Questions & Answers

    What is Financial Aid?

    Financial Aid is designed to bridge the gap between a student's resources and the college's cost of education. Financial Aid is comprised of grants, scholarships, work study, enrollment fee waivers, and loans.

    How do I apply for Financial Aid?


    The first step in applying for Financial Aid is the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid.) This form must be completed every academic year. The form should be completed online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. FAFSA worksheets are available from the financial aid office to assist you prior to completing the application on the web. Students (and parents if the student is dependant) need a PIN (Personal Identification Number) to sign their FAFSA on-line. Students who forgot,  misplaced, or do not have a PIN, may request one at www.pin.ed.gov. The second step is to complete a CMC Datasheet and turn it into the Financial Aid Office.

    Can I apply before I complete and turn in my admissions application?

    Absolutely! Both applications can be done concurrently, and due to various program deadlines, students are encouraged to apply well in advance of enrollment. For example, for Fall enrollment, the FAFSA application can be completed as early as the preceding January 1st.

    Do I have to be a high school graduate to receive financial aid?

    No. If a student does not have a high school diploma, they may have a GED. However, current high school students are considered concurrently enrolled, and do not qualify for financial aid until they are no longer enrolled in high school and one of the above mentioned criteria are met.

    How do I make a correction on my SAR?

    The quickest way is to go the FAFSA website at www.fafsa.ed.gov and select the "Make Corrections to a Processed FAFSA" button. Students will need to have a valid PIN (Personal Identification Number) in order to access their application. The correction process can take anywhere from 4 hours to 2 weeks, depending on if the student has a valid email address to receive the response.

    Students should not make additional corrections after they have submitted their paperwork to our office, as doing so may delay the process. Alternatively, students can make corrections by telling the Financial Aid office that can make the corrections for the students.

    How do I receive my financial aid funds?

    Financial Aid funds will first pay any expenses that you owe the college. If the student has a credit balance remaining after these expenses are paid, or if the student does not owe any money to the college, then the funds will be made available to the student after their enrollment is confirmed. The student will receive three disbursements per semester. Thirty percent (30%) of their semester award will be disbursed during the first week of school, about 4 weeks after school starts twenty percent (20%), and the remaining fifty percent (50%) after about 8 weeks. The proceeds should be used to pay their indirect expenses (Books and supplies, room and board, and transportation) throughout the semester.

    How long will it take for my financial aid application to be processed?

    The entire process can take several months to complete, so students should apply as early as possible. After the initial FAFSA application, students will need to review their application and make any corrections, as well as respond to any follow up request from the Financial Aid Office for additional documentation. Since students cannot be awarded until they satisfy all requests for follow up documentation and complete their application file, it is imperative that they respond in a timely fashion to any request received, whether from the Department of Education, or the CMC Financial Aid Office.

    How much financial aid money will I receive?


    The amount students will receive will be determined based on what they qualify for (their EFC from the SAR) and what funds are currently available at the time they complete their financial aid file. Because some financial aid funds are limited, and because some funds have deadlines, it is important for students to apply early, meet all deadlines, and complete their financial aid file as soon as possible, so that the Financial Aid Office can best meet their needs. Students should refer to their award letter to understand what funds they have been awarded. Their award is based on full time attendance, and will differ if enrolled in less than full time attendance at the time of disbursement. Students can always inquire at the FAO if they are unsure how their award will be affected if less than full time.

    How much financial aid money will I receive if I am attending part time, half time, or less than half time?


    Students are paid both on units enrolled (less than half time, half time, three quarter time, or full time), and based on their EFC. In general, 12 or more units constitute full time enrollment, 9-11.5 units for three quarter time, and 6-8.5 units for half time enrollment. Once the student completes their financial aid file, they will be sent their award letter from Financial Aid that outlines their award based on full time attendance. Students may want to check with the Financial Aid Office if they are enrolling in less than 6 credits to ensure they are still eligible to receive payment. It is important to note that students are ultimately paid on the number of units enrolled, and their disbursement check amount may differ from what is notated on the award letter if they are not enrolled in full time units at the time of disbursement.

    How often do I have to apply for financial aid?


    Students must apply each academic year for financial aid. The award cycle for Federal aid (FAFSA) is Fall, Spring, and Summer. Students can apply as early as January 1st for the following Fall semester. The quickest way to reapply if the student was on financial aid the prior year is to complete a Renewal application with their PIN at www.fafsa.ed.gov. This will pull up a pre populated application which the student only needs to list their income and make any changes.

    If I receive an enrollment fee waiver, will I get back the money I already paid?

    Yes. If a student previously paid enrollment fees, and is later awarded a BOG (Board of Governor's Fee Waiver) as part of their financial aid award, students can apply for a refund check for the amount they paid, as long as the amount they paid and the BOG is for the same academic year. Students need to apply for a refund at the Cashier's Office. Students should be aware that the BOG pays enrollment fees only, and students will still need to pay any additional fees, such as parking and the Student Government fee.

