Financial aid is the combination of gift, loan and/or work study assistance that is included in a financial aid award or package designed to help a student manage the cost of attending college.

Enrollment and Aid Eligibility

To be eligible to receive most types of financial assistance from CIM, you must register for a full-time class load. An undergraduate full-time load is 12 credit hours. Full-time load for graduate students is 9 credit hours.

Before receiving the first disbursement of any aid, all students must have on file with the Registrar’s Office their official final transcript from High School (or Home School or GED) as well as official final undergraduate college transcript for graduate students. These items are generally due no later than July 15.

Students who attend half-time may receive prorated Federal aid, if eligible. Half-time is 6 credit hours for undergraduate students and 5 credit hours for graduate students. Enrollment for less than a full-time class load must be approved in advance by the CIM Dean.

Basic student eligibility for Federal Student Aid requires a valid FAFSA and meet these requirements

Prior-prior year FAFSA Changes

Prior-Prior Year refers to a change in the required financial data on the FAFSA beginning in the 2017-18 academic year.

This change was announced by President Obama in September 2015 in effort to give students more time to make the important decision about which university to attend. For example, the 2015-16 school year required 2014 data and the 2016-17 school year required 2015 tax data. In the following 2017-18 school year, the 2015 tax information will be required again so that Prio-Prior-Year's tax information is required.

Requiring Prior-Prior-Year information allows students more time to fill out the FAFSA. In fact,the FAFSA will be available by October 1, 2016 instead of the normal January 1st availability.  

A variety of changes to financial aid are necessary to note so that there will be minimal change to your financial aid award. Download this information sheet to ensure you are up to date. 

meeting all your financial need

While we do our best to meet as much need as possible, CIM cannot guarantee to meet all of your financial need. Awards may include a combination of scholarships, grants, loans, work study, or assistantships. Degree program, year of attendance, FAFSA EFC (Expected Family Contribution), CIM funding levels from the government and our institutional budget all are factors in determining how much we may award you from any type of aid.

As the above-mentioned factors change from year to year, the amount offered from each type of aid may vary, other than the CIM Scholarship, which is renewed at the same level each year for the normal duration of the program, assuming renewal deadlines are met and the student maintains satisfactory GPA, academic and artistic progress.

international students

Prior to confirming the status as a confirmed new student, all international students are required by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security to document the ability to pay for the first year at CIM. It is required to obtain the I-20 needed to get the F-1 visa. While this requirement only pertains to ability to pay for the first year, please plan ahead and consider your ability to fund the additional year(s) of your CIM enrollment.

The following links provide excellent information on financial aid resources for international students, including free searchable databases of scholarship and grant assistance:

If you have a sponsor or other aid to help pay the first year, and it is not available in subsequent years, CIM shall not be expected to make up the difference. Remember, the CIM Scholarship is renewable at the same dollar amount each year for the normal duration of the program (assuming GPA, academic and artistic progress requirements are being met). Newly admitted international applicants must show documentation of ability to pay prior to being confirmed as a new student and this process should be complete by the April 15 (graduate) or May 1 (undergraduate) Intent to Enroll deadlines.

International students must also document official TOEFL score minimums as defined by the CIM Admission office.

fafsa efc (expected family contribution)

Each year, U.S. citizens and permanent residents will submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The processed result of the FAFSA is the EFC, the "Expected Family Contribution," which is the U.S. Department of Education's determination of your family's financial strength.

The EFC is the key element for determining most Federal and state aid eligibility, some of which is need-based and some of which is not. A zero EFC indicates the highest financial need and a 99999 indicates the lowest.

Even if you feel your family situation will not result in financial aid, we do encourage all to complete the process, as CIM Scholarships take into account both merit and financial need and eligibility for both the Federal Direct Stafford and PLUS Loans do not require any financial need, but are only an option if there is a valid FAFSA on file.

Your EFC may result in significantly different aid offers among schools. Not all schools participate in all of the same aid programs and may have varying levels of federal funding for those programs. With the variance in cost among schools, you may not qualify for a specific type of aid at one school, but you may at another. The amount of your EFC does not mean that CIM specifically will expect you and your family to pay that amount, but we are required to use that number in the aid awarding process to compare relative need among students and for all federal need based aid decisions.

The FAFSA is year-specific. Your EFC may fluctuate from year to year, which may cause your Federal and State aid to fluctuate as well. If you wish to get a better idea of where you will stand prior to completing your actual year-specific FAFSA, you may complete the "FAFSA 4caster" in advance at www.fafsa4caster.ed.gov.

