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Federal Financial Aid for Military Community

Federal Financial Aid and other educational assistance programs are available to service members, veterans, and eligible family members to help cover the cost of tuition.

The following is an overview of Title IV Federal Student Aid and benefit programs through the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense with links to help you find the information directly from the source.

Title IV Federal Student Aid

Types of federal grant and loan aid available to students under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (Title IV)

The federal government offers a variety of grants and loans to students.  The Federal Student Aid Gateway provides detailed information about Title IV Federal Financial Aid programs and loans and how you can apply for these programs.

Grants and scholarships are often referred to as “gift aid” because these programs provide you with financial aid that does not have to be repaid.  Federal Grants and Scholarships include Federal Pell Grants, Teach Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants & the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants.

The Federal Direct Student Loan Program provides you with subsidized and unsubsidized loans based on your year in college as either a dependent or independent undergraduate or at the graduate degree level. The amount you can borrow is determined by your grade level​ and prior student loan borrowing.

In addition to subsidized and unsubsidized loans, you may qualify for a  Federal Direct PLUS loan based on the cost of attendance.

Qualifying for loans and other Title IV assistance

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid or  FAFSA  is required for us to determine your eligibility for Title IV Financial Aid. Undergraduate dependency status for federal aid is determined by the answers you give to questions on the FAFSA.

Title IV eligibility is automatically packaged by CMU, usually within 10 business days of receiving your FAFSA as long as there are no flags on your data. Once you receive your award notification, you have the option of declining all or part of the loan. A student may either use the Federal Student Loan Adjustment Form found on the Financial Aid Forms page or contact the CMU Online Financial Aid Office via email at

Why Title IV student loans can be more favorable than private educational loans

Student loans can come from the federal government or from private sources such as a bank or financial institutions. Loans made by the federal government, called federal student loans, usually offer borrowers lower interest rates and have more flexible​ repayment options than loans from banks or other private sources.

CMU withdrawal information and satisfactory academic progress

Refer to the CMU Withdrawal page for return of Title IV Financial Aid refund and satisfactory academic progress policy information.

Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense

Types of education benefit programs are offered by the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense

If you are currently serving in the military, you may be eligible for funding offered through the Department of Defense Tuition Assistance program.

  • Check your eligibility status and the amount for which you qualify with your Service prior to enrolling.
  • If you served on active duty, you might be eligible for education benefits offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
    • For example, the Post-9/11 GI Bill® provides financial support for educational and housing expenses to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service after September 10, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days.
    • You must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill®.
  • If you are the spouse or child of a service member who is serving on active duty Title 10 orders in the paygrades of E1-E5, O1-O2, or W1-W2, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the Department of Defense for education, training, and/or the occupational license and credentials necessary for a portable career.
  • If you are the spouse or child of a service member, you may be eligible for transfer of the service member’s Post-9/11 GI Bill® benefits to you.

Federal Tuition Assistance

Servicemembers must speak with their Educational Services Officer (ESO) or military service counselor regarding the approval of tuition assistance benefits prior to enrolling in courses.

TA funds are a unique, distinct source of financial aid available to eligible service members and must be first payer.

For eligible Soldiers, FTA funds up to $250 per semester hour for up to 16 semester hours each fiscal year — all towards tuition to advance your education.

Here’s a look at the FTA lifetime limits of the program: 

  • 130 undergraduate semester hours. 
  • 39 graduate semester hours.
  • 21 certificate/diploma semester hours. 

FTA will pay toward one credential at each of the post-secondary levels: certificate/diploma, associate degree, bachelor's degree, master's degree, graduate-level certificate. (Doctor’s degrees do not apply.) 

Exceptions: Initial state teacher certifications, chaplain certification or prerequisites for the Inter-service Physician Assistant Program (IPAP) may be eligible after receiving a master’s degree. Remember, FTA is tuition assistance, which means it is for tuition only. It does not cover fees, examinations, e-Learning, or other expenses that are outside of an official degree plan.

Additional information on military educational benefits