FAQ: Financial Aid Overview and Eligibility

Colorado Mountain College believes that a college education may be the most important investment a student will ever make. The investment of time, money and commitment to obtain a good education will be a critical factor in determining the kind of career a student will have in addition to lifestyle and future. A student should not be denied the opportunity to achieve educational and career goals because of financial resources. All students have different needs. CMC’s Office of Student Financial Aid feels strongly that the student’s need should be met with a distribution of grants and self-help aid (loans and work-study).

Get started with these Frequently Asked Questions:

Who is eligible to apply?

All students who wish to be considered for federal financial aid must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Applications can be completed starting October 1 for the following academic year by going to FAFSA.gov to apply. Please review the checklist below to see if you may be eligible for financial aid.

To be eligible to receive federal student aid, you must:

  • Be a citizen or eligible non-citizen of the United States.
  • Have a valid Social Security Number. (Students from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau are exempt from this requirement.)
  • Have a high school diploma (or equivalent) or a General Education Development (GED) certificate, or have completed homeschooling. If you don't you may still be eligible for federal student aid if you were enrolled in college or career school prior to July 1, 2012. For more information see studentaid.ed.gov.
  • Be enrolled in an eligible program as a regular student seeking a degree or certificate.
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress.
  • Not owe a refund on a federal student grant or be in default on a federal student loan.
  • Register (or already be registered) with the Selective Service System, if you are a male and not currently on active duty in the U.S, Armed Forces. (Students form the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau are exempt from registering; see Selective Service System for more information.) (As of the 2022-2023 award year, this is no longer a requirement)
  • Not have a conviction for the possession or sale of illegal drugs for an offense that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid (such as grants, work-study, or loans). If you have such a conviction, you must complete the Student Aid Eligibility Worksheet to determine if you are eligible for aid or partially eligible for aid. (As of the 2022-2023 award year, this is no longer a requirement)

Many types of federal student aid, such as the Federal Pell Grant or subsidized loans where the government pays the interest while you are in college, also require you to have financial need. Additionally, once you have a bachelor's degree or a first professional degree, you are generally not eligible for Pell or Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG).

Caution: Some information may change as the US Department of Education continues to issue new regulations. Stay in contact with the Office of Financial Aid.

When to apply?

Complete the FAFSA beginning October 1st each year. The priority date at CMC for applying for financial assistance is March 31 for the following academic year (fall through summer semesters).

FAFSA Renewal
You must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every school year you want to be considered for federal student aid. The Renewal FAFSA is a way for you to save time and reapply without having to fill out the whole application each year. Much of your information is carried forward into a Renewal FAFSA.

If you submitted a FAFSA last year, you may be able to start a Renewal FAFSA using your FSA ID. You must update any pre-filled information that has changed since last year and provide the financial information requested.

How to apply?
  1. Complete a Colorado Mountain College admissions application.
  2. Complete the FAFSA application. Print a worksheet from the website to help compile information.
  3. Check with CMC to determine whether there are additional forms to complete.

Remember to include CMC’s school code – 004506.

Remember to sign your FAFSA using your FSA ID (if you are a dependent student, one parent will also need to sign with their FSA ID as well).

It's important to understand that the student and the parent may not share an FSA ID: Your FSA ID is your signature, so it has to be unique to you. If you are a parent of a dependent student, you will need your own FSA ID if you want to sign your child's FAFSA form electronically.

What is CMC's FAFSA code?

CMC's school code is – 004506, use this number when completing your FAFSA so that CMC will receive your information.

What to expect after applying?

The US Department of Education will send a Student Aid Report (SAR), which is a summary of the FAFSA data you submitted.

You might see a note on the SAR indicating your FAFSA has been selected for verification. Verification is the process your school uses to confirm the data reported on your FAFSA form is accurate. Specific information regarding verification is available on FA Self Service through Basecamp.

The financial aid office will use the information received to calculate your financial aid package. The financial aid office will notify you via your CMC email account. Financial aid awards are available to view, accept, or reject on Financial Aid Self-Service through Basecamp.

The financial aid office can help bridge the gap between your financial aid awards and the remaining cost of attendance. Contact a financial aid specialist  to discuss additional options.

Why have I not been offered Financial Aid?

Have you done the following?

  • Make sure you have completed your 2022-23 FAFSA
    • Did you list CMC as a school on your FAFSA? Remember our school code is 004506
  • Check Basecamp to ensure you have completed all of your required items on the Financial Aid Checklist
How can I apply for Work Study?

If you were not offered Work Study as part of your 2022-23 Financial Aid Offer, email finaid@coloradomtn.edu to see if you qualify.

Also visit our Work Study website to see about any open Work Study jobs.

Financial Aid Disbursements/Refunds?

Disbursements:

All awards are paid/disbursed to your student account about 2 weeks into each semester. These are paid once you begin attendance in all classes for that semester. So if you have late starting classes, your disbursements will be delayed.

