Jul 22, 2018  
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog 
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog

Graduate Assistantships and Financial Aid

The information on this page is not intended as a comprehensive guide to the financial aid process or university policies and procedures regarding financial aid. For more detailed information or for assistance with specific financial aid concerns, please visit the Financial Aid & Scholarships section of our website or contact Financial Aid Services at 617.287.6300 or finaid@umb.edu.

Graduate Aid Options


UMass Boston supports graduate education primarily through assistantships. Assistantships are not awarded by Financial Aid Services. They are formal service contracts between you and your graduate school department. They may include

  • a tuition waiver
  • a waiver of fees
  • a stipend

The number of graduate assistantships are limited based on budget. Contact your Graduate Program Director for more information. Financial Aid Award Packages may be adjusted for students receiving assistantships.

International Students

  • May apply for assistantships
  • Must be enrolled full-time (9 credits) to comply with immigration regulations


TEACH Grant Program

  • federally-funded program
  • stands for The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH)
  • provides up to $3,964 per year to eligible graduate students who agree to serve as a full-time, highly-qualified teacher in a high-need subject area in a designated low-income school for at least 4 years within 8 years of graduating
  • based on your FAFSA application
  • intended for students who will teach full-time in high-need subject areas for at least four years
  • must serve students from low-income families
  • part-time students are eligible for the grant at a reduced level
  • requires completion of one or more forms. Scan the list for the appropriate TEACH Grant Program form


Most graduate students are heavily dependent on loans. You must be enrolled at least half-time (6 credits or more) to be considered for student loans. Be cautious of your total loan liability and your repayment obligations.

Federal Perkins Loan
  • federally-funded program
  • low-interest (5 percent) loan
  • Based on exceptional financial need
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
  • federally guaranteed loan that is not based on financial need
  • interest accrues from the time the loan is disbursed to the school
  • not required to make interest or principal payments until six months after graduation, or six months after you drop below half-time enrollment
The Federal Direct PLUS Loan for Graduate or Professional Students
  • a low interest, credit based loan
  • borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education
  • must be enrolled at least half-time
  • not required to make interest or principal payments until six months after graduation, or six months after you drop below half-time enrollment
Alternative Loans from Private Lenders
  • a credit-based loan from a private lender or other financial institution
  • can be costly and should be considered as a last resort
Be a Responsible Borrower

Federal Work-Study

  • part-time student employment funded by a federal grant
  • eligibility based on financial need
  • work for the University or an approved Community Service Program off campus such as America Reads

Institutional Student Employment Program

  • part-time student employment on campus funded by UMass Boston


Applying for Financial Aid

Federal Aid

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step in the financial aid process. Use the FAFSA to apply for federal student aid such as grants, loans and federal work-study.

The FAFSA requires detailed financial information to calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC measures your family’s financial strength and is used to determine your eligibility for financial aid.

Cost of Attendance

Cost of Attendance changes each year and is based on direct educational costs such as tuition, fees and indirect allowances for costs such as personal expenses, transportation, and books/supplies.

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is determined by the data supplied on the FAFSA, and is calculated by a federal formula. The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is subtracted from the Cost of Attendance. The difference between the two amounts is “financial need” and represents a student’s maximum eligibility for need-based aid.

Summer Aid

Registered summer students will be reviewed for Pell grant eligibility as well as Federal Direct loans. Students, identified as Pell eligible for the 2014-2015 academic year will be reviewed for remaining 2014-2015 Pell grant eligibility. You will be considered for Federal Direct Loans if you did not borrow the annual maximum limit of Federal Direct Student Loan funds during the fall 2014 and spring 2015. A student must be enrolled for a minimum of six (6) summer credits to be considered for student loans.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

At the end of the spring semester each year or upon your re-enrollment at the University, your academic performance is reviewed to determine if you are making satisfactory academic progress (SAP). The review is based on your cumulative grade point average and credits completed vs. attempted.

