Frequently Asked Questions

Applying
What is Central Methodist University's FAFSA school code?
Who is eligible for financial aid?
Why should I apply for financial aid?
How much financial aid will I receive?
How can I check my financial aid status?
How can I get an estimate of my federal aid situation?
What are the financial aid forms for parents to submit?
When is a student considered independent?
What is satisfactory academic progress and how does it affect my financial aid situation?
What will happen if I withdraw from all classes?
What if my financial situation has changed, can I have my information updated?
What is the difference in cost between residence halls?

 

Loans
How do I apply for a Stafford Loan?
How much can I borrow?
What is the difference between a subsidized loan and an unsubsidized loan?
What is the interest rate?
How many hours do I have to be enrolled to qualify for a Stafford loan?
When and how will I receive my Stafford Loan Funds?
When should I expect my refund?
Why are the loan amount I requested and the loan amount I received different?
What if I change my mind after I have applied for loans?
How do I find out how much I've borrowed so far?
When do I have to pay my loan back?
Are there any penalties for early repayment?
If a Stafford loan does not provide enough financing to meet my educational needs, what else is available?

 

Verification
What is verification?
What do I do if I am chosen for verification?
I don't have my tax forms I need for verification, where can I get copies?


 

Applying

What is Central Methodist University's FAFSA school code?
002453 for ALL CMU campuses

Who is eligible for financial aid?
To be eligible for federal aid you must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, registered with Selective Service (if required), be a degree seeking student enrolled at least half-time (6 credit hours or more), making satisfactory academic progress, and not in default on an educational loan.

Why should I apply for financial aid?
Many families mistakenly believe they don't qualify for aid, preventing themselves from receiving aid for which they may be eligible. In addition, there are sources of aid, such as Unsubsidized Loans and Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS), available regardless of income. The FAFSA is free. It does not obligate the student or the parent in any way. There is no reason not to apply.

How much financial aid will I receive?

Based on the information provided on the Free Application for Federal Aid (FAFSA), our Financial Aid Counselor will determine eligibility. Students can view their financial aid on myCMU once their aid eligibility has been determined. After a student's aid is finalized, the student will receive an email letting them know they need to accept or reject their aid. The award letter can be found on the student's myCMU account, under the Student Tab, then click on Financial Aid, then Financial Aid Awards. Choose the Award Year, then click on "Accept/Decline Aid." Follow the instructions and then hit submit to complete the process. Students do not have to accept all aid offered. Remember: Loans must be repaid.

How can I check my financial aid status?
Students can view estimated financial aid on myCMU account. Any documentation needed by the Financial Assistance office will be displayed. The Financial Assistance Office can be contacted for further questions about aid status.

How can I get an estimate of my federal aid situation?
This Financial Aid Estimator will give you an estimate of your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). It will also give you an estimate of your financial need. Both of these are the basis of how federal and state aid is awarded.

When is a student considered independent?
A student is considered independent if: age 24 before January 1st of the award year; married; working on a master’s or doctorate program; serving on active duty or a Veteran of the US Armed Forces; have dependent(s) other than a spouse for whom they provide more than 50% of the support; orphans or wards of a court; an emancipated minor; in legal guardianship; or homeless. If a student is dependent but has circumstances that could qualify them as an independent student, the student should contact the Director of Financial Assistance. Examples would be an incarcerated parent whom the student does not have access to, or an abusive home situation.

What is satisfactory academic progress and how does it affect my financial aid situation?
According to state and federal regulations, all students applying for federal and/or state financial assistance must maintain satisfactory academic progress in a degree program to receive federal and/or state funds. For further information please see Standards of Academic Progress.

What will happen if I withdraw from all classes?
Students should complete the official withdrawal process if the decision to withdrawal is made. Fayette Campus students need to see the Retention Coordinator located in the Center for Learning and Teaching. Students attending an Extended Campus should see their financial aid administrator and complete the withdrawal paperwork. Withdrawal can affect financial aid and may result in some or all of federal aid being returned to the federal government. For further information please see Return to Title IV Funds.

