Frequently Asked Questions -
Applying for Financial Aid
What is Central Methodist University's FAFSA school code?
002453 for ALL CMU campuses
What parent(s) do I include on my FAFSA?
This infographic will help you determine which parent(s) to include on the FAFSA. If you have additional questions, you can call the Office of Financial Assistance (660-248-6245).
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 degree seeking, making satisfactory academic progress, and not in default on an educational loan. To be eligible for federal loans, you must be enrolled at least half-time (six credit hours or more per semester).
Are there outside websites for more information about Financial Aid?
- Direct Loan Information
- FAFSA on the web
- Federal Student Aid on the Web
- Guide to Federal Student Aid from the US Department of Education
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 from which 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 Director for Student Success located in the Center for Learning and Teaching. Students attending an Extended Campus should see their advisor and complete the online withdrawal form through their myCMU. 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 other unexpected event that changes a student's financial situation. 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.
How do I apply for a Direct 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. Returning students can review their results on myCMU. All students must apply for Federal Direct loans by completing Entrance Counseling, a Master Promissory Note, and a Student Loan Data Sheet. Entrance Counseling will review basic facts about loans, managing education expenses, and rights and responsibilities as a student loan borrower. The Student Loan Data Sheet indicates how much available loan funds a student wants to borrow. If a student has already completed a Master Promissory Note or Entrance Counseling at another institution, and they are not expired, the student does not need to complete them again for CMU.
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 Direct 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.
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 Direct 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 undergraduate Direct Loans disbursed after July 1, 2016 have an interest rate of 3.76 percent, and those disbursed after July 1, 2017 have an interest rate of 4.45 percent. Parent PLUS loans have an interest rate of 6.31 percent when disbursed after July 1, 2016 and 7.00 percent when disbursed after July 1, 2017. Graduate unsubsidized Direct Loans have an interest rate of 5.31 percent when first disbursed after July 1, 2016 and 6.00 percent when first disbursed after July 1, 2017. Inquiries about loan interest rates for loans disbursed prior to July 1, 2016 should be made in the Financial Assistance Office.
How many hours do I have to be enrolled to qualify for a Direct loan?
Undergraduate students must be enrolled in at least half-time in undergraduate hours to be eligible for Direct 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 Direct Loan Funds?
Direct Loan funds will distribute directly to CMU. 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. CGES students will receive two equal loan disbursements per semester.
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 loan are 1.069 percent and 4.276 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, visit their website and select "Financial Aid Review" (Note: FSA ID is required for login).
When do I have to pay my loan back?
Repayment begins six months after the student graduates or drops below half-time enrollment. 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.
Are there any penalties for early repayment?
There are never early payment penalties for federal student loans.
If a Direct 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 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 6.84 percent.
A parent must:
If a parent is denied a Parent PLUS Loan due to credit reasons, the student may be eligible to receive additional unsubsidized Direct Loan funds.
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 Direct 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.
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 most common required documents for verification are:
- Income Tax Documents – Tax return transcripts are needed from both the student and parent (if student is dependent). 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.):
- Verification Worksheet: Found on your myCMU under Financial Aid Document Tracking
- Itemization Worksheet: Found on your myCMU Financial Aid Document Tracking, if needed. (required when the family's adjusted gross income falls below the United States Poverty Guideline for the income year provided on the FAFSA)
Other documents may also be requested as needed. Students may view their documents needed on their myCMU, under the Financial Aid tab, then View Financial Aid Document Tracking tab.
All verifications materials must be submitted to the financial aid office. Aid will not be added to a student’s account until an updated FAFSA has been received with the corrected information. Students should turn all documents in a timely manner to allow adequate time to review and update the necessary information, receive the updated FAFSA, and subsequently add aid the student’s account. Financial aid will be added to a student’s account until the last day of class, as long as the updated correct FAFSA is available. Note that if changes are necessary to the FAFSA, it can take up to 5 business days to receive an updated FAFSA.
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.)
How do I know when my aid is available?
After a student's aid is finalized, the student will receive an email letting them know they need to accept or reject their aid. Students can view their financial aid on myCMU once their aid eligibility has been determined. 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. Available on the on the Financial Aid Awards is a link to the student's rights and responsibilities. Please note: Financial aid will not be disbursed until the student completes this step.