Financial Aid at UNE Online: An Overview
Figuring out how to finance your education is often one of the most challenging aspects of enrolling in a degree program. Pursuing an online degree is a significant financial commitment, and UNE delivers enduring value and a strong return on your investment.
The majority of UNE Online students take advantage of some form of financial aid, and federal loans are the primary source of funding for our online students. However, sometimes outside grants and outside scholarships can be accessed to pay for your education, and some students will borrow from private lending sources as well.
Students also pay out of pocket – either up front or via a Tuition Payment Plan – which is the best way to reduce loan debt. Borrow only if you must!
Student Financial Services is dedicated to helping our online students navigate the financial aid process. As an online student, you can expect to have all the necessary financial aid information at your fingertips, from accessing your bill to accepting your aid.
Beginning the financial aid process – register for classes
Your tuition charge will depend on the number of credits you are taking. After you’ve applied to your program and been accepted, register for A and/or B Terms through U-Online. For assistance with the registration process, see our Guide to Online Registration, or contact your Student Support Specialist.
After you’ve successfully registered, you will receive a bill for tuition and fees via email and U.S. mail.
Paying your tuition
Once you receive your bill you’ll need to make payment arrangements – either through direct payment, a payment plan or by filing for financial aid. If you are paying with Veteran Education Benefits or Third-Party payments, you’ll need to get in touch with Student Financial Services for personal assistance.
File the FAFSA
FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. If you are planning on applying for any type of federal student aid such as federal grants, work-study, or loans, you must complete the FAFSA.
In order to receive federal loans, you must be eligible for federal financial aid in the United States. The FAFSA determines your eligibility for all federal student aid programs, including student loans for online programs.
The FAFSA must be completed and filed annually. Each year the FAFSA opens on October 1st for the next school year. So, for example, it opens on October 1, 2018 for the 2019-2020 academic year. It’s worth noting that Summer Term, which typically starts at the beginning of May, is always the beginning of UNE’s new school year.
You can also file the FAFSA prior to registering for classes, as it will take five to seven days for UNE to process your information. More information on completing the FAFSA can be found on the UNE web page: Applying for Aid at UNE.
About your financial aid award
You’ll be awarded the Unsubsidized Direct Loan to cover the costs of your courses, which will include a small stipend to cover each semester’s supplies. If your costs exceed the annual loan limit, you may be awarded the Graduate PLUS Loan. However, this loan requires a credit check. If you’re denied, we will notify you.
Your initial award will be based on six credits each semester. If you are taking greater or fewer than six credits in any given semester, the Student Financial Services Office will make the necessary adjustments right after the Add/Drop period. If you need to notify UNE that your enrollment will be different, please send an email alerting SFS the number of credits you’ll be taking each semester. Also, let us know if you plan to graduate before the end of the year.
What should I do if I am taking greater/fewer than 6 credits per semester?
Hold tight. Student Financial Services will adjust your financial aid after Add/Drop.
You can also email Student Financial Services to let them know what you plan to take for credits each semester for the year, but this is not necessary. They will catch it!
Accepting your financial aid
Once you receive an email from Student Financial Services to let you know your award is ready, you’ll need to accept your aid – either the entire package or a partial amount. If you do not receive the email with your financial aid award within a few weeks of the start of your program, please contact Student Financial Services.
If this is your first time borrowing loans at UNE, you’ll need to complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) for each loan. Complete instructions for accepting your financial aid award can be found on the UNE website at www.une.edu/acceptaward.
You must also complete the “Entrance Counseling for Graduate Students” tutorial on the studentloans.gov website under the “Graduate/Professional Students” tab. This tutorial will cover all of your loans and only needs to be completed once. The federal government requires these steps to ensure that you understand the responsibilities and obligations you are assuming when borrowing loans.
Money for living expenses
You may find that you need to borrow additional money for living expenses. You may borrow up to $1,000 per month you are enrolled in school. However, we caution students to borrow only what is absolutely necessary to keep long-term debt to a minimum.
You can find the link for the “Living Expenses Form” in the “Terms & Conditions” page (tab 4) on U-Online under the “Accept Award” screen. You must reapply for living expenses every year. You also must qualify for the Graduate PLUS Loan if it’s needed to increase your aid. If your credit check denies you the Graduate PLUS Loan, we will be unable to offer additional funding for living expenses.
What if I need to borrow extra money?
In the “Terms & Conditions” section of U-Online, click the link to the “Living Expense Request Form.” If you do not qualify for the Graduate PLUS Loan, you will need to seek other private loan options. However, it is rare you would qualify for private loans if you are denied the PLUS.
Getting your refund
The refund schedule can be found on the UNE website. Go to www.une.edu/myrefund and click on Online Programs (MSWO, MSED, CAGS, MSM, GCERT, MPH, MSHI, EDD) for a range of dates in which you can expect your refund each semester. If you are interested in when loan funds actually disburse to your account (these are not refund dates), please go to www.une.edu/disbursement.
We highly recommend setting up Direct Deposit to expedite your refund. You can obtain a Direct Deposit form by clicking here. Print out the form, fill it in by hand, sign it, and mail it to Accounts Payable along with an original copy of a voided check or a bank authorization letter.
Mail your Direct Deposit Form and a canceled check (or) bank authorization letter to:
UNE Accounts Payable
11 Hills Beach Road
Biddeford, ME 04005
Where can I find refund dates for my loans?
By accessing (and bookmarking) the link to the Refund Schedule at www.une.edu/myrefund.
Staying in good standing
You must make Satisfactory Academic Progress to continue to be eligible for aid. This includes achieving a minimum grade point average of 3.0, passing 2/3 of your courses, and completing your program in less than 150% of the published length of your program. You will receive an email warning if you are not meeting any one of these standards.
The requirements of Satisfactory Academic Progress are:
- Minimum GPA of 3.0.
- 67% completion of the courses you take.
- The terms attempted may not exceed 150% of the published length of your program.
If you decide to withdraw – the financial consequences
We don’t like to see you go, but we understand there are times when life gets in the way of completing your courses. It is very important to be aware of the financial consequences of withdrawal. Please consult the Withdrawal and Refund Policies section of the Student Financial Services website.
As an example: Living expenses are awarded at the beginning of Session A. If you withdraw from a Session B course and you had already received a refund for living expenses, you will need to repay the funds allotted for Session B.
Any questions about the financial impact of withdrawing should be discussed with Student Financial Services prior to taking action.
This is a lot of information to absorb and can be overwhelming. The SFS Student Care Team is here to help you.
They can be reached by phone 207-602-2342 Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or via email at www.une.edu/asksfs any time. SFS also always encourages in-person visits if you happen to be local to either the Biddeford, ME or Portland, ME campuses.
Of course, if you have additional questions, your Student Support Specialist is always available for assistance.