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    UMass Dartmouth
   
 
  Jul 20, 2017
 
 
    
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2010-2011 UMass Dartmouth Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Financial Assistance



The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has several financial programs to assist graduate students with the cost of advanced studies. These programs apply to degree-seeking, matriculated students only. Non-degree students who have not received formal admission to the university, sometimes called “Special Students” at UMass Dartmouth, are generally not eligible to receive financial aid.

Graduate Assistantships

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Graduate assistantships come in a variety of forms—teaching, research, or general graduate assistantships—depending on the student’s abilities and the resources and needs of the academic departments. They are awarded with respect to the student’s field of study and are competitive, given to applicants with stronger records who will best meet the department’s needs. All awards are recommended by the department and college and made through the Office of Graduate Studies. Continuation of assistantships will be determined by the department and college and will be contingent upon the student maintaining an acceptable grade record and making satisfactory progress toward the degree. Performance in the assistantship and the availability of funds are also criteria for continuation.

Applicants request consideration for an assistantship on the graduate application for admission form. Because the graduate program faculty and department recommend assistantship appointments, students who want further information about eligibility and the types of assistantships should contact the academic department concerned.

Often, admission acceptance must precede an offer of an assistantship. In some cases, funding may be late to develop; in other cases, one may have been placed on a waiting list for an assistantship. If you find yourself in this situation, we recommend that you apply for need-based or non-need-based loans or work-study in a timely fashion, before waiting to learn for sure about the assistantship award.

The stipends offered vary widely depending on qualifications and the student’s academic program. Academic year assistantship stipends at the masters’ level in 2005-2006 ranged from $6,000 to $18,000 (full-time rate, academic year). Some students, especially doctoral students, may also receive summer assistantships earning an additional stipend. UMass Dartmouth’s graduate assistantships that extend from half-time to full-time are accompanied by a full waiver of tuition, whether it be at the in-state or out- of-state rates. Graduate assistants pay the same fees that others pay, with the exception that out-of-state graduate assistants pay only the in-state curriculum support fee rate.

A full-time graduate assistant (RA or TA) is required to work 20 hours per week for the assistantship; part-time assistantships are pro-rated from this amount.

Loans

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The majority of financial aid for graduate students is in the form of loans. The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan programs provide loan funds to eligible students. Students who demonstrate financial need are considered for the subsidized direct loan. Students who do not qualify for the need based loan will be considered for the Unsubsidized direct loan. Very needy graduate students are also considered for the University Scholarship, comprising a waiver of the curriculum fee. Federal Work Study funds are limited and only on-time applicants are considered. Application for all aid programs is by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Graduate students are not eligible for federal or state grant programs.

Early application is strongly encouraged. The priority filing date is for FAFSA materials to be received at the Federal processor by March 1st of each year with UMass Dartmouth included in the list of schools. The UMass Dartmouth Title IV school code is 002210.

Students must be admitted to a degree program before eligibility can be determined for financial aid. However, in spring those who are still prospective graduate students are encouraged to submit the FAFSA even before the admissions decision is received. We recommend mailing your FAFSA by February 15th to ensure priority consideration. Students will need to reapply for financial aid each year.

In order to maintain eligibility for financial aid, students must be enrolled at least half-time, be in good academic standing with the university, and be making satisfactory progress toward their degree (the specific standard is stated in the chapter on Academic Regulations).

Students who wish to apply to receive aid while on Program Continuation status must complete the appropriate forms, which can be obtained at the University Student Enrollment Center or at Financial Aid Services.

Financial Assistance for International Students 

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(on temporary student visas)

With the exception of research and teaching assistantships, opportunities for support from the university or from university-related sources are essentially non-existent. The state and federal aid programs are not available to international students. The university also has no special scholarship or financial assistance programs for international students. International students should not expect that they will gain substantial income through part-time work. Opportunities to receive on-campus work are very limited.

International students must demonstrate that they have access to sufficient fiscal resources before the university will issue the immigration forms that authorize them to receive their student visas. For those awarded assistantships, we will apply the stipend and tuition/fee waivers toward their expenses on the I-20 form.

Need-Based Financial Aid

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Students requesting need-based financial assistance must complete and mail the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form is available in local libraries and high schools, also the Financial Aid Services Office, Foster Administration Building (phone 508 999-8632), where the members of the staff are happy to answer questions and offer other forms of help. Some applicants for aid are selected for verification; those selected will be required to submit documentation in support of their application and/or aid award. Please note that outside resources including tuition exemptions can affect other aid, including loans.

Early application for financial aid is definitely encouraged. The FAFSA should be mailed by February 15 for the fall semester and September 15 for spring semester entry. The Financial Aid Office will process applications throughout the school year for any available funds; however, qualified students who mail the FAFSA by the recommended dates will receive priority consideration. Students need to reapply for financial aid each year.

