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Massachusetts Department of Higher Education's                         Office of Student Financial Assistance

Frequently Asked Questions

We are constantly getting feedback and questions from our visitors. Our objective is to provide as much information and help to realize your higher education pursuits.

Below are some of the most common questions with responses.

Q:   How do I apply for financial aid?
The first step in applying for financial aid is to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You may obtain a FAFSA from a high school guidance office; local library, your College's financial aid office, or you can call the Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance at (617) 391-6070. You can also file your FAFSA electronically. Make sure the FAFSA lists the correct academic year for which you are applying for aid.

Secondly, you should contact the financial aid offices at all institutions you are considering in order to request information on each school's financial aid programs and application procedures. For example, many schools require students to complete the CSS/PROFILE in addition to filing a FAFSA. To obtain or complete a PROFILE application, click .

Third, make sure you review all deadlines as program requirements may vary. Forward all the necessary materials by the specified dates. Keep in mind that many deadlines are receipt dates, not postmark dates.

Fourth, follow-up on any forms you submit if you do not receive a response within a reasonable time frame. Keep copies of all forms you submit for your records!

There are also private and/or community sources of assistance. Research what types of assistance is available to you. To begin, you may want to speak with your high school guidance office.

*****Please note, you must reapply for financial aid each year. *****


Q:   When should I apply for financial aid?
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has a priority filing date of May 1st, prior to the start of the academic year, to file your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) to be considered for most state financial aid programs. Please be advised that your college and/or other sources of aid may have their own filing deadlines for various forms. You should inquire about those dates. Keep in mind that many deadlines are receipt dates, not postmark dates.
Q:   What types of financial aid are available?
There are several forms of financial aid available including grants, scholarships, employment opportunities and loans. A student's financial aid package may include funds aid from:

  • The Federal Government
  • The Commonwealth of Massachusetts (for eligible residents)
  • Your educational institution
  • Private or community organizations


Q:   Who is eligible to receive financial aid?
The majority of student financial assistance programs are designed to assist those students who have difficulty meeting the costs of a postsecondary education. Therefore most financial aid is determined on the basis of "need". A student's financial need is the difference between the total educational cost and the calculated student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
Q:   I was denied a MASSGrant award. Can I appeal this decision?
If you were denied a MASSGrant, the letter you received stated the reasons for your ineligibility. You need to review all enclosed information carefully. You may be able to correct your ineligible status by providing the Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance with the proper documentation.

Your may address letters to:

The Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance
Appeals Committee
454 Broadway
Revere, MA 02151


Q:   What is a CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE?
A PROFILE is a financial aid application from The College Scholarship Service. Some colleges require applicants to complete a PROFILE application in addition to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Typically, colleges use this information to assist them in awarding non-federal student aid funds. You should contact the financial aid office at the college or university you are applying to for application requirements. If you need to file a PROFILE application.
Q:   I received a letter stating I was awarded a MASSGrant, but I am not attending the school that is listed. How can I correct this?
To update your file to list the correct school, complete the section at the bottom of the award letter that states "Change of Institution" and return the letter to the Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance. Remember to sign and date the letter. (you should keep a copy for your records). You may also change your college enrollment information on-line by logging in and selecting the "SCHOOL TRANSER" option. Please be aware that the value of your MASSGrant may change due to update in your school enrollment information.
Q:   I am a Massachusetts resident but I am attending an out-of-state college. Am I still eligible for Massachusetts State Financial Aid?
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has reciprocity agreements with the following states: Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia. If you are attending a college in any of those states, you may be able to transfer your MASSGrant award to that particular college.
Q:   I am not a Massachusetts resident but I am attending a college or university in Massachusetts. Am I eligible for Massachusetts State Financial Aid?
No. Massachusetts State Financial Aid is only available to permanent residents of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Q:   I have moved. How do I inform the Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance?
OSFA requires written notice of address changes for all students. Please include your social security number, sign and date your letter. Send all correspondence to:

The Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance
454 Broadway
Revere, MA 02151


Q:   I received a letter stating I was awarded a MASSGrant, but I will not be enrolled in school this year. What should I do?
Complete Section II "Decline Award" on your award letter. Check the appropriate semester(s) for which you are declining the award, sign and date the letter and return it to the Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance. Mailed the completed letter to:

The Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance
454 Broadway
Revere, MA 02151


Q:   How do I apply for a No Interest Loan (NIL)?
The first step is to complete and file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the published deadline. The Federal Processing Center electronically forwards the Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) each Massachusetts resident's FAFSA to determine his/her eligibility for the program.