What if my financial situation has changed "can I have my information updated"?
Yes, if a student and/or family has unusual circumstances such as involuntary loss of employment, death of a parent and/or spouse, unusually high medical and/or dental expenses, divorce or separation, or tuition expenses at an elementary or secondary school. Students should submit an Income Reduction Form and all the requested documents to the Financial Assistance Office. The Director of Financial Assistance will review the information and determine if there can be any adjustments to the student's aid. There is no guarantee that there will be any adjustments to the student’s financial aid. A professional judgment determination will be made within 30 days after the submission of the required paperwork.


 

Loans

How do I apply for a Stafford Loan?
Students must first complete the FAFSA. After the FAFSA is processed, CMU will review the results and inform students of loan eligibility by sending a Financial Aid Eligibility Notice (FAEN). Returning students can review their results on myCMU. All students must apply for Federal Stafford loans by completing Entrance Counseling, a Master Promissory Note, and a Stafford Loan Data Sheet. Entrance Counseling will review basic facts about loans, managing education expenses, and rights and responsibilities as a student loan borrower. The Stafford Loan Data Sheet indicates how much available loan funds a student wants to borrow.

How much can I borrow?
There are limits on how much can be borrowed each academic year. Students may not always qualify for the maximum Stafford Loan amount or for subsidized loans. Please refer to the following for current loan limits:

Dependent Undergraduate Students
Freshman (0-29 hours) = $5,500/year, up to $3,500 subsidized
Sophomores (30+hours) = $6,500/year, up to $4,500 subsidized
Students (60+ hours) = $7,500/year, up to $5,500 subsidized
Maximum Aggregate Loan Totals = $31,000, with no more than $23,000 subsidized

Independent Undergraduate Students and Dependent Students whose Parents were Declined for a PLUS LOAN
Freshman (0-29 hours) = $ 9,500/year, up to $3,500 subsidized
Sophomores (30+hours) = $10,500/year, up to $4,500 subsidized
Students (60+ hours) = $12,500/year, up to $5,500 subsidized
Maximum Aggregate Loan Totals = $57,500, with no more than $23,000 subsidized

Please note: Students may not always qualify for the maximum loan amounts. Dependent students may borrow up to $31,000 plus the additional unsubsidized loan amounts available with a plus denial. These students are still bound to the aggregate limit of $57,500 as an undergraduate student.

Graduate Students
All Students = $20,500/year, subsidized is not available
Maximum Aggregate Loan Totals = $138,500, with no more than $65,500 subsidized
Note: After July 1, 2012, graduate students are no longer eligible for subsidized loans. The graduate aggregate limit includes Stafford Loans received for undergraduate study.

If a student accepts their full loan limit during the fall and spring semesters, no loan eligibility will be available for summer. Students may not be eligible for the academic year limit based on cost of attendance at Central Methodist University and other aid received.

What is the difference between a subsidized loan and an unsubsidized loan?
The subsidized loan is based on completed credit hours/class year (freshman, sophomore, etc.) and on demonstrated need. The unsubsidized loan is also based on completed credit hours/class year, but is a non-need based program. A completed FAFSA is required. Subsidized loans have the interest deferred while you are in school and repayment begins six months after you graduate or fall below half-time enrollment. Unsubsidized loans have the same repayment time frames, but the interest starts to accrue at the time of disbursement. Students may choose to pay the interest as they go or have it deferred and rolled into their principal.

What is the interest rate?

All Stafford Loans disbursed after July 1, 2014 have an interest rate of 4.66 percent. Parent PLUS loans have an interest rate of 7.21 percent. Graduate unsubsidized Stafford Loans have an interest rate of 6.21 percent. Inquiries about loan interest rates for loans disbursed prior to July 1, 2014 should be made in the Financial Assistance Office.

How many hours do I have to be enrolled to qualify for a Stafford loan?
Undergraduate students must be enrolled in at least half-time in undergraduate hours to be eligible for Stafford Loans. Enrollment will be verified at the end of the first week of classes. If a student withdraws from all or part of their classes during the semester, the student may be required to repay all or part of the financial aid received.

When and how will I receive my Stafford Loan Funds?
Stafford Loan funds will distribute directly to CMU once per term (Fall and Semester for Fayette Campus, once each term for Extended Campuses). Loan money will be used first to pay tuition and fees. If there are remaining funds, the Business Office will issue the student a refund check upon request. New or transfer students will have a 30 day hold on their loan funds before a refund will be issued.

