Frequently Asked Questions & Special Circumstances
The answers to all your financial aid questions, even the ones you didn't know you had. We're here to help make the financial aid process simple. So if you still have questions, email us or give us a call at 989-774-3674.
What kind of financial aid is available?
From scholarships and grants to loans and other types of aid, there are a lot of options for financial support. 85% of our students receive some for of financial assistance.
How do I know whether I'm eligible for financial aid?
How do I apply for financial aid?
What is FAFSA?
FAFSA stands for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It's the application used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid. Eligibility is based largely on your family’s income and tuition costs.
When should I file the FAFSA?
You can file the FAFSA anytime after October 1 of the year before you plan to enroll. We encourage you to file as early as possible to maximize your opportunities.
If I submit the FAFSA, am I guaranteed to get funding?
No, but you could miss out on thousands of dollars in aid if you don’t. At CMU, more than 80 percent of students receive some type of financial assistance.
I submitted my FAFSA. When can I expect my financial aid package?
Your financial aid package will arrive as early as February through the mail. We'll also include step-by-step instructions of how to accept and apply your awards.
How much can I get in scholarship support?
We offer scholarships based on your success in class and in the community, and for your dedication to diversity, inclusion and the betterment of society.
When you apply to CMU, you'll also be applying to our Maroon and Gold Merit Recognition awards. No extra form. No essay.
And with our competitive scholarships you could earn up to 100% of tuition and room and board. These require a separate application and are awarded based on competition results.
Will my financial aid cover studying abroad?
Yes, you can use your financial aid to participate in a CMU-approved study abroad program through the Office of International Education/Study Abroad. We encourage you to meet with a financial aid advisor to make sure your program is eligible.
Can I get financial aid for summer courses?
That depends on how many classes you're planning to take and your eligibility.
Why does CMU ask for my Social Security number?
Your Social Security number is used to assess your eligibility for financial aid and tax credits.
Your Social Security number will not be used as your CMU student ID number.
How do I receive my federal loan?
Your federal loan will be disbursed after you complete a Loan Agreement/Master Promissory Note and complete loan counseling.
How much can I borrow in federal direct loans?
Your borrowing limits depend on your year in school and whether you're a dependent or independent student, as determined by the FAFSA.
Your loan limit cannot exceed your cost of attendance minus other financial aid you receive.
What's the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loans?
A federal direct subsidized loan is based on your financial need, and it's interest-free while you're in college at least half time.
A federal direct unsubsidized loan is not based on need, but the interest starts accumulating when your loan is disbursed.
I got an email saying I've been selected for verification. What's that about?
Verification is a way for us to confirm the accuracy of the information you provided in your FAFSA. All you need to do is provide the supplementary information we ask for.
My award letter says I have to be enrolled "full time." What does that mean?
Full-time enrollment means taking at least 12 hours of classes per semester. Enrollment requirements vary by financial aid program.
We recognize that the FAFSA doesn’t always capture the full picture of a student’s financial situation. If special circumstances are affecting your ability to pay tuition, you may file an appeal for a review of your financial aid.
Here are examples of situations that may qualify as special circumstances:
- Job loss or significant reduction in income (of at least 10 weeks).
- Loss of child support.
- Separation or divorce of parents.
- Death of a parent.
- Withdrawal of retirement funds for emergency purposes.
We cannot consider circumstances such as high credit card debt, home mortgage expenses, car payments, gambling losses, or financial aid offers from other institutions.
If you would like us to reconsider your financial aid award in the light of special circumstances, email the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 989-774-3674.