    What expenses are covered by the Board of Governor's Fee Waiver?

    The BOG (Board of Governor's Fee Waiver) pays enrollment fees only.

    What happens if I drop a class or withdraw from all of my classes?

    Since disbursement is paid based on current units enrolled, students would not be paid for the dropped classes if the student withdrew prior to the disbursement run. If the student drops a class or withdraws from all classes after disbursement was received, the student may need to pay back some of the money received. Students should refer to the college's SAP (Satisfactory Academic Progress) policy regarding this, and are advised to inquire at Financial Aid before dropping or withdrawing from classes. Specifically, students who withdraw or drop classes prior to the 60% semester mark might need to repay a portion of their disbursement. The amount will be determined based on their withdrawal date. After the 60% mark in the semester, students do not need to repay any monies, however, the SAP policy also states that students must pass at least 67% of their classes they enrolled in, in order to not be placed on Financial Aid warning.

    What is Federal Work-Study and how do I apply?

    Federal Work-Study is a financial aid award given to qualified students. Students must complete the FAFSA application in order to be considered, and show sufficient need. The student applies for a job with Human Resources. The student will be notified if chosen for a job. Students who show a need for Federal Work Study will be given first priority.

    What is the Board of Governor's Fee Waiver and how do I apply?

    The Board of Governor's Fee Waiver (BOG) is financial aid offered by the State of California for Community College students. The student must be a California resident in order to qualify. Qualification is also based on prior year income. Students may qualify either by completing a FAFSA application, or the BOG application available at the Financial Aid Office or on the Financial Aid website. The application covers summer, fall, and spring semesters. Students must reapply every academic year.

    What is the federal school code for CMC?

    The college's Title IV school code for the FAFSA is 035424. Students need to be sure to list our code on their FAFSA application in order for the Department of Education to release the student's FAFSA results to the college. Students that do not list our code on their application will need to make an application correction before processing can continue. If students did not list CMC's code and have a SAR they can call the Financial Aid Office and give them the Data Release Number (DRN) found on the SAR.

    What is the Student Aid Report?

    The Student Aid Report (SAR) is a confirmation of the student's FAFSA application. The SAR may be received in the mail or via email, based on how the student initially filed the FAFSA. Students should immediately review their SAR upon receipt, checking for any errors or changes and make appropriate corrections. They should also make sure that CMC is listed in the school section on the SAR. It is important to note that typing errors can be made which can affect a student's eligibility, so students should go over the SAR thoroughly. Students should not make additional corrections after they have submitted their paperwork to our office, as doing so may delay the process. After paper work has been submitted to our office corrections can be made through the Financial Aid Office.

    When will my financial aid money be disbursed?

    Regularly scheduled disbursements occur throughout the semester. Students are paid based on units enrolled at the time of disbursement on the nearest disbursement date after they complete their financial aid file. Completing a financial aid file is not the same as completing the FAFSA application, as additional documentation is necessary before any award can be made. Students should ensure that they respond in a timely fashion to any request received for additional documentation, as not doing so will delay their award notification, and ultimately their disbursement. Students should be aware that there are file cut off dates in order to meet particular disbursement dates. Students who have already been awarded may check with the Financial Aid Office website for current scheduled disbursement dates. The college has several disbursement dates throughout the semester.

    Who is eligible for financial aid at CMC?


    In order to be eligible for Federal financial aid, students must be United States citizens or permanent residents, not be in over award status, not be in default on a prior education loan, not be convicted of selling or possessing illegal substances (unless a student can submit documentation of completion of an approved rehabilitation program) and have a high school diploma, pass the GED. In order to be eligible for the BOG (Board of Governor's Fee Waiver), students must be California residents or meet the AB540 requirements. Furthermore, all students must qualify based on prior year income.

    Are there scholarships that I can apply for?

    Yes, students may apply for a variety of scholarships that are offered from the local High Desert community, state, and national levels. Students can contact a variety of websites such as www.scholarships.com or www.fastweb.com. The CMC library also has books that offer scholarship information, or students may contact the public library.

    How do I become eligible for GI Bill Education Benefits?

    CMC does not determine a student's eligibility for GI Bill Education benefits. You may visit the VA website at http://www.va.gov or http://www.gibill.va.gov/.

    What GI Bill Education benefits does CMC offer?

    CMC is authorized to certify for Chapter 30, 31, 33, 35, 1606, and 1607.

    Who do I contact for GI Bill Education Benefits?

    Please visit the CMC Veterans Services webpage or your Veterans Services representative at CMC is Lynda Burns. Feel free to contact her with any questions at lburns@cmccd.edu or 1-866-366-3791 ext. 5803.