Financial Aid Process

What you need to know and the next steps to invest in your future.

A college education is a significant investment made by the student and their family. Applying for financial aid is a free and simple way to help bridge the gap between the cost of education and the student’s resources. The University of Maryland (UMD) strongly encourages all students, regardless of financial circumstance, to apply for financial aid which can be done prior to being admitted or enrolling at the university.

Eligibility for need-based aid is based on your financial need determined by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with the U.S. Department of Education.

You must be enrolled at least half-time in an eligible program each fall and spring semester. However, in some cases, Federal Pell Grant funds may be available to undergraduate students enrolled less than half-time.

You must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a degree or eligible certificate program.

To continue receiving your aid, you must be making satisfactory academic progress.

You must be a U.S. citizen, a U.S. permanent resident or you must have been granted political refugee status by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to be eligible for federal financial aid. For additional information, please review the International Students page.

In-state students are eligible for federal aid, institutional aid and Maryland state financial aid through the Maryland Higher Education Commission

Out-of-state students are eligible for federal financial aid and some institutional aid.

You must not be in default on any federal loan (such as Federal Perkins, Federal Direct Loan, Federal Family Education Loan, Federal SLS or Federal PLUS).


Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

  • Gather information you need to complete the FAFSA
  • The FAFSA becomes available on October 1.
  • Each year, you must submit the FAFSA to UMD by the priority deadline of January 1.
  • UMD's school code is 002103.


Apply to UMD

  • You must be admitted to a degree-seeking or eligible certificate program to qualify for financial aid programs.
  • Once admitted, you will need to establish your University Directory ID to continue the financial aid process.
  • Know what is included in the estimated Cost of Attendance (COA) which consists of direct and indirect costs.
    • Direct costs are charges you will be billed for. These items include tuition, mandatory fees and, if you will be living on campus, housing and meal plan (room and board) charges.
    • Indirect costs are estimates of how much students typically spend, including personal expenses, books, supplies and transportation. 

Step 1

Receive your financial aid offer

  • You will receive an email notification when your aid offer is available to view online.
  • Newly admitted freshmen that applied by the early action deadline will be notified of their aid offer by March 1.
    • Please review the Important Dates page for additional notification dates and information.
  • Students selected for verification will need to submit all verification documents and have their verification review completed for a final aid offer to be generated.


Review your financial aid offer

  • Go to the My FinAid Portal and select the Show me my Financial Aid Status to log in to your account using your Directory ID and password.

    • Accept or decline your offer using the Financial Aid Offer section


Accept your financial aid offer

  • You do not have to accept the maximum amount that you have been offered. Only accept the loan amount that you need to borrow.

    • Specify the amount that you would like to accept for the full academic year (not the semester).
    • If applicable, also accept your Federal Work-Study (FWS) offer.
  • For financial aid offers to be reflected on your fall semester bill, they should be accepted by mid-July. For students only using financial aid for the spring semester, financial aid offers should be accepted by mid-December.

  • Grants and scholarships do not have to be accepted as they will automatically be disbursed and applied to your bill.
  • If this is your first time accepting a federal loan from UMD, you must complete the Direct Loan Agreement and the Direct Loan Entrance Counseling.
    • Log in to the My FinAid Portal and navigate to the To-Do section. 
    • When you select the Direct Loan Agreement and the Direct Loan Entrance Counseling documents, you will be redirected to to complete these documents. You will need to use your FSA ID and password to log in. 
    • It will take up to 5 business days for your financial aid portal to show that these documents have been completed.

If eligible, federal loans and/or grants will be disbursed for the associated semester/term to your billing account no sooner than 10 days prior to the start of classes. Direct Loans require half-time enrollment (6 undergraduate credits or 24 graduate units or more each semester/term) to be disbursed to your billing account.

If eligible, a prorated Federal Pell Grant can be received for less than full-time enrollment.

    Parent Plus Loan

    • If needed, parents can apply for the Parent Plus Loan.
    • To start, parents must log into using their FSA ID and password (same as FAFSA).
    • Select Apply for Plus Loan.
      • The loan amount that you apply for will be based on your own calculations but you do not need to apply for the maximum amount available if it is not necessary.
    • The Department of Education will complete a credit check and you will receive an credit decision.
      • If approved, the parent will need to complete the Loan Agreement for a Plus Loan.
      • If denied, the student is eligible for an additional Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan.
      • UMD's Office of Student Financial Aid will receive the credit check information within 3-5 business days and process the loan accordingly.

    Alternative/Private Loans

    • If needed, review the Alternative Aid Options page for resources and details.
    • Borrowers are free to select the lender of their choice. 
    • Students/parents may borrow up to the student's annual COA minus any other financial aid the student is receiving.
      • Students will most likely need to have a qualified co-signer.
    • Complete the Private Loan Self-Certification Form and submit it to your lender.
    • Your private loan is certified by the Office of Student Financial Aid. Your funds will be received no sooner than 10 business days from the date of certification.

    Report non-UMD financial aid 

    • Students are required to report all outside sources of financial aid via section two of the Financial Aid Offer tab within the My FinAid Portal.