FAFSA Verification

In accordance with federal financial aid regulations, the data entered on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by many students must be verified for accuracy. The U.S. Department of Education selects approximately one third of all FAFSA filers to undergo this process. The CIM Financial Aid Office also has authority to select applicants and conduct the Verification process. If you are selected for FAFSA Verification, your eligibility for federal financial assistance for the award year cannot be finalized until this process has been completed.

If FAFSA Verification is required, you will see a Verification Form STUDENT and Verification Form PARENT listed as required for disbursement on your CIM NetPartner documents screen. Please be sure to submit the form(s) as listed as soon as you are able (as soon as applicable year federal tax return information is complete). For more details, please refer to the Verification Policy.

How to obtain a tax return transcript from the IRS

An official IRS Tax Return Transcript can be requested via IRS Form 4506-T, online at http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Order-a-Transcript or by calling the IRS at 1-800-908-9946. Unless specifically requested by CIM to send a photocopy of your copy of the return, please do not send personal copies. Federal Student Aid regulations require schools to use only data provided from the IRS in most cases.

how to use the fafsa irs data retrieval tool

Log into your current FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov and follow the steps from the instructions found here in this detailed step-by-step site: http://www.irsdataretrievaltool.com/irs-data-retrieval-tool-step-by-step-instructions. Unless specifically requested by CIM to send a photocopy of your copy of the return, please do not send personal copies. Federal Student Aid regulations require schools to use only data provided directly from the IRS in most cases.

dependent vs. independent student status

There are specific questions on the FAFSA that determine student dependency status. If you can answer "yes" to any one of them as of the date you complete the FAFSA, you are independent; if not, you are dependent. You do not have the option to declare yourself independent just because you may live away from your parents, fully support yourself or if your parents cannot or will not help you financially. For the 16-17 FAFSA and academic year, the Department of Education provides the dependency questions.

Financial Aid Administrators have the discretion to consider Dependency Overrides, where the student may be reclassified from dependent to independent status for aid purposes. This determination is made on a case by case basis and requires documentation of unusual circumstances (such as parental abuse or abandonment of student) to warrant the override consideration.

The Department of Education specifically does NOT allow the following, singly or in combination, to qualify as unusual circumstances meriting a dependency override:

  • Parents refuse to contribute to the student's education.

  • Parents are unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA or for verification.

  • Parents do not claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes.

  • Student demonstrates total self-sufficiency.

FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)

FERPA is a Federal law pertaining to student privacy. Tuition bills, financial aid information, loan refunds, etc. are always addressed to the student for this reason. Parent PLUS loan refunds are the only exception, since this loan is taken out by the parent, not the student. It is the student's responsibility to notify the parent(s) if the student expects a parent to take care of paying tuition or filling out forms, etc. The student may fill out a FERPA Release Form, so that if a parent calls with specific questions, we are allowed to discuss them with the parent. However, mailings will always go to the address provided by the student.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy

Prior to accepting any financial aid at CIM each year, students are required to acknowledge they have read and understand our Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.

This policy is applicable to eligibility for all aid programs at CIM, including:

  • Federal Pell Grant

  • FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)

  • This is a Federal law pertaining to student privacy. Tuition bills, financial aid information, loan refunds, etc. are always addressed to the student for this reason. Parent PLUS loan refunds are the only exception, since this loan is taken out by the parent, not the student. It is the student's responsibility to notify the parent(s) if the student expects a parent to take care of paying tuition or filling out forms, etc. The student may fill out a FERPA Release Form, so that if a parent calls with specific questions, we are allowed to discuss them with the parent. However, mailings will always go to the address provided by the student.

  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

  • Federal Work Study

  • Federal Perkins Loan

  • Federal Direct Stafford Loan

  • Federal Direct PLUS Loan

  • State of Ohio Grants (Ohio Board of Regents)

  • *CIM Institutional Scholarship

  • *CIM Work Study

  • *CIM Institutional Loan and Private Loans that require SAP.

*Note there are additional criteria required for CIM Financial Aid renewal above and beyond this SAP policy. These criteria are detailed following the text of the SAP policy.

CIM evaluates all Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) components at the conclusion of each Semester for all students. Students at CIM must meet all of the requirements stated in the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy regardless of whether or not they previously received financial aid.

The following components are measured to determine whether the student is meeting SAP standards: Qualitative (Grade Point Average), Quantitative (credits earned) and Maximum Timeframe.

