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Financial Aid Office (FAO)

Terms and Conditions 2023-2024

We are pleased to offer financial aid to help with your cost of attendance at Columbia International University (CIU). The amounts and types of your aid are listed on your Award Letter.

Your award may include scholarships, grants, loans, or work study from federal, state, and institutional programs, as well as funds from sources outside CIU that were known at the time your award was made. The information in this document is intended to describe the terms and conditions of your award, outline policies and procedures, and explain the process for delivery of funds. In some cases, individualized comments will appear on your Award Letter.

Please read the material carefully so you will understand what is expected of you.

Award Information

Financial Aid Eligibility: Your need-based aid eligibility is the difference between the cost for you to attend CIU and what you and your family should be able to pay. The information used in the calculation of your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) was reported by you and your family on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In order to qualify for federal, state and institutional aid, all courses must be required for the current degree or certificate the student is seeking.

Types of Aid: An award will usually include one or more types of aid in order to meet all or as much of your financial aid eligibility as possible. If you are an undergraduate student working on your first degree and your FAFSA application was received, your aid package may include some aid from scholarship and/or grant funds, as well as an offer of loans or work study funds. Doctoral level students, online-only students, and students seeking a second bachelor’s degree typically receive only loans.

Dibursement Policy: Financial aid for residential undergraduate students is credited/disbursed to student accounts after the drop/add date at the beginning of each term.

Financial aid for all other students, including online undergraduate, graduate, online graduate, and doctoral students is credited to the student's account in two equal disbursements per semester. The first disbursement will be applied after the start of the first class, once attendance and participation is verified. This disbursement covers the cost of tuition, books, fees and any other authorized charges. If this results in excess funds, the Accounting Office has 14 days to issue the funds. You will receive the funds unless the school has been authorized to hold them for a future semester. The second disbursement will be processed at the midpoint of the term, once attendance and participation is again verified. This disbursement will cover the cost of any books, fees, and any other authorized charges remaining after the first disbursement. If this results in excess funds, the Accounting Office has 14 days to issue the funds. You will receive the funds unless the school has been authorized to hold them.

CIU Scholarships and Grants: The Financial Aid Office awards scholarships and grants each year in the order that necessary documents have been received.  A list of CIU Scholarships and Grants can be found on our website. Questions regarding a particular scholarship or grant should be directed to the Financial Aid Office (FAO). All CIU scholarships and grants are awarded in the fall and spring semesters only and are contingent upon continuous, full-time enrollment.

Award Conditions: You must be enrolled full-time in a degree program each semester to be eligible for state and CIU aid. Students must be enrolled at least half-time each semester in a degree program to be eligible for Federal Direct Loans.   However, if eligible for the Federal Pell Grant, you can receive these funds with less than half-time enrollment. Your award for the 2023-2024 academic year may be used only for educational and living expenses during that period. The academic year consists of fall, spring, and summer semesters. All aid received, except Federal Work-Study, will be credited to your student account during the beginning of each semester if you have completed all the necessary paperwork for receiving these funds. Institutional and state awards are renewable for up to eight consecutive semesters of enrollment. Total financial aid (including loans) cannot exceed the total cost of attendance. Combined gift aid from all sources (fed, state, CIU or outside) cannot exceed CIU’s direct cost (tuition, fees, room and board). If combined gift aid exceeds direct costs, institutional aid will be reduced. See the Academic Catalog for complete financial policies and award renewal criteria.

Doctoral Students, Online Only Students, and Non-Degree Seeking Students are not eligible for CIU institutional aid (includes all donor scholarships).

Educational Benefits: Students receiving CIU educational benefits are not eligible for additional CIU scholarships or grants including donor scholarships.

Athletes: Students receiving athletic scholarships will receive a merit scholarship but are NOT eligible for any additional CIU grants and scholarships until they are in their second year of attendance. Athletic scholarships are renewed each year per their Financial Aid Agreement letter with the Athletics Department. If an athlete breaks their Financial Aid Agreement letter, the student is subject to lose their athletic scholarship and will not be re-awarded as a non-athlete until the next school year.

