Please click on the topics below to read more about those areas.
If you have trouble finding the information you are looking for, check the CIM College Catalog, where much of the info listed here is explained in detail. You may also try referring to our FAQs page or our Links & Forms section.
Financial Aid FAQ for current term
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, before school begins.
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 is defined here: http://studentaid.ed.gov/eligibility.
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, service awards and fellowships. 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.
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.
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, as noted here www.cim.edu/conservatory/admission/apply-international.
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 depending 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 FAFSA is helps to make that determination. 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. As the EFC goes up, your need-based eligibility goes down, and vice versa. 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.
In accordance with federal financial aid regulations, the data entered on the 14-15 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 actually conducts the Verification process. If you are selected for FAFSA Verification, your eligibility for federal financial assistance for the 14-15 award year cannot be finalized until this process has been completed.
If FAFSA Verification is required, you will see a 14-15 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 2013 federal tax return information is complete). For more details, please refer to the 14-15 Verification Policy.
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.
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.
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 14-15 FAFSA and academic year, these are the dependency questions:
- I was born before January 1, 1991
- As of today, are you married? (Also answer "Yes" if you are separated but not divorced.)
- At the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year, will you be working on a master's or doctorate program (such as an MA, MBA, MD, JD, PhD, graduate certificate, etc.)?
- Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
- Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
- Do you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015?
- Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you, now and through June 30, 2015?
- At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court?
- As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you an emancipated minor?
- As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you in legal guardianship?
- At any time on or after July 1, 2013, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
- At any time on or after July 1, 2013, did the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
- At any time on or after July 1, 2013, did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?
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.
CIM's Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy is found at https://www.cim.edu/assets/downloads/college/sap.pdf.
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
- 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.
CIM makes its best offer of financial assistance in the initial award made to students prior to the first semester of study. CIM understands that certain circumstances may present your family with unique financial challenges and therefore newly admitted students may request reconsideration of our aid offer through a formal appeal process. Newly admitted student appeals will not be considered until all admitted students have received an aid offer, or by April 1, whichever is first. Once CIM has received your tuition deposit/Intent to Enroll or you have accepted your CIM aid offer, we are unable to accept an appeal unless the triggering involuntary and unexpected event occurs after the date of confirmation of Intent to Enroll, and can be documented as such. If an appeal is warranted, please print and return the appropriate form below, based on your aid request type (as noted on your application for admission and printed on your award notification email from the Financial Aid Office):
Need and Merit Applicant Appeal Form
Merit Only Applicant Appeal Form (it is generally expected such a request involves changing aid request status to both need and merit and submit previously waived need based application forms for re-evaluation).
- 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 2013 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 14-15 year until May 1. CIM specifically will NOT accept an appeal for any of the following reasons, whether singly or in combination:
- Annual increase in cost of attendance - this is not a special circumstance, it is applicable to every student every year and is disclosed to all upon admission.
- Parent retirement, unless due to disability - this is considered a voluntary change in income.
- Illness/death of family member other than spouse, parent or sibling - this is outside the scope of financial status of immediate family.
- Student wins competitions or excels academically - being a good student is not a “special circumstance,” you were admitted with the expectation that you will thrive at CIM.
- Graduate students: Parent reduction of income (for any reason) for U.S. or permanent resident - no parental income/assets are included on your FAFSA for your financial need determination, as all graduate students are classified as independent for federal aid purposes. As such, there is an assumed $0 parent contribution for all graduate students already.
- Fluctuations in currency exchange rates between the U.S. and another country.
Download form here: Returning Student Appeal Form
Notes 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.
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:
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 or more, (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.
Students with federal loans from their time enrolled at CIM will receive a Federal Student Loan Exit Counseling packet from the CIM Financial Aid Office any time a student ceases to be enrolled at least half time, as less than half time does not qualify for the "in-school deferment" status. If your grace period expires but you later enroll at least half time or more, whether at CIM or any other school, you will NOT get a new grace period on loans borrowed previously. Only subsequent loans will get a grace period the next time you cease to be enrolled at least half time.
To be eligible for Title IV (federal) funds, a student must be a regular student as defined in section 600.2 of the General Provisions regulations: "A person who is enrolled or accepted for enrollment at an institution for the purpose of obtaining a degree, certificate, or other recognized educational credential offered by that institution." Therefore, students are not eligible to receive federal Title IV assistance for credit hours/course work which will not count towards the completion of that student's degree program requirements.
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.