What is financial aid?
Financial aid is money that you can use to help pay for college expenses. Financial aid comes from a variety of sources, including the federal and/or state governments. It can be in the form of grants or loans. You will automatically be considered for all types of financial aid once you have completed the financial aid application process. Undergraduate students must enroll at least half-time (eight credits per semester) to be eligible for most aid programs. Graduate students are eligible for up to $20,500 in direct unsubsidized loans per academic year, provided they enroll at least half-time (four credits per semester).
How do I apply for financial aid?
You must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) electronically at www.fafsa.gov. Merrimack College’s Federal School Code is 002120. Students are encouraged to apply as early as possible, prior to the start of the upcoming semester. In order to be considered for Massachusetts state programs, the filing deadline is May 1.
How does the Office of Financial Aid communicate with students about financial aid?
All initial financial aid correspondence will be mailed to the address you have on file with Merrimack. Important financial aid information is also sent to Merrimack student email accounts, so it is important that you check your email frequently.
What does it mean to be selected for verification, and how do I know if I am selected?
Each year, the Department of Education randomly selects a percentage of all applicants to complete federal verification. In this process, the school compares the information you submitted on the FAFSA with your federal income-tax returns and other financial documents. The federal government will send you a student aid report once you have filed your FAFSA; on this form, you will be informed if you have been selected. The Office of Financial Aid will request that you submit additional financial documents needed to complete the process.
Do I have to do anything else to get my federal loans?
Students receiving Direct Federal Loans for the first time must complete an online Entrance Counseling session and sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN). Log on to www.studentloans.gov using your FAFSA PIN to complete this process. In addition, you must complete a Title IV Credit Authorization form, which is available online, under our Forms section.
Changes in Aid
What happens if I change my credit load?
Enrollment, residency and housing statuses are reviewed after the add/drop period of each semester. If there is a change to your enrollment or housing situation, your financial aid may be adjusted and a new award notification mailed. In order to be considered half-time, undergraduates must enroll in a minimum of eight credit hours per semester. Graduate students must enroll in a minimum of four credit hours per semester.
Does my GPA matter for financial aid purposes?
Yes. Students must meet the federal standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress to be eligible for aid. You must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better, and must successfully complete 67 percent of credits attempted.
What if my aid is not enough?
There are two types of supplemental loans that families can pursue: federal Direct Parent PLUS loans (apply at studentloans.gov) and student loans from a private lender (examples at merrimack.edu/aid/types/alternative-loans.php). Students and parents may only apply for a supplemental loan for up to their cost of attendance, less their financial aid package.
Can I appeal my aid package if my financial circumstances change?
If there is a drastic change in your financial situation, i.e., loss of employment, you may be eligible to have your financial aid reevaluated. Contact the Office of Financial Aid if you think you have a special financial circumstance.
Disbursement of Funds
When does financial aid get disbursed?
Financial aid is disbursed after the add/drop period of each semester.
Once I get my award package, what then?
- Read the materials over carefully, and make sure you understand all of the aid awarded to you.
- Outline your direct costs to determine your out-of-pocket costs not covered by financial aid.
- Determine whether you want to pursue the college’s payment plan or supplemental loan options.
- Complete any additional paperwork requested by the Office of Financial Aid.
- If you are borrowing federal direct loans, complete 1.) Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling at studentloans.gov and 2.) a Title IV Credit Authorization worksheet, available on the forms section of this website.
Will the financial aid money be given to me directly, and what happens to the excess funds?
All financial aid is disbursed directly to your student account at Merrimack to pay for tuition, fees and any other allowable charges. If the amount of financial aid and other credits on the bill exceed tuition, fees and other allowable charges, you may receive a refund to be used for off-campus living expenses or any other education-related expenses for the term. All refund requests are initiated directly with the bursar’s office, once the funding has posted to your account. Refund checks are mailed or picked up depending upon the arrangement made at the time of the request.
Can my refund check be deposited into my personal bank account?
No. Merrimack is only able to generate refunds via paper check for the student to then deposit or cash with their own banking institution. Students also have the option of transferring excess funds directly to their MACK Card, to be used for on-campus purchases. This request is done with the bursar’s office.
Where can I find more information on payment options, health insurance or other billing questions?
For answers to these questions and more, please contact the bursar’s office at 978-837-5105, or click here.