Maine’s public universities to issue estimated financial award letters to prospective students starting March1, despite federal delays

Media note: Connie Smith, who leads student financial aid for several UMS universities including the University of Maine will be available for interviews this afternoon, as will UMS Chancellor Dannel Malloy. Please contact Samantha Warren to arrange an interview. 

86% of all degree-seeking undergraduate students enrolled in the University of Maine System receive financial aid, which typically requires FAFSA completion. 

ORONO, Maine — Maine’s public universities will send students who have applied for fall admission estimated financial aid award letters starting March 1, despite the federal government’s delays in processing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA. 

The FAFSA helps the federal government determine eligibility for federal financial aid, including student loans, Pell grants and Federal Work-Study. 

States and individual institutions also rely on the information to inform financial aid decisions, such as eligibility for the Maine State Grant administered by the Finance Authority of Maine or need-based scholarships including those funded through University of Maine System (UMS) license plate sales. 

At the direction of Congress and with the support of the higher education community, the U.S. Department of Education recently revamped the FAFSA with the goal to make it easier for students and families and expand access to aid. But there have been technical difficulties and months-long delays in its roll-out and getting institutions the information they need to determine what students are eligible to receive.  

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

All prospective UMS students have been notified of their ability to request an estimated financial aid letter, which will be mailed directly by the universities starting March 1. 

Those estimates will be verified against the actual FAFSA data when the federal government eventually provides it, hopefully in mid-March, and will enable students and families to begin their decision-making earlier. 

“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 UMS Chancellor Dannel Malloy. 

“As we await applicants’ official eligibility information from the U.S. Department of Education, Maine’s public universities have developed an innovative mechanism to ensure students are supported in their planning and pursuit of postsecondary education and economic mobility. 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.”

According to the most recent System data, 86% of all degree-seeking undergraduate students were awarded some form of financial aid, which is typically dependent on FAFSA completion. 

Last academic year (2022-23), UMS students benefited from $134.3 million in federal financial aid, $14.9 million in state financial aid and $107.7 million in institutional aid, including $106.9 million in university scholarships, grants and waivers that do not need to be repaid. The System’s publicly available student financial aid report is online here

Maine’s public universities have not yet pushed back application or deposit deadlines. While May 1 is known as National College Decision Day, as part of a commitment to access, most UMS institutions accept applications and deposits after that date on a rolling basis. Students, however, are highly encouraged to confirm as soon as possible to ensure they receive the greatest amount of financial aid and enrollment in preferred programs, courses and campus housing. 

Please visit individual university admissions websites at the following links for more information, including deadlines:

University of Maine Office of Admissions (External Site)
University of Maine at Augusta Office of Admissions (External Site)
University of Maine at Farmington Office of Admissions (External Site)
University of Maine at Fort Kent Office of Admissions (External Site)
University of Maine at Machias Office of Admissions (External Site)
University of Maine at Presque Isle Office of Admissions (External Site)
University of Southern Maine Office of Admissions (External Site)
University of Maine School of Law Office of Admissions (External Site) 

Contact: Samantha Warren, University of Maine System Director of External Affairs, 207-632-0389,

About the University of Maine System

Established in 1968, the University of Maine System (UMS) unites seven Maine’s distinctive public universities, comprising 10 campuses and numerous centers, in the common purpose of providing quality higher education while delivering on its traditional tripartite mission of teaching, research, and public service.

In 2020 UMS became the first and only statewide enterprise of public higher education in the country to transition to a unified accreditation for the system. Much different than a merger or consolidation, unified accreditation is a new operating model for the University of Maine System that removes the primary barrier to inter-institutional collaboration.

A comprehensive public institution of higher education, UMS serves more than 30,000 students annually and is supported by the efforts of more than 2,000 full-time and part-time faculty, more than 3,000 regular full-time and part-time staff, and a complement of part-time temporary (adjunct) faculty.

Reaching more than 500,000 people annually through educational and cultural offerings, the University of Maine System also benefits from more than two-thirds of its alumni population residing within the state; more than 123,000 individuals.

The System consists of seven main campuses: The University of Maine (UMaine), including its regional campus the University of Maine at Machias (UMaine Machias); the University of Maine at Augusta (UMA); the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF); the University of Maine at Fort Kent (UMFK), the University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI); and the University of Southern Maine (USM). The System also includes a UMA campus in Bangor, USM campuses in Gorham and Lewiston-Auburn, the University of Maine School of Law, and the University of Maine Graduate and Professional Center.