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).

FAQ: Applying for Financial Aid

How to apply?

The process for applying for Financial Aid is simple at CMC.

  1. Complete a CMC admissions application.
  2. Complete either the
    1. FAFSA application OR
    2. CASFA application (if not eligible for FAFSA).
  3. Complete a Foundation Scholarship Application
  4. Complete the COSI Application


Who can apply?

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.

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?

You only need to complete the FAFSA once per year, however you must complete a new FAFSA each Academic Year. CMC's Academic Year consists of Fall, Spring, and Summer. For the 2023-24 FAFSA you can begin completing it on October 1st, 2022. The 2024-25 FAFSA will be available starting in December 2023.

CMC has a priority deadline for State aid and Scholarships of March 31st. Complete your FAFSA, Scholarship, and COSI applications prior to this date for the best aid. There still may be available funding after March 1st, but we can not guarantee it.

While you can complete the FAFSA early before you start attending at CMC, you can not complete the FAFSA after you stop attending. Please make sure to complete the FAFSA early and before you stop attending or you will not be eligible for Federal Financial Aid.


  • Priority Deadline: March 31st, 2023
  • General Deadline: June 30th, 2024


  • Priority Deadline: March 31st, 2024
  • General Deadline: June 30th, 2025
How do I protect my identity when completing the FAFSA?

Reduce Your Risk of Identity Theft When Applying for Aid

Identity theft can occur when criminals access personal data such as names, Social Security numbers, and bank and credit card information. Using the stolen data, the criminal can illegally obtain credit cards, set up mobile phone accounts, and more. Take the following precautions to reduce your risk when applying for federal student aid:

  • Apply for federal student aid by filling out the FAFSA form at the official website.

  • After completing the FAFSA form online, exit the application and close the browser; any cookies created during your session will be deleted automatically.

  • Don’t tell anyone your FSA ID username or password, even if that person is helping you fill out the FAFSA form.

  • Review your financial aid offers and keep track of the amounts you applied for and received.

  • Never give personal information over the phone or internet unless you made the contact. If you have questions about an offer of aid or about your student loan account, ask CMC or contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center.

  • The Department of Education stores your information within the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS®) database and provide access to it when you log in to your account. However, if you complete or even request a student loan application from a lender, you may be granting the lender permission to access your file. Before providing personal information to an organization, review its privacy policy.

  • Keep receipts and documents (for example, credit applications or offers, checks and bank statements) with personal information in a safe place, and shred them when you are finished with them.

  • Keep your purse or wallet safe at all times; store it and other items containing personal information in a secure place at home, especially if you have roommates.

  • Immediately report all lost or stolen identification to the issuer (e.g., the credit card company or your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles) and to the police, if appropriate.

Do I have to pay to complete my FAFSA?

You Don’t Have to Pay for Help With the FAFSA® Form

Several websites offer help filling out the FAFSA® form for a fee. These sites are not affiliated with or endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). We urge you not to pay these sites for assistance that you can get for free elsewhere. The official FAFSA form is available from fafsa.gov, and you can get free help from

If you are asked for your credit card information while filling out the FAFSA form online, you are not at the official government site. Remember, the FAFSA site address has .gov in it!

Do I have to pay to have help in finding money for school?

You Don’t Have to Pay for Help Finding Money for College or Career School

Commercial financial aid advice services can cost well over $1,000. Of course, simply charging for help or information that’s available for free elsewhere is not fraudulent. However, if a company doesn’t deliver what it promises, it’s scamming you.

If you’re unsure whether to pay a company for help finding financial aid, stop and think for a minute: What’s being offered? Is the service going to be worth your money? Do the claims seem too good to be true? You might have heard or seen these claims at seminars, over the phone from telemarketers, or online:

  • “Buy now or miss this opportunity.” Don’t give in to pressure tactics. Remember, the “opportunity” is a chance to pay for information you could find yourself for free.

  • “We guarantee you’ll get aid.” A company could claim it fulfilled its promise if you were offered student loans or a $200 scholarship. Is that worth a fee of $1,000 or more?

  • “I’ve got aid for you; give me your credit card or bank account number.” Never give out a credit card or bank account number unless you know the organization you are giving it to is legitimate. You could be putting yourself at risk of identity theft.

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.

Who should I list as my parent when completing my FAFSA? (2023-24)

A legal parent includes a biological parent, an adoptive parent, or a person that the state has determined to be your parent (for example, when a state allows another person’s name to be listed as a parent on a birth certificate). Grandparents, foster parents, legal guardians, older brothers or sisters, widowed stepparents, and aunts and uncles aren’t considered parents unless they’ve legally adopted you.