To qualify for assistance, a graduate student must be enrolled at least half-time in a degree program. Awards are calculated according to the student’s course load, whether half-time or full-time, by criteria established in the graduate academic regulations. Students receiving financial assistance will need to notify Financial Aid Services of any changes in their registration or enrollment status, and are advised to consult the Financial Aid Services promptly about any anticipated changes that might affect their aid eligibility. Only students who have received formal, degree-seeking admission to the university are eligible to receive university financial aid.

Students who withdraw from the university before 60% of the semester is completed will have their Federal financial aid eligibility recalculated in direct proportion to the length of the enrollment. The percentage of time the student remained enrolled is that student’s percentage of dispersible aid for the semester. A student who remains enrolled beyond the 60% point earns all aid for the period. Withdrawal is recorded by the Office of the University Registrar in accordance with UMass Dartmouth withdrawal policies. More complete information is available from the Financial Aid office or web site.

To qualify for federally funded programs (Federal Work-Study, Perkins Loan, Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Loan), students must be citizens, or permanent residents, of the United States; have a valid social security number; be registered with selective service if required, and sign a statement of educational purpose.

Please note that financial aid funds are not disbursed to one’s account until after the drop/add period. If you are expecting a refund, you will not receive a check until late September for the fall semester and late February for the spring semester. Please plan accordingly.

Reasonable Academic Progress for Financial Aid Eligibility

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In order to maintain eligibility for financial aid, students must be in good academic standing with the University and be making satisfactory academic progress; students should consult the graduate academic regulations of the institution. The following minimum schedule of academic credits must be completed for a graduate student to maintain eligibility for university financial aid:
 

Academic years completed Number credits successfully completed
1 9
2 18
3 27
4 36

Satisfactory financial aid progress standards may be waived for students who can demonstrate mitigating circumstances, such as extraordinary physical, psychological, or medical problems. Each case will be reviewed, as appropriate, by the Director of Financial Aid.

Federal Perkins Loan

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(formerly National Direct Student Loan)

The Perkins Loan is available to qualified students in any class at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Graduate students who clearly need financial aid for meeting educational expenses may be eligible for loans under the Perkins Loan program.

An eligible graduate student may borrow to a maximum of $5,000 per academic year or $30,000 in total, including any previous Perkins Loans. Payment of principal and interest on these loans is deferred until after withdrawal or graduation from the university. The loan carries a low fixed interest rate of 5%.

Direct Stafford Loans

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These student loans are government insured loans, which are either subsidized or unsubsidized. Subsidized loans are issued based on need, with no interest charged while the student is enrolled. Repayment starts after graduation or when a student drops below half-time at the university. Unsubsidized loans carry interest from the time of disbursement.

Generally, an eligible graduate student may borrow a maximum of $8,500 per academic year in subsidized Stafford loans, up to $65,500 in total including graduate and undergraduate subsidized loans. Amounts can be increased by the addition of unsubsidized loans. There are limits to the total debt you may have outstanding from all Stafford loans, undergraduate and graduate.

To be considered for Direct and FFEL Stafford Loans, students need to file the FAFSA.

Student Employment

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On-campus part-time work opportunities are available in the various departments, offices, and agencies of the university. Some forms of employment are awarded based on demonstrated need, but others are available to any qualified student. In addition, the university can assist students in locating part-time work off campus. Although some work assignments are funded through moneys provided by financial assistance, the student work program is administered through the Student Employment Office (phone 508-999-8655).

Need-based student employment is available through the university’s participation in the Federal Work-Study program administered by the U. S. Department of Education. To be eligible for the Work-Study program, a student must be accepted for admission or be in good standing if currently enrolled. A student must have demonstrated need by submitting the FAFSA application, through the Office of Financial Aid. Approved students are guaranteed a certain level of work-study support but must still have the required personal qualifications and skills for the specific work-study assignment to be undertaken. The Student Employment Office handles the process of application and appointment to work-study jobs.

Non-need-based employment opportunities are provided through a variety of departmental part-time positions. These are positions offered by the academic or non-academic departments of the University to students who desire to work and meet the qualifications for the position but do not meet federal work-study financial need requirements. Information about departmental positions is available in the various departments and through the Student Employment Office, which handles the details of application and appointment.

Part-time employment may also be available in private businesses or homes, corporations, and industries in the area. The Student Employment Office maintains a listing and referral service for such positions.

Other Sources of Support

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Special fellowships and scholarships of various sorts may be available through individual departments or through external sources. Departments have scholarship funds that graduate students may receive. Some fellowships and scholarships are available from governmental or private institutions and organizations, often for special purposes such as supporting research or enabling graduate students to study abroad.

Interested applicants and students should first explore opportunities that might be available in their academic department through faculty and administrators involved in research or service activities that might have opportunities for compensated graduate student participation. Then, it is advisable to spend time in the reference room of the university library, where standard information references can be found about external scholarship and fellowship sources. Finally, for certain types of programs, such as federally-funded programs, the University’s Office of Grants and Contracts can help provide information and assistance with practical details in the application process (Foster Administration Building, room 011; phone 508 999-8953).

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