final review process prior to when the bills are run. To assure that final review is done in time, all documents must be turned in prior to June 15 for the autumn term and November 1 for the spring term.
Unless the only aid a student is receiving is the Federal Pell Grant, a student's application will not go through the final review process until they have accepted or declined all aid that is offered to them.
Changes to CyberBear Answers
Once the questions on the "Resources/Additional Information" tab in the financial aid section of CyberBear have been answered they cannot be modified. If a student needs to make changes to the information provided, they should do so by sending an email from their UM email account, or stop by Griz Central and complete a revision request form.
Changes to a student's expected enrollment status, or the receipt of Tribal funding, TAP, Military TAP or a tuition waiver, are reflected on the "Special Messages" tab in the financial aid section of CyberBear. Please allow staff at least two weeks to make the requested changes before following up. At the start of each semester, the timeframe can be much longer due to the volume of requests submitted.
When a student is notified that they are the recipient of a scholarship from an external organization, they should forward that information to the financial aid office. This will increase the likelihood that the student's award offer will be accurate when it is time for aid to be disbursed.