Online and Professional Studies Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions

As you navigate along the road to financial aid, questions may arise. We've attempted to answer many of those questions below. If other questions develop, or if issues arise that require assistance, please do not hesitate to contact the Financial Aid Office for help. For many students, completing the financial aid process in a timely and optimally beneficial manner is as essential an endeavor as they will make during their college experience. Throughout the process we want to assure you that we are here to help.

What is the FAFSA?

 The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the main application for financial aid at CBU. The results of the FAFSA are used to calculate your financial aid award.

Who does the FAFSA go to?

 The FAFSA is submitted to the federal Department of Education. A copy of it will be sent to the schools that you list on the FAFSA.

Do I need to fill out the FAFSA?


 Yes, unless you are paying cash.

How long does the FAFSA take?

 If you submitted the FAFSA online and listed CBU (001125) on it, we will usually receive the results in just a couple of days. It may take a little longer during peak processing season.

Will I receive anything back from the government?

 Yes. The government will send you a SAR (Student Aid Report) that details the results of the FAFSA. Your SAR will contain your EFC (Expected Family Contribution). That is the number that we use to calculate your financial aid award.

What if I or my family (for dependent students) can't contribute the amount of the EFC?

 You are not necessarily expected to contribute the amount of the EFC. CBU will award you everything you are eligible for by using the EFC in our calculation.

When will I receive an award letter?

 You will receive an award letter once you have registered for classes, as long as we have a complete FAFSA on file. If we need further information before we can award you, we will contact you.

My SAR says I am selected for verification. What should I do?

CBU will need tax documents from you. You may contact us immediately to provide the documents, or you may wait for us to notify you that we need them. You will also be required to fill out a Verification Worksheet. We will need your tax transcript (and your parent(s') taxes, if you are a dependent student) that you can order online with the IRS website. We may also need W-2 forms. Please refer to the Financial Aid page on InsideCBU.

How soon do I need to send in taxes?

 As soon as possible. Once school starts, your financial aid will be placed on hold until we receive your tax documents and the Verification Worksheet. Near the end of the semester, your financial aid may be canceled if we have not yet received your documents.

I won't qualify for anything–do I still need to do a FAFSA?

 The FAFSA also determines your eligibility for student loans. Unless you are paying cash, you will need to complete the FAFSA.

What is a Stafford loan?

 A Stafford loan is a government guaranteed student loan that is deferred until you leave school or your enrollment drops below half-time status. There are two types ofStafford loans: subsidized and unsubsidized.

What is the difference between a subsidized and unsubsidized loan?

 The federal government pays the interest on a subsidized loan for you while you are in school. However, the interest on an unsubsidized loan will accrue while you are in school.

Do I have to pay the interest on an unsubsidized loan while I am in school?

 No, you do not have to pay any interest while you are in school. However, you may choose to make payments in an effort to keep the interest down. When you leave school, the accrued interest on the unsubsidized loans will be capitalized (added to the principal). You will then pay interest on the interest that has been capitalized.

What makes a student independent?

 You are independent if you fall into one of these categories:

  • 24 years of age or older

  • Orphan or ward of the court

  • Married

  • Provide at least 50% of the support for a child of your own

  • Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces

 There is a series of questions on the FAFSA that will determine your dependent/independent classification.

I don't qualify to be independent, but I don't live with my parents–do I still need their information for the FAFSA?

 Yes, you will need your parents' information.

When is the FAFSA due?

 The priority deadline for filing your FAFSA is March 2. If you are applying for a Cal Grant from the state ofCalifornia, you MUST file your FAFSA and GPA verification by March 2. If you are not applying for the Cal Grant, you may submit your FAFSA after March 2; just remember that we cannot provide a financial aid award until you do so.

My financial aid is not sufficient. What should I do?

 There are several options to assist you in covering the gap between your charges and your financial aid. You may make a cash payment (this includes checks and credit cards) or sign up for the payment plan. Both of these options may be accomplished by speaking with the Student Accounts Office. Options through the Financial Aid Office include a private education loan or a Parent PLUS loan (for dependent students only). Please visit the Sources of Financial Aid page for more information.

How do I access my award letter?

 You will receive an email notification from the Financial Aid Office once your award letter is ready. Please follow the instructions in the email to access your award letter. If you do not have the email, you may still view your award letter by visiting the My Award link from the Financial Aid page on InsideCBU.

Can I meet with a financial aid counselor?

 You may meet with a financial aid counselor any time you have questions or need assistance. Simply contact our office at (951) 343-4236 or toll-free at (877) 228-8855 to set up an appointment.

Why didn't I receive a subsidized Stafford loan?

 Your eligibility for a subsidized Stafford loan is determined by the results of the FAFSA. The calculation also includes any other grants or scholarships that you may receive.

I reviewed my award letter–what do I do now?

Be sure to follow the instructions on your award letter. If you are accepting Stafford loans, you will need to complete the Master Promissory Note and the Entrance Counseling. Don't forget to submit your acceptance back to us by clicking on the SUBMIT button at the bottom of the award letter.

How can I set up payment arrangements online?

 Payment arrangements can be set up using a Semester Payment through InsideCBU.

What do I need to do to have financial aid next year?

 You will need to submit a new FAFSA to the federal Department of Education after Jan. 1 for the following year. Once you register for classes for the following Fall (usually in early Spring), we will check for your FAFSA. If we need additional information, we will contact you. Unlike your first year, you will receive an award letter only after you've provided any additional documents that we request.