Parents Marital Status will determine who you should list. See below for additional information:

  • Never Married
    • The parent you lived with most during the last 12 months. If you didn’t live more with one parent, provide information about the parent who provided more financial support during the last 12 months or during the most recent year that you received support from a parent.
  • Unmarried and both legal parents are living together
    • Both of your legal parents
  • Married
    • Both of your parents
  • Remarried (after being divorced or widowed)
    • Parent and Stepparent
  • Divorced or Separated
    • The parent you lived with most during the last 12 months. If you didn’t live more with one parent, provide information about the parent who provided more financial support during the last 12 months or during the most recent year that you received support from a parent.
  • Widowed
    • Your parent 
What happens after I complete my FAFSA?

You will receive a Student Aid Report or SAR either to your email or mailed to you (if you filed on paper). This will let you know the information you listed as well as your EFC.

CMC will receive an Institutional Student Information Record or ISIR within 3-5 Business days. This has the same information as the SAR you receive.

CMC will review your ISIR for conflicting information or Verification requirements. If we need additional information from you will receive Document requests in Basecamp. These must be completed before you can receive a Financial Aid Offer.

Once all of your requirements are complete, you will receive a Financial Aid Offer. You will receive an email to your CMC issued student email when this is available for you.

You will need to review your offer and either Accept or Decline each award. This is done in Basecamp. We will Auto Accept any Grants or Scholarships that we offer you. This way you do not loose out on free money.

Where is my Financial Aid?

Have you done the following?

  • Make sure you have completed your 2023-24 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
  • Have you completed a Scholarship and COSI application?
How can I get Work Study?

If you were not offered Work Study as part of your 2023-24 Financial Aid Offer, email workstsudy@coloradomtn.edu to see if you qualify.

Also visit our Work Study website to see about any open Work Study jobs and how to apply to those jobs.

Where is my COF?

State funding for college students enrolled in Colorado colleges and universities comes in two forms, block grants and The College Opportunity Fund (COF).  COF is a direct benefit program that provides state-tax dollars to colleges and universities on behalf of eligible undergraduate students, but is not need-based financial aid.  Created by the Colorado legislature in 2004, the COF program enables the state to award taxpayer funding directly to students.

Due to its unique funding model, Colorado Mountain College does not participate in the COF program.  Instead, CMC receives block grants from the state, dollars that are directly applied to the overall costs of in-district and in-state students at the college, which helps CMC maintain tuition prices that are among the lowest in the nation.  This has the added benefit of reducing paperwork burdens on enrolled students, too. 

Whether or not they choose to participate in COF, all public colleges in Colorado receive the same amount of need-based financial aid funding per student, based on their level in college, from the state. 

FAQ: Payments and Receiving Aid

Where is my refund?

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 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 Student Accounts and not the Financial Aid Office.

Please see the Student Payment Plan website for additional information and for information on how to sign up for one.

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

Who do I contact with questions about my award?

Please visit our Financial Aid Contact page where we list all the ways you can get ahold of our office.

Do I have to pay for help with my student loans?

You Don’t Have to Pay for Help With Your Federal Student Loans

Many student loan debt relief companies charge a fee to provide services that you can take care of yourself for free by contacting your loan servicer. At no cost, the U.S. Department of Education and their federal loan servicers can help you

Have questions or need help with your student loans? Contact your loan servicer.

How can I identify a Student Loan Scam?

Borrowers have reported receiving phone calls, emails, letters, and/or texts offering them relief from their federal student loans or warning them that student loan forgiveness programs would end soon. Usually, the so-called student loan debt relief companies offering these types of services don’t offer any relief at all. Often they’re just fraudsters who are after your money.

Here are some examples of the false claims made in these communications:

  • “Act immediately to qualify for student loan forgiveness before the program is discontinued.”

  • “You are now eligible to receive benefits from a recent law that has passed regarding federal student loans, including total forgiveness in some circumstances. Federal student loan programs may change. Please call within 30 days of receiving this notice.”

  • “Your student loans may qualify for complete discharge. Enrollments are first come, first served.”

  • “Student alerts: Your student loan is flagged for forgiveness pending verification. Call now!”

Communications using this type of aggressive advertising to lure borrowers are NOT coming from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) or its partners.

Here are some signs to help you identify a scam by a student loan debt relief company:

  • They require you to pay up-front or monthly fees for help. If a company requires a fee before they actually do anything, that’s a huge red flag—especially if they try to get your credit card number or bank account information. In some cases, they may even step in and ask you to pay them directly, promising to pay your servicer each month when your bill comes due. Free assistance is available through your federal loan servicer.

