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Financial Aid and Scholarships - General Information

Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid Web Site

Eligibility and General Requirements
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Applying For Financial Aid
Independent Status
The Student's Financial Aid Package
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Employment Programs
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Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid
Central Michigan University
Student Services Court
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
FAX: 989-774-3634

The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OSFA) at Central Michigan University, in conjunction with the federal and state governments and private and civic organizations, offers a variety of scholarship, grant, loan, and employment opportunities to assist you in financing your education.

Approximately seventy percent of all CMU students receive some form of assistance from these sources. The purpose of financial aid is to ensure that the university continues to make it possible for students of all degrees of financial capacity, special talent, or high scholastic merit to attend CMU. Should you have any questions during the application process, please do not hesitate to contact us.

CMU will limit institutional funds (i.e., need-based grants, merit scholarships, employee tuition waivers, Indian Tuition Grant Waiver, etc.) to the annual cost of attendance.

The following general information is provided for prospective and continuing undergraduate students.

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Financial Aid Eligibility: General Requirements

To be eligible for CMU and federal undergraduate assistance you must:

  1.  Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen for federal, state, and most CMU programs.
  2.  Demonstrate financial need (for need-based programs) as determined by the CMU OSFA and by federal regulations.
  3.  Be enrolled full time (12 credits per semester except for federal and institutional grants and/or Federal Direct Loans) in a degree program. Students enrolled less than full-time but at least half-time (6 credits per semester) may have grant aid pro-rated. NOTE: In order to graduate within four years in a degree program which requires a minimum of 124 hours of credit, a student must average at least 31 hours of credit each year. Several degrees may require a minimum greater than 124 hours.
  4.  Federal aid recipients may not owe a refund from any federal grant or loan or be in default on any federal loan.
  5.  Students must be enrolled on campus to receive financial aid, except under special circumstances. Students whose program of study requires a course(s) not available at CMU may apply for a Consortium Agreement to receive financial aid while enrolled at another institution.
  6.  Students can only receive a Federal Pell Grant at one institution. Students may receive a Federal Stafford Direct Loan while enrolled at least half-time simultaneously at two institutions up to the annual maximum grade-level limit.
  7.  Guest students attending CMU are not eligible to receive financial assistance through CMU. Students should check with their home institution to determine eligibility for financial assistance.

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Satisfactory academic progress toward your degree:

CMU students are required to make progress toward their degree to be eligible for federal and most state and university aid sources. Progress is measured in three ways:

  1.  Length of time to complete your degree. Students must complete all degree requirements within 150% of the minimum number of credit hours required to complete their program of study.
  2.  Required GPA level. Students must maintain a 2.00 cumulative GPA as an undergraduate student and a 3.00 cumulative GPA as a graduate student.
  3.  Required percentage of attempted credits completed. All students must complete 67% of all CMU credits attempted each semester of enrollment (including the summer semester).

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal regulations (HEA Sec. 484(c)) require that Central Michigan University monitor the satisfactory academic progress of all students regardless if they have received financial aid in previous semesters. These financial aid requirements are separate from students’ academic requirements. To maintain eligibility for federal student aid, as well as most state and institutional student aid programs, there are three distinct criteria that must be monitored and met.

  1. Quantitative standard: Students must complete 67% of all CMU credits attempted each semester of enrollment which includes the summer semester. Attempted hours are based on the number of credits for which the student is registered at the conclusion of the Registrar’s posted “Deadline for Dropping a Class with a Full Cancellation of Tuition.”
  2. Qualitative standard: Students must maintain a 2.00 cumulative GPA as an undergraduate student and a 3.00 cumulative GPA as a graduate student.
  3.  Maximum time frame standard: The number of attempted credits in which a student is expected to finish a program cannot exceed 150 percent of the published length of the program. Total credit hour limits apply whether or not the student has actually received financial aid for the entire time at CMU. Transfer credits from previous schools count toward credit hour limits.

Undergraduate students cannot receive financial aid after completing 186 credit hours. The 186-credit-hour limit for completion of a baccalaureate degree is intended to be long enough to allow for changes in a major, loss of credit due to transfer, withdrawn coursework, minors, double majors, etc.; therefore, no extensions of the maximum time frame will be granted for the above mentioned reasons.

Students in graduate programs may not receive financial aid if they have exceeded the published time limits as outlined in the CMU Graduate Bulletin for master, doctoral, or professional programs as found in the section on Special Admission Considerations.

Graduate students working on second baccalaureate degree or post-baccalaureate students working on teacher certification

Students pursuing a second undergraduate degree or post-baccalaureate students working on teacher certification are limited to 93 credit hours of work between the receipt of the first degree and the completion of the second. Students may not receive financial aid beyond 6 semesters (or the part-time equivalent of 6 semesters) of enrollment in the second undergraduate degree program or teacher certification program.

Satisfactory Academic Progress review is performed at the end of each semester

As a courtesy, the OSFA will attempt to provide students with specific notification regarding their Satisfactory Academic Progress status. If for any reason the OSFA fails to provide an intended notification, this does not relieve the student from the obligation of continuing to maintain satisfactory academic progress or from any other requirements of the financial aid program.

