2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog

How to Apply for Financial Assistance

  1. Financial Assistance is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. The priority deadline at Cumberland University is February 1. Students filing applications after that date will be considered on a funds-available basis. The student must apply and be accepted for admission to Cumberland University. All applicants must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA can be completed and submitted on the internet at www.FAFSA.gov. To complete the form, students should refer to their personal and/or parents’ Federal income tax returns for the preceding year. Assistance in completing the forms is available through the Office of Student Financial Services.
  2. Due to changes in Federal guidelines and individual financial status, students must reapply each year.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants for aid under Federal programs such as Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Work-Study, and Federal Direct Loan Program(s) must meet the following criteria:

  1. Students must be a(n) U.S. citizen, national, or permanent residents.
  2. Students must be in a degree-seeking program or seeking teacher certification. 
  3. Students must be enrolled in the equivalent of at least half-time basis for most types of aid. Half-time basis is considered six (6) credit hours over a semester (sixteen weeks) in a regular degree-seeking program. Each student will be awarded based on the eligibility criteria as determined by the type of aid program.
  4. Students may not be in default on any student loan or be obligated to pay a refund to any Federal aid program received at any institution.
  5. An applicant must be an undergraduate student who has not previously received a Bachelor’s degree. Graduate students may apply for financial assistance from the Federal Stafford programs.
  6. An applicant must demonstrate financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  7. Recipients must maintain “satisfactory academic progress” in their chosen course of study. In addition to meeting cumulative GPA requirements, recipients must meet completion rate and maximum time limit for program completion. Please refer to the catalog section Satisfactory Academic Progress for more information.

Financial Assistance Probation

Students who fail to meet any of the satisfactory academic progress standards will be placed on financial assistance warning for their next term of enrollment. Students on academic probation are automatically on financial assistance warning.

A student on financial assistance warning who fails to meet the standards of progress in his/her probation term of enrollment will not be able to receive additional financial assistance until such time as he/she meets the standards for removal from financial assistance probation. All awards are subject to cancellation if the recipient is negligent in performing duties, careless in conduct, or fails to comply fully with the policies of the University.

Students placed on financial assistance probation or removed from financial assistance may appeal that decision to the Director of Student Financial Services. The appeal must be prepared in writing. Reasons for consideration include the following: (1) serious illness or accident to the student (will normally require a medical statement from a physician); or (2) death, serious illness, or injury in the immediate family. Other extenuating circumstances may be acceptable and will be considered by the University.

Financial Assistance Suspension

Students placed on academic suspension are automatically placed on Financial Assistance suspension. Students who appeal to have their academic suspension lifted and the appeal is granted are still not eligible to receive financial assistance until they have completed the minimum of one semester and have achieved academic good standing. Students may appeal their financial assistance suspension. See procedures under Probation.


Determination of type and amount of financial assistance will be made by the Director of Student Financial Services. This determination will take into consideration the applicant’s need as established by need analysis and the programs for which the applicant qualifies.

  1. Students whose financial assistance files are complete before the priority deadline of February 1 will be given priority over those applying after that date.
  2. Qualified applicants receive notice of their award by the Cumberland University Financial Assistance Award Letter. Financial assistance is awarded for the entire academic year, but is subject to rescission if a student fails to meet eligibility criteria for the second semester of the award year.
  3. Students may accept or decline the different sources which encompass their financial assistance package. For those who decline any portion, the University will not replace the source with monies from other programs.
  4. Financial assistance awards are not credited to the student’s account until the student enrolls for the semester(s) for which the award has been made.
  5. Awards of Federal and State monies are subject to funding by the government.
  6. Students who receive Federal money and withdraw from the University may be required to repay part of the Title IV monies.

Return of Federal Financial Assistance

When a student who has received Federal financial assistance (Pell Grants, FSEOG Grants, Federal Perkins Loans, Federal Direct Stafford Loans, or Federal Direct Parent Loans for Undergraduates) fully withdraws from the University, the unearned portion of the aid must be returned to the program. The unearned portion is calculated up to the first 60% of the enrollment period. The calculations are made on a pro-rata basis, based upon the total enrollment period. The Federal government has set the order in which unearned aid must be returned to the programs. Students should note that the requirement to return the unearned portion of Federal financial assistance might leave them owing a balance due to Cumberland University.

The order of distribution for refunds is as follows:

William D. Ford Direct Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans

William D. Ford Direct Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans

William D. Ford Federal Direct PLUS Loans

Federal Pell Grants

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)

Other Title IV aid

Other Federal sources

State, private or institutional aid