It is important students consider the SAP policy when enrolling in classes, deciding to withdraw or take an incomplete grade for a class, etc. as all do impact SAP status. Be mindful that the minimums are being met, so your aid is not jeopardized. Also keep in mind that by only meeting the minimums of the SAP policy will often not be enough for a student to graduate on time, within the normal duration of their program.

financial aid appeal process

Applicants

CIM does its best to offer students competitive awards based on financial need and merit. Students are strongly encouraged to seek local, state, and community-based scholarships to help offset the cost of attendance. CIM applicants who experience a significant change in his/her family's financial circumstances after completing the FAFSA and/or NetPartner Application questions may request reconsideration for Need-based aid. You must be able to document your family's change of circumstances. To request reconsideration, please email financialaid@cim.edu and attach all supporting documentation. If you have questions about your financial aid package and ability to enroll at CIM, please contact our Financial Aid Office to discuss your options.

Current Students

Current student appeals may only be considered in the event of a recent, involuntary, unexpected and documentable event such as parent loss of job/reduction of income, major illness or death of immediate family member, natural disaster, etc. Receipts, canceled checks, letters from employers, doctors or other applicable documentation must accompany any appeal. For all such special circumstance appeals to be considered, completion of the Verification process (if not already selected by Department of Education), which requires official tax return information in addition to the Appeal Form must take place before your review will occur. Please allow 3 weeks for the results of this appeal CIM will not begin reviewing current student appeals for the following year until after May 1.

Download the form here: Current Student Special Circumstance Appeal Form

Cost of Attendance Adjustment Appeal

The Cost of Attendance (COA) is an estimated student budget that is designed to provide students, living within a moderate lifestyle, an accurate projection of reasonable costs for a typical academic year (9 months; does not include summer). There is statutory language that determines what cost items schools are to include in these budgets. In limited cases, a student may petition to have the estimated COA adjusted to account for their costs being significantly different than the averages we set for the standard budget. If such an adjustment occurs (documentation of expense and a form is required), it will never result in any additional CIM funding, but may allow a student additional borrowing options via federal and/or private loans. Schools are limited by law on what may be adjusted within the COA and such adjustments may only occur for expenses that occur during the applicable period of enrollment. Expenses incurred in the summer or in a prior or future semester are not applicable for COA adjustment consideration in any case.

See Cost of Attendance Appeal Form

    • Instrument Purchase - CIM permits students to petition one time in their CIM enrollment (lifetime) an appeal to adjust the student's COA of up to $10,000 for an instrument purchase. If the purchase price is less than $10,000, this appeal is only valid for up to the purchase price. If the purchase price exceeds $10,000 and you do not have other remaining aid eligibility, you will need to pursue funding the balance privately.

    • Tuition Surcharges for Dual Degree and Double Major are automatically added to applicable student's budgets. Any other CIM surcharge, such as Secondary Study Fee or Over 18 Credit Surcharge would need to be requested by the student specifically to be added. A copy of that semester's billing statement must be attached to that COA adjustment request.

    • Loan Fees - While the budgeted loan fees in the standard COA are based on school-wide borrowing averages, some students may borrow significantly more, which would incur higher loan fee costs. We can make adjustments to add the actual loan fee amount to the COA, but the student must request such a revision in writing to the Financial Aid Office

    • Free Room and/or Board - If a student does not have to pay for these standard costs that are built into the budget for all students (Resident Assistant free housing, for example), the student's budget must be reduced to reflect that this is not an actual cost for the student. Students are required to notify the CIM Financial Aid Office when such free room or board situations arise.

    • Other - While schools are not permitted to add any category of expense to a student budget that is not already in the federal COA, other adjustments to the existing categories may be possible, as applicable, for unique situations as reviewed on a case by case basis. This may include adjusted costs for Study Abroad expenses (if enrolled via CIM during standard academic year), dependant care costs and disability related expenses of student, computer purchase, etc. Contact the Financial Aid Office if you have any questions.

Note for ALL appeals: Not all appeals will result in increased aid. Nor should CIM be expected to provide institutional financial aid to cover an unexpected loss of financial resources while enrolled for study. In such circumstances, the student may need to take out additional loans privately, take a leave of absence or withdraw from school. Ability to pay is a consideration that must be made when deciding which school to attend. CIM's admission philosophy is to encourage students and parents to find a school that is "the best fit"; "best fit" includes financial affordability. All appeals are considered on a case by case basis.

CIM Refund, Withdrawal & LOA Policies (Return of Federal Title IV Aid policy)

When a student withdraws from school without completing a period of enrollment (semester), the school must determine the amount of Federal Title IV funds "earned" for the portion of the payment period or period of enrollment the student attended. Unearned Federal student aid must be returned. Earned aid that the student has not yet received must be offered to the student by the school as a post-withdrawal disbursement.