Consequences of unsatisfactory progress

Students who fail to maintain the required cumulative GPA and/or complete 67% of what they attempt in a semester of enrollment at CMU will be placed on a warning status for their next semester of enrollment at CMU. Students are eligible to receive most forms of aid while on warning, but failure to bring the cumulative GPA up to the required level and/or complete 67% of what is attempted in the next semester of enrollment at CMU will result in financial aid suspension beginning with the next semester of enrollment. A student will remain on financial aid suspension until the cumulative GPA is raised to its required level and/or the student completes 67% of attempted credits within a semester. Only credit hours completed are counted as credits earned. Grades of NC (no credit), I (Incomplete), W (withdrawal), X (audit), and Z (deferred) are not counted as earned credit.

Students who reach their time limit without completing their degree will be denied further federal and most state and institutional financial aid as a student at that level. As students near their credit limits they will be placed in a warning status. For example, if as an undergraduate you reach 150 attempted credits you will be placed in a warning status. Once you reach the 186-earned-credit limit, you will be denied further aid until the degree is conferred. You then would regain eligibility for a second undergraduate or a graduate degree. If you are attempting a master’s degree and reach the eligibility limit, you would be denied further aid until the master’s degree is conferred, at which time you would regain eligibility for a second master’s, doctoral, or professional degree.

Appeal process

Students who have faced extraordinary circumstances may appeal a financial aid suspension, but students are cautioned that appeals are not routinely approved. Students wishing to appeal their financial aid suspension status must complete a CMU Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form for Financial Aid and include all required documentation. Appeal forms are available on the OSFA website and at the Student Service Court in the Bovee University Center.

All appeals should be submitted to the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid. In most cases a decision will be made within 15 business days of receiving an appeal and the appropriate documentation. Students are notified of appeal decisions in writing or through their CMU e-mail account.

Continuing at CMU after aid is denied

Students denied financial aid generally may continue attending Central Michigan University using private aid sources such as alternative student loans, or by funding their education themselves. Please note that on the linked Alternative loan list, some loans listed are NOT available to students while on Financial Aid Suspension.


Applying For Financial Aid
To apply for financial assistance at Central Michigan University, prospective students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The need analysis form must be received by the Federal Processor by March 1 in order to meet the university’s priority deadline. Applications are available online at, or from high school counselors, financial aid offices at other institutions of higher learning, and the CMU OSFA.  Online applications are strongly encouraged.

All CMU awards are made for a period of one academic year only. Reapplication must be completed each year

Financial aid awards for the prospective student are not offered before the student has attained regular admission status through the Admissions Office.

Because need-based financial aid is limited, it is awarded to the earliest applicants who demonstrate the greatest financial need until funds are exhausted.

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Students may be selected for verification through an institutional edit process and/or through a random selection for the U.S. Department of Education's Quality Assurance Program. The OSFA is required to collect documents to verify the information on the FAFSA. These documents include, but are not limited to, federal tax transcripts and documentation of assets and family size.

A timely response to a documentation request is important. Your financial aid application cannot be processed without the requested documentation.

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Falsification of income information submitted for the purpose of receiving financial assistance will result in cancellation of all future assistance and repayment of all prior assistance received falsely. If federal and/or state funds are involved, notification of the false information will be provided to the proper agencies (U.S. Department of Education and/or Michigan Department of Treasury) for their further disposition.

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Determination of Financial Need
Need is determined by subtracting a student’s total family contribution, as determined by the federal needs analysis, from the estimated cost of attendance.

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Independent Status

The expected family contribution for education expenses for students who meet the criteria for financial independence is evaluated exclusive of parental support. To be independent for 2013-2014, students must answer yes to at least one of the following questions:

  1. Were you born before January 1, 1990?
  2. At the beginning of the 2013-14 school year, will you be working on a master’s or doctorate program (such as an M.A., M.B.A., M.D., J.D., Ph.D., Ed.D., or graduate certificate, etc.)?
  3. As of today, are you married?
  4. Do you have children who receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014?
  5. Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with and receive more than half of their support from you, now and through June 30, 2014?
  6. At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care, or were you a dependent or ward of the court?
  7. Are you a veteran of the U.S. armed forces?
  8. Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
  9. Are you or were you an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
  10. Are you or were you in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
  11. At any time on or before July 1, 2012, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
  12. At any time on or after July 1, 2012, did the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
  13. At any time on or after July 1, 2012, did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?

Students may be required to document their status with the OSFA. Students with unusual or extenuating circumstances relating to independent status should contact the OSFA.

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Parental Contribution
For dependent students, the OSFA uses the federal needs analysis to determine the contribution from each family, taking into account the family’s income and assets, taxes paid, the household size, and the number of college students in the home.

Student Contribution
The federal needs analysis is utilized to determine the student's contribution and the student's spousal contribution, if applicable. Students and their spouses are expected to assist in meeting educational costs. The expected contribution is calculated from previous year earnings and untaxed income, and a percentage of personal savings and assets.

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