Financial Aid Basics
Who is Eligible?
UAMS offers financial aid funds to assist students and their families with educational expenses. To be considered for financial aid through the UAMS Student Financial Services – Financial Aid Office, students must meet the following eligibility requirements:
Be enrolled at least half-time in an eligible program as a regular degree-seeking student. Certificate programs may also be eligible for federal financial aid. Non-degree seeking and students enrolled less-than half-time are NOT eligible for aid. Financial Aid enrollment status is defined below as the following:
- All Undergraduate Programs – (Fall, Spring & Summer) 12 hours = Full-time, 6 hours = Half-time
- All Graduate/Professional Level Programs – (Fall, Spring) 9 hours = Full-time, 5 hours = Half-time, (Summer) 5 hours = Full-time, 3 hours = Half-time
- Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or eligible non-citizen
- Make satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward completion of the academic program: Student Financial Services SAP Policy
- Must not be in default on a Federal Perkins loan, Federal Stafford loan, Federal PLUS loan, or Federal SLS loan; and not more than 90 days delinquent on repayment of a consolidated loan
- Students who do not owe a refund on a Federal Pell Grant or a Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
- Registered for Selective Service (if applicable)
- Use aid for educational purposes only.
- Enroll for coursework that is accepted for credit by the degree-granting program.
- If a student enrolls in coursework that does not count toward their degree, it cannot be used to determine the financial aid enrollment status
- Exception: if the course(s) are eligible remedial courses or the course(s) have been approved by the college/department to count toward the student’s degree requirements.
- Students must attend all classes for which they enroll. Failure to attend class may result in the adjustment of aid.
When possible, aid will be offered to meet the full amount of the student’s eligibility. Financial aid is awarded based on full-time enrollment (12 or more hours undergraduate, 9 or more hours graduate/professional) at UAMS. All aid awarded is subject to change based on number of hours enrolled.
Visit the Office of the University Registrar for detailed information regarding enrollment.
Cost of Attendance
A student’s Cost of Attendance (COA), also known as the student’s budget, is an estimate of the student’s educational expenses for the period of enrollment and includes the following components: tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation, health insurance and miscellaneous expenses. The COA is determined using rules established by federal regulations and is based on average expenses for students with a similar academic workload and living arrangements, rather than actual expenses. This number is used by the school to determine the maximum amount of financial aid a student can receive for the current academic award year. Please remember student financial aid is designed to meet the most basic educational needs of students and is not designed to fully support a student and his/her family. The budgets listed below are based on full-time enrollment. Your budget may vary based on your actual enrollment status.
The COA does not represent actual charges on a student’s account. To obtain actual charges, please visit the GUS Student Portal.
*Cost for housing is reduce for students receiving Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH).
Contact our office if you have any special circumstances that you believe would warrant an increase in your COA; but remember student financial aid is designed to meet the most basic educational needs of students. Our office will approve requests on a case by case basis. Additional documents and/or receipts will be required. Some expenses cannot be covered with educational aid, so you will need to have an alternative source of funds (savings, family support or spousal income) to pay for these costs. The following is a list of expenses that can be used to increase your COA.
- Child Care Expenses: You may request that reasonable child care costs be included in your budget. See the childcare increase form under the forms section of this site.
- Computer Purchase: You may be reimbursed for a one-time purchase of a computer up to $1,650.00. See the computer budget form under the forms section of this site.
- Away Rotation Expenses: available only to College of Medicine Students. See the Away Rotation budget increase form under the forms section of this site.
- Residency Budget Expenses: available only to College of Medicine Students. See the Residency budget increase form under the forms section of this site.
- Northwest Campus Moving Expenses: available only to College of Medicine and College of Pharmacy students required to move to the Northwest campus for the completion of their program. The funds will be disbursed during the student’s second year. See the Northwest Moving Expense form under the forms section of this site.
Determining Financial Need
The following formula determines a student’s financial need:Cost of Attendance (COA) – Expected Family Contribution (EFC) =Financial Need
The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is calculated based on the information a student provides on the FAFSA. There are three basic EFC calculations as determined by Federal Regulations:
- Dependent Students – The EFC for a dependent student is calculated using the FAFSA data for the student and his parents. CPS calculates the parents’ contribution (which includes their assets), the student’s contribution from income, and the student’s contribution from assets; the EFC is the sum of these three. (2013-14 Application and Verification Guide)
- Independent Students (and Spouse) – The EFC for an independent student without dependents other than a spouse is calculated using the FAFSA information for the student and spouse. The CPS calculates a contribution from available income and a contribution from assets. The sum of these two is divided by the number in college in 2013–2014, as reported on the FAFSA. The result is the EFC for the 2013– 2014 award period. (2013-14 Application and Verification Guide)
- Independent Students with Dependents – The EFC for an independent student with dependents other than a spouse is calculated using the information for the student and spouse provided on the FAFSA. The formula is almost the same as the formula for the parents of a dependent student. There are three basic steps. First, the student’s available income is determined. Then, the student’s contribution from assets is calculated. Finally, the EFC is calculated using the available income, the contribution from assets, and the number in college. (2013-14 Application and Verification Guide)
Need based aid and other Estimated Financial Assistance (EFA) received from all sources (scholarships, grants, loans, discounts, waivers, WIA, outside pays, etc.) cannot exceed a student’s financial need or an over-award occurs. An over-award requires federal aid to be adjusted. Adjustments of federal aid can occur at any time.