  • The Registrar and Dean Offices are designated as contact points for students who wish to withdraw.

  • Registrar/Dean determines the withdrawal date and reports it to other CIM offices. The Financial Aid Office then notifies the Department of Education (NSLDS).

  • The Financial Aid Director calculates the return of Title IV funds formula (per Federal regulations) and will notify the student of his or her obligation to repay funds, tracks the repayment, whether a repayment agreement will be offered and monitored by the institution, as well as the timing and responsibility for referring overpayments to DOE.

You may find our current CIM Polices as linked here:

Unusual Enrollment History Policy (PDF)

Part Time vs Full Time Enrollment: CIM Financial Aid and Billing Implications

Part Time means any semester with less than a full time status and requires advance approval from the CIM Dean. For undergraduates, full time status requires a minimum of 12 enrolled credits as of the last day of drop/add for any term (including summer). Graduate full time status requires a minimum of 9 enrolled credits as of the last day of drop/add for any term (including summer). To be eligible for any institutional aid, a student must be enrolled as full time for a fall or spring term. No institutional aid is applicable for summer sessions, regardless of full time/part time status. With half time enrollment (6 credits for undergraduate, 5 credits for graduate), a student may be eligible only for prorated federal Stafford, federal PLUS or private loans, as applicable. There are limited private loan opportunities for less than half time enrollment.

Students enrolled part time are billed the same fees as full time students, with the exception of the tuition fee itself. Instead of the standard full time tuition fee, the student is billed by the credit hour, which is calculated annually. The same payment policies apply to all students, regardless of enrollment status.

Any time a student drops below half time status, the grace period will begin for any loan(s) that they have. The grace period is a status where no payments on the loan are due, although interest will continue to accrue on any unsubsidized loan(s). Once the grace period has expired, normal repayment of your loan(s) begins, per the terms and conditions of the Promissory Note signed prior to the loan being disbursed. Stafford Loans have a 6 month grace period; Perkins Loans have a 9 month grace period; CIM Institutional Loans have a one year grace period. PLUS Loans have no grace period, but Graduate PLUS loan borrowers will generally receive the same grace period in place for their Stafford Loan. Consolidation loans have no grace period.

State Homeschool Certificate or GED

Status as a home schooled student may affect your eligibility for Federal financial aid. Home schooled applicants are eligible to receive Federal Student Aid funds if their secondary school education was in a home school that state law treats as a home or private school. Some states issue a secondary school completion credential to home schooled students. If this is the case in the state where the student was home schooled, they must obtain this credential in order to be eligible for Federal Student Aid funds. Many home schooled students also obtain a GED, which will fulfill the federal aid eligibility issue. If your state does NOT issue such certificates, you need to provide CIM documentation of that from an official source from your state of residence and we may waive need to obtain the certificate or proof of GED.

Summer Session Aid

While CIM does not offer any institutional aid during the summer term, if a student is enrolled at least half time, he/she may be eligible for federal aid, if the annual limit for such aid was not fully used during the previous fall/spring academic year. Students enrolling less than half time in summer may pursue private educational loans. CIM treats summer terms as a "trailer" of the preceding semesters and summer aid eligibility must take into account aid used in those prior semesters. In most cases, PLUS loans or private loans will be the only remaining aid option for summer students. Enrollment status for summer is the same as during the fall/spring semesters: full time for undergraduates is 12 credits and half time is 6 credits; for graduate students, 9 credits is full time and half time is 5 credits. Loan disbursement dates for summer term will be disbursed no earlier than the first Friday of the term, assuming all items in the aid file are complete. Attendance must be documented.

Study Abroad affect on Aid

Students can usually apply their financial aid to assist in covering the cost of studying abroad. Make sure your FAFSA is up-to-date for the period when you wish to study abroad.

Before applying to a study abroad program, check the program's expenses. Take into consideration the cost of tuition and fees, room and board, airfare, passport, visa, immunizations, fluctuations in exchange rates and spending money. While the amount of your aid may be increased due to the additional costs involved in studying abroad (flight, cost of living, etc.), do not assume you will be receive adjustments to your financial aid to cover the cover the costs of your program. Always seek additional or alternative sources of funding.

The timing of aid disbursements will be adjusted to reflect the enrollment dates at the study abroad school, not those of students enrolled at CIM. There will be documentation requirements of the start/end dates of your semester abroad, as well as proof of your enrollment and completion of coursework. Be sure to discuss this with the CIM Financial Aid Office far in advance of actually leaving for your study abroad school, to avoid confusion later.