Financial Aid: Policies and Procedures
Financial Aid will be disbursed to students in three equal payments per semester or per term. Disbursements are made on the first Monday after 14 days have passed from the start of the term. Upon request, accommodations may be made to best suit the financial needs of our students.
Cost of Attendance
The Cost of Attendance (COA) is an estimate of the total amount needed to attend college each academic year which consists of two semesters. Each school determines its annual average COA using a formula established by Congress.
A student’s Cost of Attendance may include:
- Tuition and fees
- Books, supplies, loans fees and miscellaneous personal expenses
- Room and board expenses
- Dependent care
- Costs related to disability
A higher Cost of Attendance than that which is estimated by CIU will require that the student provide supporting documentation to justify an increase.
The Cost of Attendance and Financial Aid
The Cost of Attendance will be used to package and award aid to students seeking an eligible Title IV degree and using financial aid. Should a student want to pursue financial aid, his or her eligibility will not be based on individual preferences and spending habits, but rather on standard budget allowances.
Note: The Cost of Attendance is reviewed annually by the Financial Aid Director to maintain relevance and accuracy related to the direct and indirect costs CIU students may incur. The figure used to determine the Room and Board allowance is the national average obtained research done by CollegeBoard.
Cost of Attendance Budget
Tuition / Fees
Per Fee Schedule
Room and Board
Return to Title IV
Withdrawn Students Receiving Federal Financial Aid
When a student withdraws from the university, or has an unexcused break in enrollment while receiving federal financial aid a refund calculation of federal funds must be completed. The calculation is called Return to Title IV (R2T4). It determines how much of the awarded federal financial aid was earned by the student, any unearned aid must be returned to the Department of Education.
If a student has received Federal Direct Loans or Federal Pell Grant funds during his or her period of enrollment and is withdrawn or withdraws from the institution, an R2T4 calculation will be performed. If a student has not yet been awarded but has a valid ISIR for the current awarded year, an R2T4 calculation is performed to determine a potential Post-Withdrawal Disbursement. The date of withdrawal is always the last date of attendance.
Attendance at CIU includes:
- submitting an academic assignment,
- taking an exam, or
- participating in an online discussion about academic matters.
Attendance is not:
- logging into your course without active participation or
- participating in academic counseling or advisement.
Returning Unearned Funds
Institutions are required to determine the percentage of Title IV aid earned by the student and to return the unearned portion to the appropriate aid program. This percentage is determined by the percentage of the enrollment period completed by the student.
The return of funds policy consists of the following steps:
- Determine the percentage of the enrollment period completed by the student
- Days Attended ÷ Days in Enrollment Period = Percentage Completed
- If the calculated percentage exceeds 60 percent, then the student has earned all Title IV aid for the enrollment period.
- Apply the percentage completed to the Title IV aid awarded to determine the student’s eligibility for aid prior to the withdrawal.
- Total Aid Disbursed x Percentage Completed = Earned Aid
- Determine the amount of unearned aid to be returned to the appropriate Title IV aid program.
- Total Disbursed Aid – Earned Aid = Unearned Aid to be Returned
If the aid already disbursed equals the earned aid, no further action is required. If the aid already disbursed is less than the earned aid, a late disbursement will be made to the student. If the aid already disbursed is greater than the earned aid, the difference must be returned to the appropriate Title IV aid program.
Distribute the responsibility to return funds between the institution and the student.
CIU and the student are both responsible for returning unearned funds to the appropriate programs in specific loan/grant order. The institution must return the lesser of:
- the total amount of unearned aid, or
- institutional charges multiplied by the unearned percentage.
Amounts that must be returned will first be applied to federal loans and then to grants. Loan borrowers will be permitted to repay loans based on the terms of the promissory note. The student will also be billed for any amount due to CIU resulting from the student’s withdrawal. If a student owes any money to the school resulting from the return of federal aid funds, the student will receive a bill from the Business Office. Title IV aid is returned in the following order:
- Unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans
- Subsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans
- Federal Direct PLUS Loans
- Federal Pell Grants
- Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
Any student with an account credit balance will be refunded to the funding source in the order outlined above.
The student’s grace period (if applicable) for loan repayments for Federal Unsubsidized and
Subsidized Direct Stafford Loans will begin on the day of the withdrawal from CIU. The student should contact the servicer if he or she has questions regarding his or her grace period or repayment status.
The student’s eligibility for future financial aid may change based on his or her withdrawal from CIU.
Any post-withdrawal disbursement due must meet the current required conditions for late disbursements. A school is required to make (or offer as appropriate) post-withdrawal disbursements to eligible students. A post-withdrawal disbursement must be made within 180 days of the date the institution determines that the student withdrew. The amount of a post-withdrawal disbursement is determined by following the requirements for calculating earned FSA and has no relationship to incurred educational costs.
- If a student is eligible for a post-withdrawal of a federal grant, it will be disbursed within 45 days of the date of determination of withdrawal.
- A student (or parent, in the case of a Direct PLUS loan) is notified of eligibility for a post-withdrawal disbursement of a Federal loan within 30 days of the withdrawal date by email and must respond within fourteen days.
- If the student (or parent) accepts the post-withdrawal disbursement of a federal loan, it must be made as soon as possible but no later than 180 days of the withdrawal date.
- The University will track this notification and make appropriate updates in the system as necessary.
- When the student’s (or parent’s) response is received it will be updated in the system.
- The priorities for disbursement are grants first; paid to outstanding institutional charges before being paid directly to the student (or parent).
- It is Jennifer’s first semester, and she is enrolled in the Business Administration program. She is a full-time student enrolled in 12 credits in the semester (18 weeks /126 days).
On the 2nd day of week 7, Jennifer withdrew from her courses to pursue an acting career. Jennifer attended CIU for 51 days ((7 x 7) + 2 = 51) in an enrollment period of 126 days; therefore, she completed 40.47% (51/126) of her enrollment period.
During the current payment period, Jennifer was disbursed a Pell grant for $1,500 and a subsidized loan for $1,500, a total of $3,000. Her earned aid is $1215 (40.47% x 3,000), whereas her unearned aid is $1,785 ($3,000-$1,215). After the institutional refund is applied and unearned Pell Grant funds are returned Jennifer will have to repay the disbursed and earned subsidized loan amount funds. She may also have to repay any disbursed unearned loan funds to CIU.
- It is John’s second semester and he is a full-time student enrolled in 12 credits in the semester. On the 5th day of week 11, it was the last time John attended class. John attended CIU for 75 days ((11 x 7) + 5 = 82) in an enrollment period of 126 days; therefore, he completed 65.08% (82/126) of his enrollment period. During the current payment period, John was disbursed a Pell grant for $900, a subsidized loan for $2,500, and an unsubsidized loan for $1,000, a total of $4,400. Because he attended for at least 60% of the enrollment period, his total earned aid is $4,400, and there is no unearned aid.
Refund requirements, policies and procedures are provided to students in writing annually and are posted on CIU’s website. Sample R2T4 calculations are available from the University upon request