  • They promise immediate and total loan forgiveness or cancellation. No one can promise immediate and total loan forgiveness or cancellation. Most government forgiveness programs require many years of qualifying payments and/or employment in certain fields before your loans can be forgiven. Also, student loan debt relief companies do not have the ability to negotiate with your federal loan servicer for a “special deal” under the federal student loan programs. Payment levels under income-driven payment plans are set by federal law.

  • They ask for your FSA ID username and password. ED or its partners will never ask you for your FSA ID password. Your FSA ID is used to sign legally binding documents electronically. It has the same legal status as a written signature. Do not give your FSA ID password to anyone or allow anyone to create an FSA ID for you. If a company has access to your FSA ID information, they can make changes to your account without your permission.

  • They ask you to sign and submit a third-party authorization form or a power of attorney. These are written agreements giving the third party legal permission to talk directly to your federal loan servicer and make decisions on your behalf. Debt relief companies often want these authorizations so that they can change your account and contact information, so you don’t realize that they aren’t actually paying your monthly student loan bill.

  • They claim that their offer is limited and encourage you to act immediately. Student loan debt relief companies often try to instill a sense of urgency by citing “new laws” or discontinuing programs as a way to encourage borrowers to contact them immediately. While there are some deadlines you need to meet regarding your student loans—for instance, if you’re paying under an income-driven repayment plan, you need to recertify annually—our programs are limited only by the eligibility requirements.

  • Their communications contain spelling and grammatical errors. While many of the communications sent out by these companies look very formal (for example, fold-and-tear letters with safety patterns), they often contain spelling and grammatical errors. If you notice unusual capitalization, improper grammar, or incomplete sentences in the communication you receive, that’s likely a red flag that the company is not affiliated with ED.

What should I do if I have seen Fraud?

Report Financial Aid Fraud

A company charging for financial aid advice is not committing fraud unless it doesn’t deliver what it promises. For more information about financial aid fraud or to report fraud, contact the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Report Fraudulent Activity by a College or Career School

Contact ED’s Office of Inspector General Fraud Hotline to make a confidential report if you suspect your school or an individual of fraud, waste, or abuse involving federal student aid (e.g., Federal Pell Grants, Direct Loans, etc.).

Contact ED’s Federal Student Aid Feedback Center if you believe that

  • someone at your school has misrepresented any aspect of the educational program, its cost, or its outcomes; or
  • the school’s administration of the federal student aid programs, and/or the school’s recruitment practices, may have violated federal regulations.

Report Identity Theft

If you suspect that your student information has been stolen, it is important to act quickly. These offices will help you determine what steps to take depending on your situation:

Report Student Loan Debt Relief Companies

If you have already shared your information or paid a student loan debt relief company, you should do the following:

  • Contact your federal loan servicer to revoke any power of attorney or third-party authorization agreement that your servicer has on file. You should also make sure no unwanted actions were taken on your loans.
  • Contact your bank or credit card company, and request that payments to the debt relief company be stopped.
  • File a complaint with the FTC.
  • File a report of suspicious activity through the Department of Educations Feedback Center.

Also, be sure to log in and change your account password. Do NOT share your new account password with anyone!

FAQ: Staying Eligible for Aid

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  new FAFSA each academic year. For the 2023-24 FAFSA the application will open October 1st, 2022, for the 2024-25 FAFSA the application will open at some point in December 2023. CMC does not have an official date yet from the Department of Education.

The priority date at CMC for applying for financial assistance is March 31 for the next academic year (fall through summer semesters).

Why is my SAP status Yellow?

When you are in Basecamp and you are reviewing your Satisfactory Academic Progress or SAP status and you find it Yellow, that means that you are on "Warning". You do not need to submit an appeal but it is a warning for you to make sure that you work on passing future classes with above a 2.0 GPA for each class.

Why is my SAP status Red?

When you are in Basecamp and you are reviewing your Satisfactory Academic Progress or SAP status and you find it Red, that means that you are failing SAP and would need to appeal. 

Please submit a request for an Appeal in Basecamp or contact Financial Aid and we can send you the appeal.

Until you have completed and had your appeal approved, you are not eligible for Financial Aid.

How do I submit a SAP appeal?

You can request a SAP appeal in 1 of 2 ways:

  • When you are in Basecamp on the Satisfactory Academic Progress page on the right side you will see "Request SAP/EMTF Appeal HERE". Simply fill out this form and a Financial Aid Specialist will send you the DocuSign form.
  • You can reach out to a Financial Aid Specialist by email, phone, or appointment who will send you the DocuSign form.
I submitted a SAP 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 2023 - October 13, 2023

Spring 2024 - March 8, 2024

Summer 2024 - July 12, 2023