Graduate students must:

  • Maintain a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher.
  • Attempt no more than 150% of the credits/competencies required of your degree program (max credits)
  • Complete 67% of all credits/competencies attempted (total earned credits/total attempted credits)

If you fail to meet the above requirements, you will be notified by Financial Aid Services that you are no longer eligible for financial assistance.

You have the right to appeal the Financial Aid Office’s decision. You can fill out the Financial Aid Satisfactory Appeal Form and describe any personal circumstances and/or extenuating circumstances that contributed to your academic performance. Your appeal, along with an academic plan, signed by your academic advisor, which outlines your action plan for the following semester, must be received within thirty (30) days of receiving the SAP financial aid ineligibility letter.

The Financial Aid Advisory Committee will review all appeals. Incomplete appeals will not be considered. The decision of the committee is final. The SAP Appeal Process is for financial aid purposes only. It does not substitute for university review of a student’s academic standing.

Apply Online

Access FAFSA online. This is the fastest and easiest way to see if you qualify for financial aid. When you file electronically, your information pre-populates next year’s FAFSA which saves you time. In subsequent years, all you have to do is update FAFSA with new information.

Apply for a Federal PIN today.
Estimate your cost to attend UMass Boston with our Net Price Calculator.

Apply by March 1

To be considered for all types of financial aid, apply by March 1. Allow at least one hour to fill out the FAFSA because the application is fairly lengthy. It is a bit like filling out a tax return. Don’t worry. We are here to help.

You can print FAFSA. It may help to preview the questions before you apply online.

When Will IRS Data Retrieval Be Available?

The IRS Data Retrieval tool becomes available for the 2012-2013 FAFSA on February 3, 2013.

Please allow approximately two weeks from the date you file your tax return electronically to use IRS Data Retrieval. If you chose to file a paper tax return, please allow 6-8 weeks for processing by the IRS. Using this paper method may mean you miss the March 1 (new student) or May 1 (returning student) Priority Financial Aid Deadlines.

Who Can Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

The tool works for about 80% of all filers. If you meet the criteria below, we encourage you to use this tool. It is to your advantage to shave several weeks off the financial aid qualification process using this tool. Awards are issued on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Filers need:

  • A valid Social Security Number
  • To have submitted your 2014 tax returns to the IRS and wait 2 weeks before you can retrieve them
  • An unchanged marital status as of December 31 of the prior year

Who should not use this tool?

  • Students and parents who did/will not file taxes
  • Students and parents who filed an amended tax return
  • Those with a tax status of Married, Filing Separately
  • Those with a tax status of Married, Filing Head of Household
  • Those who filed using a Tax ID Number (TIN)
  • Thise who applied for a 2014 Federal IRS Tax Filing Extension
  • Those whose Tax Transcript is not obtainable due to being a victim of IRS identity theft
  • Those who filed taxes outside of the U.S.

Link to the IRS Data Retrieval tool within your FAFSA.

You will need to know the following:

  • your PIN number
  • the correct academic year
  • your social security number
  • your income tax return
  • the value of your investments
  • your marital status, citizenship and military status
  • your state of residency
  • our six-digit federal school code (002222)
  • your status as dependent or independent of your parents
  • your parent’s tax return(s) if you are a dependent

Dependent Student
An undergraduate student who is

  • single
  • under 24 years of age
  • has no legal dependents and is
    • not an orphan or ward of the court
    • not an emancipated minor, not in legal guardianship
    • not an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or at risk of being homeless
    • nor a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces

Parental information on the FAFSA is required for all dependents students. Your parent(s) will need their own PIN numbers.

Independent Student
A student who is

  • either married or 24 years of age or older
  • enrolled in a graduate or professional education program
  • an orphan or ward of the court
  • an emancipated minor
  • in legal guardianship
  • an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or at risk of being homeless
  • a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces

State Aid

In addition to a reduced tuition rate, Massachusetts residents may also qualify for state financial aid funds. We use information from the FAFSA to award aid from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, too.