What is the best way to pay for your education? The answer is different for every student.
Most UMUC students combine a variety of financing and payment options in order to manage their expenses. Take time to explore each option so that you can decide which ones are the best fit for your life and budget.
Monthly Payment Plan
UMUC’s interest-free monthly payment plan can help you manage your education expenses by allowing you to pay your tuition over the course of several months or the full semester, rather than in one lump sum. There are no finance charges, just a low nonrefundable enrollment fee. Payments are accepted by credit card, check, money order, or electronic debit from your checking or savings account. Learn more about this plan.
Employer-Provided Tuition AssistanceMany companies and organizations offer tuition assistance programs to retain employees and develop their knowledge and skills. If you are an employee of the federal government or an active-duty servicemember, you may be eligible for tuition assistance. Ask your supervisor, human resources representative, or education office personnel whether tuition benefits are available to you. Visit Third-Party Assistance Options to register and pay your bill using employer tuition assistance.
ScholarshipsUMUC offers more than 50 unique scholarship programs for undergraduate and graduate students, including the prestigious UMUC President’s Scholarship. Students can also apply and be considered for Maryland state scholarship programs, such as the Legislative (Senatorial and Delegate) Scholarships. UMUC scholarships are based on specific criteria, such as academic achievement, financial need, or enrollment in a particular degree program or academic area. In addition, UMUC offers special scholarship programs for Maryland community college graduates and for military personnel. When you complete the UMUC scholarship application and essay, you will be considered for all university scholarships. Scholarships are awarded for the academic year on a first-come, first-served basis. Learn how to apply for scholarships at UMUC.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of scholarships are awarded by companies and organizations of all types and sizes. In addition to applying for the scholarships administered by UMUC, all students are encouraged to investigate private scholarship opportunities. There are scholarships for academic or artistic achievements; for students interested in specific fields of study; for residents of certain cities, counties, or states; and for members of religious, ethnic, or under-represented groups. The easiest way to find scholarship opportunities is to use online scholarship search engines. There are several free Web sites (see sidebar) that can help you identify suitable scholarship programs by comparing your personal circumstances against a database of scholarships.
Also, be on the lookout for local scholarships. Generally, there may be less competition for scholarships that cover a limited geographical area. To find information on local scholarship opportunities, talk to local community college or high school counselors or check the bulletin board at your local library.
GrantsGrants constitute a kind of financial aid that is typically need-based and does not need to be repaid. Awards vary depending on the student’s enrollment status and level of need.
- Federal grants (for undergraduate students only)
- Pell Grant (up to $5,500 per year)
- Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant—SEOG (amounts vary)
The Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program provides job opportunities at UMUC and in the community to help students pay for their education. The amount of the award varies according to financial need and the availability of funds. Students are paid biweekly based on the number of hours worked. If you are interested in FWS or have questions, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like many students, you may need additional financing to supplement your savings, grants, and scholarship awards. That’s why most financial aid packages include an offer of aid in the form of federal loans. Loans must be repaid, with interest, but federal loans are advantageous because they offer low interest rates and more flexible repayment plans.
UMUC participates in the Federal Direct Stafford Loan program, which is available to undergraduate and graduate students. These federal loans may be subsidized (based on need) or unsubsidized (not based on need). Subsidized loans begin to accrue (accumulate) interest when repayment begins (six months after you graduate or your attendance drops below half-time), while unsubsidized loans begin to accrue interest as soon as the loan is fully disbursed. Award amounts are based on grade year classifications and vary each year.
The Federal Perkins Loan program is a low-interest, subsidized loan available to undergraduate and graduate students, for which UMUC serves as your lender. Award amounts are based on need and availability of funds, and range up to $4,000 annually for undergraduate students and $6,000 annually for graduate students. In addition to these federal loan programs, parents of dependent undergraduate students may take advantage of the Federal Direct PLUS Loan program, which offers non-need-based federal loans. Graduate students can also borrow through the Federal Direct PLUS Loan program (known as the Graduate PLUS Loan program), in addition to the subsidized and unsubsidized Direct Loan programs.
For detailed information on federal loans and other federal aid programs, visit the Department of Education Web site.
Alternative loans can be used to supplement your financial aid. For more information, visit www.umuc.edu/financialaid/types and select Alternative Loans.
Currently, UMUC enrolls 55,000 active-duty servicemembers, reservists, veterans and their family members. UMUC advisors are skilled at helping military veterans and active-duty personnel—as well as their spouses or dependents—explore the education assistance benefits available to them through the Montgomery GI Bill, Post-9/11 GI Bill, Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP), and Survivors and Dependents program.
UMUC offers a military tuition rate for active-duty military personnel and their spouses, members of the Selected Reserves and National Guard, and some dependent children of active-duty military personnel. Commissioned corps members of the U.S. Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and their spouses and some dependent children are also included under the military rate. Visit Military Tuition and Benefits for more information.
The federal government offers two tax credit programs that allow you to reduce your income tax bill. The American Opportunity Tax Credit allows families to claim a credit of up to $2,500 for each eligible dependent for up to two tax years. The credit applies toward tuition and fees for the first two years of postsecondary education for students who are enrolled at least half-time in an eligible degree or certificate program. The Lifetime Learning Credit allows families to claim up to $2,000 per year for postsecondary education, including undergraduate or graduate degrees or individual courses to acquire or improve job skills. For both tax credits, the amount an individual or family can claim depends on income, the amount of tuition and fees paid, and the amount received from certain scholarships and grants. Also, you may be able to deduct up to $4,000 in tuition and fees from your income if you itemize deductions on your return.
For detailed information on education deductions and tax credits, see IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education.