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Federal Aid Processes

Helpful Information

Apply Early

File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid ( by the March 1 priority date each year. If you wait until later to file, funds may not be available on a timely basis to assist with your expenses. Filing late could also affect the timeliness of any refunds.

IRS Data Retrieval Tool

Take advantage of this feature when filing the FAFSA if it is offered. This will allow you to retrieve your tax information from the IRS to ensure accuracy. This feature is typically available two weeks after the tax return is filed.

Use Your Legal Name

Complete all forms using your legal name. Do not use nicknames. Notify the Student Aid Office of any name change.

Use Your Correct Social Security Number

Enter your CORRECT Social Security number on all forms. Be sure to review your Social Security number for accuracy; transposed or incorrect numbers will result in a delay in processing. Also, make certain parent(s)/spouse provide the correct Social Security number and name that appears on their card.

Do Not Estimate

Use completed Federal Income Tax returns to complete the FAFSA. If you estimate this data, you will need to correct it, which will delay the processing of your application.

Do Not Leave Blanks

Never leave a question blank on any application. Blank questions will delay your application.

Read And Respond

Carefully read and follow instructions provided. Respond quickly to all requests from the Student Aid Office. Even if your application is received by the priority date, you will not receive an award if your file is incomplete. Check UM email and Banner Self Service weekly.

Take Responsibility

Although you may need your parent(s) or other individuals to assist you with the application process, keep in mind that you have ownership of your financial aid records; therefore, you need to know what forms and information have been provided.

Keep Copies

Retain photocopies of all forms and correspondence submitted with dates.

Document Phone Calls

If you call to discuss your application, keep notes of the day you called, with whom you talked, and what was discussed.


Awards are not automatically renewed from year to year. Annually, file the FAFSA by the priority date of March 1.

Summer Aid

Summer assistance will be based on any remaining eligibility after the aid is awarded for fall and spring semesters. If you have received your annual maximum amounts for federal aid during the fall and spring semesters, there will be no eligibility for summer. After students have registered for summer classes, eligibility will automatically be reviewed and students will be notified.


The Student Aid Office reserves the right to review, revise, or cancel the award at any time due to changes in financial or academic status, discovery of incorrect or falsified information, or errors in determining eligibility.

Status Changes

Recipients are required to report to the Student Aid Office any changes in marital, financial, or residency status. This includes any financial assistance or scholarships not included on your award from the University.

Course Load

Most awards are based on the understanding that the student will be enrolled full-time (12 hours for undergraduates; 9 hours for graduate). Scholarships typically require full-time enrollment. To receive federal loans, students must be enrolled at least half-time. Half-time for undergraduates is six (6) credit hours; half-time for graduate students is five (5) credit hours. To maximize grant eligibility, enroll full-time.