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Updated: February 21, 2024

Despite federal delays, UMaine System promises students timely financial aid awards

University of Maine campus shot showing building and a flag File photo / University of Maine The University of Maine System has its the flagship campus in Orono, shown here.

Despite federal delays in determining financial aid eligibility for students, Maine's public universities have pledged to notify them of their aid awards starting March 1.

The pledge, from the University of Maine System, seeks to offer reassurance to prospective students in the wake of technical challenges and months-long delays for the revamped Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. The widely used application helps determine eligibility for federal aid, including student loans, Pell grants and federal work-study programs.

States and individual institutions also rely on the information to inform financial aid decisions, such as eligibility for need-based scholarships or the Maine State Grant administered by the Finance Authority of Maine.

To support prospective students and their families in their planning for fall admission, Maine’s public universities have developed a predictive financial aid eligibility model that can be used to create an estimated financial aid package, including both need-based and merit aid.

All prospective students have therefore been notified of their right to request an estimated financial aid letter, which will be mailed directly by the universities starting March 1. Those estimates will later be verified against the actual FAFSA data when provided by the federal government, which the Maine System said will "hopefully" be in mid-March.

Dannel Malloy
Courtesy / UMaine System
University of Maine System Chancellor Dannel Malloy

“We recognize the difficulties this federal delay has caused for the overwhelming majority of our students who, despite our nation-leading affordability, depend upon financial aid to access their door-opening University of Maine System education and opportunity,” said Dannel Malloy, chancellor of the University of Maine System.

“We encourage prospective students to request their estimated financial aid award immediately so we can let them know how affordable and accessible their high-quality University of Maine System education will likely be.”

The University of Maine System serves more than 30,000 students annually. Around 86% of all degree-seeking undergraduates were awarded some form of financial aid, which is typically dependent on FAFSA completion, according to Tuesday's announcement.

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