Types of Financial Aid
There are many different types of financial aid that may be available to you. It’s important to understand each type of aid so you make the best financial decisions possible for your future.
On this page:
Basic Financial Aid Requirements
SMCC offers financial aid to full-time and part-time students who:
- Are accepted into an SMCC degree or certificate program. For more information, visit our Apply webpage.
- Have completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). To complete yours, visit the FAFSA website.
- Meet SMCC’s Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards for financial aid recipients. To learn more, download the SMCC SAP handout.
- Meet the Basic Eligibility Criteria established by the U.S. Department of Education. To learn more, visit the Federal Student Aid website or download our Financial Aid Basic Eligibility Criteria handout.
- Are considered ‘gift aid’ and, unlike loans, are not required to be repaid.
- Are awarded based on financial need and other eligibility criteria as specified by the Department of Education or governing agency.
- May be available for those who qualify while enrolled full-time or part-time.
Federal Pell Grants
- Federal Pell Grants are awarded to undergraduate students with financial need who have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree.
- Students apply for a Pell Grant by completing the FAFSA.
- The maximum Pell Grant award changes from year to year and is determined by the student’s financial need and whether the student is attending full-time or part-time.
- You cannot receive a Federal Pell Grant for more than 12 full-time semesters.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
- FSEOG funds are awarded to students with exceptional financial need and are need-based grants awarded to students who also qualify for the maximum Federal Pell grant.
- Students apply for FSEOG funds by completing a FAFSA.
- Students who enroll for less than 6 credits will lose their eligibility for this grant.
State of Maine Grant
- Are available to students who:
- Are Maine residents for at least one year prior to the beginning of the school year.
- Complete a FAFSA by May 1 every year.
- Meet a certain level of financial need as specified each year by the Finance Authority of Maine.
- Do not have to be repaid to the state of Maine.
- For more information about the State of Maine Grant and other financial aid programs offered by the State of Maine, visit the Finance Authority of Maine’s website.
Federal Direct Loans
- Are a low-interest loan option for students to help cover the cost of their education..
- Must be repaid, with interest, and should be considered the last funding option for students and families to use.
- The lender is the U.S. Department of Education, rather than a bank or other financial institution.
- Your SMCC Financial Aid award notice will show the amount of Direct Loans you could borrow for the academic year.
- To view an explanation of the yearly and lifetime maximum Direct Loans you may receive, visit the U.S. Department of Education’s website.
- To learn more about the terms and requirements of these loans, Download our Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans handout.
- Loan origination fees are deducted from each loan disbursement; for current interest rates and fees, visit the US Department of Education’s website.
- There are limits to the total amount of Direct Subsidized Loans that one can receive. For more information,
- To learn more about the terms and requirements of Federal Direct Subsidized Loans,
Direct Subsidized Loans
- Subsidized loans are based on financial need, as determined by the information provided on your FAFSA.
- The federal government pays the interest while you are enrolled at least half-time (6 or more credits per semester).
- Repayment of both interest and principal starts after your six-month grace period, which begins once you graduate or drop below half-time in a semester.
- Subsidized loans disbursed after July 1, 2014, will begin accruing interest once you enter repayment. Subsidized loans disbursed between July 1, 2012, and July 1, 2014, begin accruing interest once you drop below half-time enrollment or enter your grace period.
Direct Unsubsidized Loans
- Eligibility is NOT based on financial need.
- The student is responsible for paying the interest on Direct Unsubsidized Loans during all periods.
- If you choose not to pay the interest while in school or during grace or deferment periods, your interest will accumulate and be added to the amount you borrow.
- The amount you can borrow is determined by SMCC and may not exceed your cost of attendance minus any other aid received.
Federal Direct PLUS Loans
Did you know that if you’re a parent* of a dependent student attending SMCC, you may be eligible to borrow a Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan to help pay for your child’s educational expenses?
- The parent borrower must be credit-worthy and complete a PLUS loan application (available at the Financial Aid Office) and a PLUS Master Promissory Note.
- Repayment begins 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed, unless deferment arrangements are made with the servicing agency.
- A federal loan origination fee is deducted from each disbursement of the loan. For current interest rates and origination fees, visit the US Department of Education’s website.
- PLUS loan eligibility is not listed on your financial aid award notice; contact the Financial Aid Office to determine your PLUS loan eligibility.
Disbursement of Financial Aid Funds
Financial aid funds, including federal student loans and grants, are paid to student accounts approximately 2 weeks after the end of the add/drop period each semester. Funds received by the Student Billing Office are applied to tuition and fees (and room & board, if you live in the residence hall) first. If financial aid exceeds charges, the excess is considered a credit and will be refunded to the student (or parent if a PLUS loan created the credit). The first refunds of the semester are typically available by the end of the 5th week of the semester.
Direct Loan Disbursement Exceptions
There are a variety of disbursement exceptions that may apply to a student in a specific situation. To learn more about exceptions to the disbursement information outlined above, download the Direct Loan Disbursement Exceptions handout.
Student Loan Repayment
All student loans that you borrow must be repaid; therefore, it is important to understand when repayment starts, how to make your payments, repayment plan options, and what to do if you have trouble making payments. For a great starting point, visit the US Department of Education’s website.
To help keep your loan in good standing, we recommend the following:
- Always inform the servicer of your loan of any changes to your name, mailing address or telephone number. To find out who your loan servicer is, visit the National Student Loan Data System (NLDS) website.
- Review and keep copies of all documents you receive pertaining to your loans. If you do not understand the information, contact your loan servicer and ask for an explanation.
- If you do not feel that you can afford to make your minimum loan payments, contact your loan servicer to discuss options for postponing payments through deferment and forbearance options or by setting up an alternate repayment plan.
- If you have questions about your loans and need assistance figuring things out, we encourage you to contact the Financial Aid Office.
For more information, download our Direct Loan Repayment Tips & Default Information handout.
Student employment opportunities are available to all students who wish to work on campus and meet the following conditions:
- Have filed a FAFSA for the current academic year (international students are exempt from having to file a FAFSA).
- Are accepted into an SMCC degree or certificate program.
- Maintain enrollment of at least 3 credits per semester and maintain satisfactory academic progress.
- Are eligible to work in the US.
- Complete and submit to the SMCC Payroll Office ALL of the required employment forms.
Once you’ve been accepted to SMCC you can browse currently available positions, view your work-study award and access student employment paperwork by visiting the MySMCC online student portal and selecting the student employment link.
Students who obtain a job on campus will be paid from one of the following funds:
Federal Work Study
Federal work-study is a federally funded program that provides you the ability to work part-time on-campus at SMCC to help fund the cost of your College education. There are a variety of positions on campus including those in administration, academics and facilities that allow you to gain experience in your field of interest or participate in work that serves the community.
College Works for ME or Student Labor Funding
Students who do not meet the eligibility requirements for Federal Work Study will be paid from either College Works for ME or SMCC Student Labor funds. Eligibility is determined once the student has been hired for a position on campus and has completed the required student employment paperwork.