  • Any aid you have been awarded will be credited to your outstanding student charges (Tuition, fees, on campus housing, meals, ect) first.
  • If you are a first time Direct Loan borrower, your loans will not pay until 30 days into the semester.
  • If you are receiving a loan only for 1 semester, the loan will be paid in 2 even payments during that semester. The first half will pay 2 weeks (or 30 days for first time borrowers) into the semester. The second half will pay about 8 weeks (half way) into the semester.
  • Pell Recalculation Date: Each semester we have 1 day, much like census, where your registration is "locked" in so that we can determine your enrollment status for Pell eligibility. On this day we determine the credits that you are enrolled in and if eligible/awarded will pay in the Pell grant for that enrollment. So if on this day, you are enrolled in 12 eligible credits you would receive full time Pell, 9 eligible credits and you would receive 3/4 time Pell, ect.
    • This does not lock in your registration. You are still free to add/drop after this point (all of the rules regarding add/drop still apply including CMC tuition refund rules)
    • Your Pell grant will not change after this date due to an enrollment change. So if you add additional classes increasing your enrollment from 3/4 time to Full time, you will not receive additional Pell grant. Likewise, if you drop from Full time down to 3/4 time your Pell grant will not reduce.
      • The exception to this is if you drop all of your classes and we have to perform a Return to Title IV calculation.
    • Helpful hints:
      • Make sure you have your class schedule set before the semester starts
      • Try to not make changes after the semester begins
      • Talk with your Academic Advisor/Counselor to set up the best schedule for you to succeed in so that your not having to change it after the semester begins.

Refunds:

Refunds are any aid left over after all student charges are paid.

  • If you have a refund owed to you, these will then be sent to you either as a physical check or through direct deposit. While these are sent out once a week after disbursements are made, they can take anywhere from 1 - 2 weeks after we disburse to your student account for you to receive them. 
    • Physical Check: the timing will depend on the Post Office and if your mailing address is up to date. If your mailing address is not up to date then it's possible that the check will be returned to the school. We will then have to reach out to you, update your address, and re-mail the check.
    • Direct Deposit: the timing will depend on when your bank releases the money to your account. This can vary from 24-72 hours after they receive the funding.
  • If you have a Parent Plus loan, any refund of this aid will be paid to the parent unless if the parent authorizes CMC to pay the credit balance to the student. This option can be selected when the parent completes their credit check through the Department of Education.

Other Important Items:

  • Financial aid is paid only for classes that are required for your Degree or Certificate that you are enrolled in. If you are taking classes that are not required for your program, we can not pay aid for them.
  • Financial aid is paid based on the understanding that you are attending and participating in all of the classes in which you are registered for. If you do not participate/begin attendance in all of your classes, your financial aid can be reduced.
  • If you withdraw or drop classes, your financial aid can be reduced or fully cancelled. Please talk with your Academic Advisor and Financial Aid Specialist before you withdraw.
Can I make payments?

CMC does offer a payment plan that can be set up through Basecamp. Payment plans are processed by the Business office and not the Financial Aid Office.

You must register and pay an enrollment fee. The number and amount of each payment are determined by when you set up the plan. 

Contact your Local Campus Fiscal Manager or Student Receivables Manager if you have questions about your Student Account.

How do I stay eligible for Financial Aid?

Students must maintain certain academic standards to remain eligible for financial aid. These standards include GPA, completion rate, and progress toward a degree or certificate. CMC has established these guidelines for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP);

Submit a FAFSA Renewal each academic year beginning October 1st. The priority date at CMC for applying for financial assistance is March 31 for the following academic year (fall through summer semesters).

I submitted a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal, what now?

SAP appeal submitted before the semester deadline:

Once the SAP appeal is fully completed by the student, and Academic Advisor/Counselor the SAP appeals committee will review the appeal. This process can take 10-14 business days to complete. Monitor your CMC email for updates or requests for additional information. If you are approved, you can be eligible for Title IV aid for the current semester. 

SAP appeal submitted after the semester deadline:

Any completed SAP appeals submitted after the deadline (regardless of the reason for late submission) will be reviewed after the grades for the current semester are received. So if you are submitting an appeal for Fall and miss the deadline, the SAP appeal will be reviewed after all Fall grades are submitted.  If your appeal is approved, you would be eligible for the next semester. 

SAP appeal deadlines:

Fall 2022 - October 14, 2022

Spring 2023 - March 10, 2023

Summer 2023 - July 7, 2023

What if my circumstances have changed since I completed my FAFSA?

Colorado Mountain College recognizes that some events can affect your ability to pay for higher education for you, your dependent student, or your spouse. Special circumstances can include such life events as loss of a job or other significant reduction of income, unusually high medical and dental expenses, divorce and/or separation of student and spouse or parent and spouse, etc.

The COVID 19 pandemic has had additional impacts on students and their families. The Financial Aid Office may be able to help with the unexpected challenges that you are facing due to loss of income or unusual expenses. If you would like to talk with someone to see if your FAFSA information can be changed, please reach out to a Financial Aid Specialist.