The importance of February 15
February may be the shortest month, but it’s filled with important dates. On the 2nd, we get the weather forecast from groundhogs across the country, and on the 14th, we all wear our hearts on our sleeves. But for anyone planning to start here this fall, it’s Feb. 15 that should be circled on your calendar.
You should be admitted to CMU and complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before Feb. 15 for priority consideration for all federal, state and CMU funds to pay for your college education.
What does that mean? It means you’re among the first in line for some of the $32 billion* the federal government gives out in student grants, the $121.6 million* that Michigan spends in financial aid for residents, and the nearly $50 million that CMU distributes in financial aid to students each year.
Fill out and submit your FAFSA
So grab your tax return from last year (and/or your parents or guardians) and go to our FAFSA help page and get it done. When you fill it out, be sure to list CMU’s Federal School Code 002243 so we get your information.
If you’ve already submitted your FAFSA, congratulations. You’re all set. Your financial aid offer should be available in your financial aid portal soon. Beginning in late February, we’ll mail you a physical copy with a guided worksheet on estimating your costs.
Use a pencil on your worksheet
On this worksheet, you can put in the costs for different housing and meal plans to see what works for you. You can decide whether to accept federal loan offers and see how any Maroon and Gold Merit Awards you may have earned can help reduce your costs. Did you know? Sending us your final high school transcript or SAT or ACT scores by July 1 may raise your merit award but will never lower it.
Try out different combinations until you find the one that works for your budget. Then you’ll use the decisions you’ve made here to sign up for housing, choose your meal plan, accept or reject federal loans, apply for Parent PLUS Loans or search for other sources of scholarships.
Venture out into Scholarship Universe
Because scholarships don’t have to be paid back, they can help tremendously in paying for your education. In addition to our merit scholarships that are based on your high school GPA and optional SAT or ACT test scores, you should take advantage of Scholarship Universe. It’s a free service that lists all our donor-based scholarships and thousands of other private sources of scholarships. Many of these go unclaimed each year, mainly because they were hard to discover and difficult to apply for. Now you can type in a bit about yourself and see all the scholarships you may qualify for in one place.
Don’t forget departmental scholarships
Many of our colleges have departmental scholarships for outstanding students. They are usually awarded after you’ve been in your program for a while, but some are for new students. Be sure to check out what’s available in your field.
And our payment plan
Once you’ve filed your FAFSA, taken advantage of any scholarships available to you and gone over your worksheet, you should have a good idea of what you’ll need to pay. Our payment plan can help you spread out that amount over several interest-free payments. Once the payment plan opens for Fall 2022, you can enroll for a $50 fee and payments can be automatically withdrawn on the 10th of each month from your checking or savings account.
February is the perfect time to get your FAFSA submitted and start thinking about all your scholarship and payment options. If you have questions or need help, our financial aid team is ready with the answers at 989-774-3674 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s all hope that Punxsutawney Phil does his part, and with your FAFSA filed in February, he brings the sunny weather soon.
*Hanson, Melanie. “Financial Aid Statistics,” educationdata.org, August 15, 2021, https://educationdata.org/financial-aid-statistics
Blog: Admissions Director's Blog Class of 2026 posted | Last Modified: | Author: by Jennifer DeHaemers, Vice President, Student Recruitment and Retention | Categories: Admissions