Financial Aid Award
A student cannot receive more than his/her “Financial Need” in need-based financial aid programs.Financial Need – EFA, Scholarships, Grants, Loans =Unmet Need
There are several sources of non-need based aid such as Unsubsidized and Graduate Plus Loans. Total financial assistance, including need based and non-need based aid, cannot exceed the student’s COA. Adjustments will be made at any time to prevent an over-award.
Financial aid award letters are automatically emailed to students whose aid application is compete. If you have completed the FAFSA and have not received an award letter, please contact our office at (501) 686-5451. If you have not completed the FAFSA, please visit the “How to Apply” section of this site.
Want to estimate your financial aid? – Click Here (note: this is an estimate as your actual awards may be different)
Undergraduate Grade Level Determination
Determination of grade level is an important part of calculating eligibility for federal and state financial aid. UAMS calculates the total number of transfer plus completed credits as of the beginning of an academic year.
Freshman – 0-29 credits
Sophomore – 30-59 credits
Junior – 60-89
Senior – 90+
Financial Aid Disbursements
Financial aid disbursements occur when the Financial Aid Office awards an eligible student financial aid and it is credited to the student’s tuition account in GUS. This is done on a payment period bases as defined in the Academic Year Definition. Once eligibility requirements are met, financial aid funds are processed through GUS and applied to the student’s account by the UAMS Bursar’s Office. The Financial Aid office reviews rosters daily for student status changes and notifies the Bursar’s Office when to release funds. Funds are not released unless eligibility requirements have been met. An academic disbursement schedule is prepared by college and semester. Student’s can view their cost of attendance, award amounts (Gross & Net) and disbursement dates on the GUS Student Portal. Financial aid is posted to your account the first week of class. Refunds will be automatically processed within seven business days but no later than the 14 day regulatory timeframe. Aid adjustments due to enrollment status changes will continue to be processed thru the census date. Since UAMS maintains a low 3-year cohort default rate, we are not required to delay disbursements for first-time, first-year borrowers.
A student may retake a previously passed course only once for financial aid purposes
- For this purpose, passed means any grade higher than an “F.”
- The retaken class will be counted towards a student’s enrollment status and the student may be awarded Title IV aid for the enrollment status.
- If a student passes a class once, and then retakes the course and fails the second time, that failure counts as the second attempt at a previously passed course and the student may NOT be paid for retaking the class a third time.
- A student may be repeatedly paid for repeatedly failing the same course. Note that the UAMS SAP policy still applies.
- If a student withdraws before completing the course that he or she is retaking, then that attempt is not counted as his or her one allowed retake for that course.
Special Circumstances/Professional Judgment
If you feel you have unusual or extenuating circumstances that are not addressed by our policies, you may submit a written request for review also so known as a Professional Judgment (PJ). Supporting documentation must be provided with your request. Failure to do so may result in denial of any request or SAP appeal. All information will become part of the student record and will not be returned. Students with extenuating circumstances (PJ) or SAP appeal, requiring additional processing time, are responsible for payment of tuition, fees and other charges. Examples include but are not limited to:
- Change in Dependency Status
- Financial Reconsideration
- SAP Appeal
If the University has conflicting information concerning a student’s eligibility or has any reason to believe a student’s application information is incorrect, the Financial Aid office will resolve such discrepancies before disbursing student financial aid funds. If discrepancies are discovered after disbursing student financial aid funds, our office will reconcile the conflicting information and require the student to repay any funds for which he or she was ineligible.
Examples of conflicting information may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Social Security number
- Date of Birth
- Tax data
- Household size
- Unusual Enrollment History
- Satisfactory Academic Progress
UAMS participates in program and individual consortium agreements. Students requesting an individual consortium must be taking a course(s) that are required for the degree completion at UAMS. The student must contact the UAMS Financial Aid office and request our office to send the Consortium Agreement form to the appropriate institution. Once the form is returned, the Financial Aid office will validated the consortium courses with the appropriate UAMS program. Contact the UAMS Financial Aid office at (501) 686-5451 if you have any questions.
For information regarding Program Consortiums – Click here