Massachusetts schools that participate in the program are assigned an allocation of NIL funds to award each academic year. Participating institutions have access to a roster of NIL eligible students from OSFA; the financial aid offices award No Interest Loans as part of its financial aid packaging process. Students that are awarded a NIL must complete a promissory note and entrance interview prior to funds being disbursed to the school.
Q:   How do I find out if I am eligible for a No Interest Loan (NIL)?
Students may view his/her No Interest Loan eligibility by logging onto the student section of OSFA's web site. Please be advised that although a student has been determined to be eligible for a NIL does not guarantee that the student will receive the loan. The financial aid office at the school must award the loan as part of the student's financial aid package.
Q:   What schools participate in the No Interest Loan (NIL) Program?
There are approximately seventy (70) public, private and proprietary institutions in Massachusetts participating in the No Interest Loan program. You may contact the financial aid office at your school to inquire if they participate in the NIL program. Institutions outside of Massachusetts are not eligible to participate in the program.
Q:   When must I begin repayment of my No Interest Loan (NIL)?
Students are granted a six (6) month grace period which begins upon graduation, withdrawal or less than part time (6 credits) enrollment status. As the end of the grace period approaches borrowers receive notification from ECSI Educational Computer Services, Inc, the servicing agency for the No Interest Loan program. Borrowers will receive monthly billing statements from ECSI. There is no penalty to begin repayment early; borrowers may contact ECSI at 1-888-549-3274.
Q:   What is ECSI Educational Computer Services, Inc?
ECSI Educational Computer Services, Inc is a loan servicing agency on contract with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to bill and collect on the Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance's loan programs. Borrowers may contact ECSI at 1-888-549-3274 or visit their borrower web site at https://www.ECSI.net
Q:   I am currently in repayment of my No Interest Loan (NIL), but am returning to school. How do I apply for a deferment?
Borrowers that are enrolled at least part time (6 credits) may be eligible to receive an in-school deferment. To apply for a deferment, borrowers must submit a fully completed Deferment Request Form to ECSI Educational Computer Services, Inc
Q:   Can I consolidate my No Interest Loan (NIL)?
No. The No Interest Loan cannot be consolidated with any other debts as it no-interest accruing loan.
Q:   I am moving, how do I inform ECSI Educational Computer Services, Inc of my new address?
As per the terms and conditions of the NIL promissory note it is the borrower's responsibility to notify the Commonwealth or its designee (ECSI Education Services) of a change in permanent address. Borrowers may contact ECSI at 1-888-549-3274 or log onto their borrower services web site at http://www.ecsi.net. First time users will need to register in order to be able to view account information.
Q:   Can I view my No Interest Loan accounts on line?
Yes, ECSI Educational Computer Services, Inc, the servicing agency for the No Interest Loan program has a Borrower's Services web site on which a borrower may view that status of his/her account; check when payment is due, and verify that payment has been applied. Borrowers may visit ECSI web site at http://www.ecsi.net. First time users will need to register in order to be able to view account information.
Q:   Can I make a payment towards my No Interest Loan account on-line?
Yes, ECSI Educational Computer Services, Inc Borrower's Services web site permits borrowers to make payments on its web site at http://www.ecsi.net. First time users will need to register in order to be able to access account information.
Q:   I am in default of my No Interest Loan (NIL), what do I do?
As per the terms and conditions of the NIL promissory note when a borrower fails to make an installment payment when due; and that this failure persists for 120 days the account is then considered in default. Defaulted accounts are placed with collection agencies. Once defaulted accounts are placed with collection agencies the borrower must make payment to the assigned agency. You may contact ECSI Education Services 1-888-549-3274 to find out the collection agency that currently has your account(s).

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Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Assistance
454 Broadway, Suite 200
Revere, MA  02151
Phone: (617) 391-6070
Fax: (617) 727-0667
E-mail: osfa@osfa.mass.edu