When should I expect my refund?
Once enrolled hours have been confirmed, the Business Office will begin processing refunds for students whose financial aid has been received and are eligible for a refund. Students can refer to their "Student Billing Statement" on myCMU to see if there is a credit on their account and eligible for a refund. Refund checks are mailed to the address on file; please make sure to update your address before classes begin.

Why are the loan amount I requested and the loan amount I received different?
A small percentage of the loan amount is retained by the government for default and origination fees. Default fees are used to create a reserve to protect the loan program in instances when borrowers default on their loans. Origination fees are a processing fee. Therefore, what a student actually receives will be the awarded amount minus the fees. The origination fees on subsidized and unsubsidized loand are 1.051 percent and 4.204 percent on PLUS loans.

What if I change my mind after I have applied for loans?
Students may cancel all or a portion of their loans by informing the Financial Assistance Office in writing. CMU will notify students whenever their account is credited with loan proceeds. This notification will be sent no earlier than 30 days before and no later than 30 days after CMU credits a student’s account. Students may cancel all or a portion of their loan if CMU is informed within 14 days after the date the notice is sent. If the loan has not been disbursed, students may cancel it at any time.

How do I find out how much I've borrowed so far?
The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the U.S. Department of Education's (ED) central database for federal student loans (excluding Health Professions Student Loans). NSLDS Student Access provides borrowers with a centralized, integrated view of their federal student loans. To view NSLDS Student Access: log into www.nslds.ed.gov/nslds_SA/ select "Financial Aid Review" (Note: Department of ED PIN is required).

When do I have to pay my loan back?
The Standard Repayment Plan requires students to pay a fixed amount each month based on principal and interest, but will be no less than $50 per month or the interest that has accrued. Repayment begins six months after the student graduates or drops below half-time enrollment.

Are there any penalties for early repayment?
There are never early payment penalties for federal student loans.

If a Stafford loan does not provide enough financing to meet my educational needs, what else is available?
Parents of dependent, undergraduate students enrolled at least half-time may qualify for a Parent PLUS Loan. The PLUS loan is available without regard to financial need; however, the parents must be US Citizens. The PLUS loan is based on credit-worthiness. Families can apply for the PLUS with or without a FAFSA on file. The parents are responsible for repaying the loan. Unless otherwise requested, repayment begins 60 days after the loan is fully disbursed. The interest rate is fixed at 6.41 percent.
A parent must:

Sometimes federal student and parent loans are not enough to cover all educational expenses. For this reason, students may consider applying for a private, alternative loan that may be used as a supplemental resource for paying college costs. Alternative Loans are unlike Stafford or PLUS loans, for they require a separate application, a credit check, and may require a co-signer. A variety of privately funded loans are offered. Visit CMU's FastChoice website for more information.


 

Verification

What is verification?
Verification is the process of confirming that the information reported by the student and/or parent on the FAFSA is accurate. Applications are selected for verification either by the Central Processing System or by the school. Students who are selected for verification cannot receive financial aid until their information has been verified by the Director of Financial Assistance.

What do I do if I am chosen for verification?
If your application was selected for verification, additional documentation will be requested from the financial assistance office. Your financial aid will remain estimated until all the necessary documents have been submitted to the financial assistance office and the Director of Financial Assistance verifies your information. The required documents for verification are:

  1. Income Tax Documents – Tax documentation is needed from both the student (if filed) and parent (if student is dependent). You have two options for providing tax documentation:
    1.  Correct your FAFSA on the Web using the IRS Data Retrieval Process to import your tax information (preferred option), or
    2. Provide an IRS Tax Return Transcript. The IRS Tax Return Transcript can be requested by: (Please be aware that it may take 6-8 weeks to receive tax transcripts from the IRS.)
      1. Online – www.irs.gov
      2. Telephone – 800-908-9946
      3. By mail – IRS Form 4506T-EZ
  2. Verification Worksheet (select Independent or Dependent based on FAFSA results)
  3. If you marked yes to question #75 or #96, (food stamp benefits), documentation from the agency that shows you received food stamps in 2011 or 2012.
  4. Itemization Worksheet (required when the family's adjusted gross income falls below the United States 2013 Poverty Guideline)

I don't have my tax forms I need for verification, where can I get copies?
The IRS Tax Return Transcript can be requested by: (Please be aware that it may take 6-8 weeks to receive tax transcripts from the IRS.)

 
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