Study Abroad: Study tour hours may not count towards federal, state, or CIU institutional aid eligibility requirements. Students who plan to study abroad for a semester or semesters need to meet with the Financial Aid Office to determine financial aid eligibility for that semester or semesters.

 Continuation of Aid: You need to reapply for financial aid each year after January 1 by completing the FAFSA. If you are not completing a FAFSA, you must contact the Financial Aid Office each year in order to be awarded CIU institutional aid.

Outside Scholarships and Additional Financial Aid

Additional Financial Aid: If you receive additional financial aid from an outside source, which has not been included as part of your award, you must notify the FAO immediately in writing. Additional aid which must be reported includes scholarships, loans, fellowships, tuition remission, vocational rehabilitation, veteran’s benefits, and other educational benefits. Because your eligibility for financial aid is based on the resources you expect to have for your educational expenses, any additional financial aid must be considered.

Award Adjustments: Federal regulations and institutional policy specify that a student may not receive more aid than is determined by the FAFSA to be the student’s eligibility. Additional aid from other sources must be used to reduce your eligibility and may not replace all or a part of the expected family contribution. CIU need-based aid may be recalculated with the addition of outside scholarships. Although additional scholarships may not always increase your total aid, it is to your benefit to apply for and receive scholarship funds because your loan or work study obligation may be reduced. 

Payment of Outside Scholarships: If you are awarded a scholarship or other aid from an organization other than CIU, it is likely that the donor or organization will send the money to CIU for credit to your student account. Please refer the donor or organization to the FAO if there are questions about the payment of your funds.

Status Changes

Reconsideration of Financial Aid Eligibility: Your eligibility for financial aid is determined based on your family’s financial circumstances in 2021. If these financial circumstances have changed significantly since 2021, your eligibility for financial aid for the 2023-2024 academic year may be re-evaluated. Special circumstances taken into consideration for significant financial changes include loss of employment by a parent or spouse, death of a parent or spouse, loss of benefits, large medical expenses, private school tuition, and divorce or separation. Keep in mind that increased aid can be offered only if funds are available. Contact the Financial Aid Office for more details if needed.

Change of Status: Your financial aid award is based on information reported to us about your program of study, state residency, dependency status, educational benefits and whether you will live on or off campus during the school year. If the information is incorrect, you must notify the Financial Aid Office of the changes. If a change in your status results in reduced eligibility for aid, you may be required to repay all or a portion of funds already disbursed to you.

Enrollment Status: Your award is based on the enrollment assumptions listed on the Award Letter. Any change in your course load may require an adjustment. Please notify the Financial Aid Office if your enrollment plans change. CIU offers scholarship or grants based on expected full-time enrollment. Undergraduate students must take 12 or more credit hours and Graduate and Seminary students must take 9 credit hours per fall and spring semester to meet that condition.  A change in enrollment status after funds are disbursed (and before the end of the tuition refund period) may require repayment of all or a portion of your award.

Withdrawal from CIU: If you withdraw (or take a leave of absence) from CIU or drop to less than half-time status during the period of your award or if your registration is canceled, all or a portion of the funds you received must be repaid. The return of funds will be prorated according to your date of withdrawal, course load reduction, or canceled registration. If you withdraw, take a leave of absence, become less than half-time, or cancel enrollment during the first semester of an award, your second semester aid will be canceled. You must request that Financial Aid Office reactivate your financial aid for the spring semester if funding allows. If you have a loan during the enrolled period, or had a loan for a previous enrollment period, you must complete federal loan exit counseling at the time of withdrawal. You may come to the Financial Aid Office before withdrawal or a change of status to discuss the effects of your decision and to learn more about your rights and responsibilities as a student borrower.

Moving Off-Campus: Traditional undergraduate students who are under the age of 23 and who have been granted permission to move off campus may lose up to 50% of their CIU aid.

Academic Progress Policy: Each CIU scholarship and grant awarded has a minimum GPA requirement. In order for a CIU student to retain eligibility for institutional aid, the student must meet the criteria listed on the CIU Scholarships and Grant page. Students who are not meeting federal SAP requirements, cannot receive federal, state or institutional aid. Please review the SAP policy.


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