Coronavirus (COVID-19) Financial Aid and Billing FAQs
In accordance with the most recent announcement by the University of Maine at Machias and the University of Maine System, the UMM Financial Aid Office is committed to providing as much information to help students and families understand any potential financial impacts. Additional information regarding UMaine’s response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) can be found at umaine.edu/coronavirus.
Please monitor this website frequently for important financial aid and billing updates.
What is CARES Act?
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes a Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) that provides emergency funding to higher education. Of those funds allocated to institutions, a specific percentage must go directly to students in the form of emergency financial aid grants (HEERF-student share) for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 crisis.
How much CARES Act funding will be going to University of Maine at Machias students?
Of the University of Maine at Machias’ total CARES Act funding allocation, $256,189 of these dollars will go directly to students.
UMM will distribute 80% of the allocation directly to degree-seeking, undergraduate students who are Title IV eligible (studentaid.gov/understand-aid/eligibility/requirements) based on the number of credit hours a student is taking in the current semester. Distribution of payments to students will be grouped by the following tiers:
|12-plus credit hours||
|6- 11.99 credit hours||
|0.1 – 5.99 credit hours||
UMM has reserved 20% of the available CARES Act funding for supplemental emergency payments for students with additional critical financial needs as a result of the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. Students with additional financial need as described above can submit an application using the link below.
Who is eligible for CARES Act Payments?
Eligible undergraduate and graduate students who are Title IV eligible.
Students NOT eligible include:
- non-degree students;
- International or DACA students;
- Employees receiving UMS Employee Tuition benefits;
- Early college students; and
- Students exclusively enrolled in online programs on March 13, 2020 *
* only excludes students enrolled in online PROGRAMS. Students taking online courses by choice would be eligible.
Who needs to complete the CARES Act funding Self-Certification?
Students who are potentially eligible for federal Title IV funds and have NOT completed a FAFSA for 2019-2020 OR 2020-2021, must complete a CARES Act Self-Certification, in order to receive a payment of these emergency funds. Students who are required to complete the Self-Certification will be notified in their MaineStreet Message Center – and the Self-Certification will be an item on the MaineStreet To Do List to complete.
Is there a deadline that must be met for students who must complete the CARES Act funding Self-Certification, in order to receive their payments?
The CARES Act Self-Certification must be completed by July 31, 2020 in order to receive funds.
How do students apply for Supplemental Student Emergency Funds?
Students with additional financial need can submit an application using the link below. Any approved supplemental funding will be in addition to the automatic payments to qualifying students.
If students are unable to complete the application electronically, they can email or call the Office of Student Financial Aid to request a PDF version of the application.
Is there a deadline to apply for Supplemental Student Emergency Funds?
Applications must be submitted by May 22, 2020 at 4:30pm.
How will students know if they have been granted Supplemental Student Emergency Funds?
Students selected to receive supplemental funds will be notified of award amounts, and any additional requirements needed to receive funds, in their MaineStreet Message Center.
How are students being notified of their automatic payments and the application process for Supplemental Emergency Funds?
All qualifying students will receive a MaineStreet Message Center Communication and an email to their @maine.edu email address with additional information regarding their payments.
How will students receive their payments (both the automatic payments and Supplemental Emergency Funds)?
Starting the week of May 4, eligible students will receive direct payments through their MaineStreet Student Account. If the student has already enrolled in direct deposit through the Bursar’s Office, the payment will automatically be deposited into their bank account. If they are not able to enroll in direct deposit, a paper check will be mailed to the billing address listed on their MaineStreet account.
Students can visit umaine.edu/bursar/directdeposit for instructions on how to enroll in direct deposit.
Are CARES Act student payments taxable?
To view the guidance released by the IRS regarding the tax implications of the CARES Act payments please visit: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/faqs-higher-education-emergency-relief-fund-and-emergency-financial-aid-grants-under-the-cares-act
If you have any questions regarding your CARES Act payment, please contact the University of Maine Machias Office of Student Financial Aid at:
Phone (Voicemail): 207-255-1203
Or Schedule a Zoom Financial Aid Advising Appointment at: https://machias.edu/scholarships-aid/financial-aid-zoom-advising/
(updated 5/08/2020 11:22am)
Will I be able to contact the Financial Aid Office with questions?
Per the March 17, 2020 updated from the University of Maine System Chancellor, the University of Maine Office of Student Financial Aid will transition all services to remote/online modes. As a result, our physical location in Powers Hall will be closed until at minimum May 31, 2020. Please see the information at the top of this page for the ways students and families can contact our office. (updated 3/18/2020 3:22pm)
What is the best way to contact a Financial Aid Advisor?
Financial Aid can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, students and families can also go to (https://machias.edu/scholarships-aid/financial-aid-zoom-advising/) to sign up for a Zoom Advising Appointment with a financial aid advisor. (updated 3/18/2020 3:24pm)
Will my financial aid change since all of my classes are now online?
In general, a student’s financial aid eligibility will not change if there is no change in the total number of credits that they are enrolled for the spring 2020 semester. (updated 3/11/2020 8:25pm)
Will I continue to be paid Federal Work-Study?
UMS is implementing a plan to continue paying Federal Work Study students who have been actively employed in the last 6 weeks AND who are not able to work via remote arrangements.
Effective March 22, the next pay period start date, campuses of the University of Maine System will use an allowable method to pay qualifying Federal Work Study students. Payment(s) will be processed via payroll in partnership with the Financial Aid Office for the final three full pay periods of the spring semester. Based on your earnings history, you may not reach the allowable maximum. In no case can a student’s earnings exceed the maximum allowable offer.
This provision, allowable by the U.S. Department of Education, is being exercised in the University of Maine System in order to provide relief to qualifying Federal Work Study students who are engaged in online classes this spring. Kindly note that based upon federal guidelines and institutional policy, Federal Work Study funding will cease when a student drops below 6 credit hours or if the entire award allotment has been earned.
Please note this information is subject to change pending additional guidance from the US Department of Education.
Students are strongly encouraged to follow these instructions to receive pay via direct deposit if you have not already done so.
Questions should be referred to financial aid counselors for assistance and guidance. (updated 3/19/2020 2:14pm)
Can I stay in the residence halls this semester?
Unless there are approved extenuating circumstances, students are expected to move out of their rooms. An exemption request form is available on the Student Life website. (updated 3/13/2020 8:39am)
I was supposed to Study Abroad for the spring 2020 semester and my program was either cancelled or I was required to leave my host country because of COVID-19 – how will my financial aid be affected?
The Office of Student Financial Aid is working closely with the Office of International Programs to identify all Study Abroad students affected by program cancellations and changes. Effected students will be handled on an individual basis to determine the potential effects on the student’s financial aid eligibility. (updated 3/11/2020 8:25pm)
Will there be adjustments to my bill for on-campus room and board charges?
In an effort to minimize financial impact on students and families, room and board adjustments for those students who have checked out of their residence halls will be posted to students’ accounts based on an effective date of March 13, 2020. No other action is required to receive a room and board adjustment.
Adjustments will be posted to the students’ existing account and will reduce the amount owed. If the adjustment results in a credit balance, refunds will be processed and disbursed to students.
The room and board adjustment process is expected to be completed by March 31, 2020.
The University of Maine System recommends that students enroll in direct deposit to expedite receipt of refund dollars. In the event you are unable to participate in direct deposit, the University of Maine System recommends reviewing and updating your refund address on MaineStreet. (updated 3/17/2020 2:39pm)