Financial Aid

Table of Contents

Know where you want to go in the future, but unsure whether you can afford to get there? With the right financial aid and scholarships, finances don’t have to be an obstacle to your education.

At the Financial Aid Office, every opportunity for financial aid is explored for Cleveland State Community College students. From grants and scholarships to work-study programs and loans, the Financial Aid Office aids students in meeting their educational goals. Students are awarded assistance and scholarships based on financial need and/or academic achievement. To determine a student’s need, the Financial Aid Office asks students to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which analyzes the student’s financial status and/or the income of the student’s parents.

Financial need is determined by subtracting the expected family contribution and other received assistance from the total cost of attendance.

Application Process

Excited about the possibility of financial aid? We’re here to help every step of the way. To get started, review the steps below and contact us with any questions or concerns you have.

  • As soon as possible after October 1, electronically submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine financial need. (Print copies of everything you submit.)
  • Submit verifying documents as requested by the Financial Aid Office.
  • If you’ve not been accepted for admission at Cleveland State Community College, complete the steps for admission. If you do not declare a major, or you are listed as non-degree seeking or transient student, you are not eligible for financial aid. Please contact the Enrollment Services Center to ask about changing your status if you are in need of financial aid.
  • Mid-year transfer students should inform the Financial Aid Office at your current school of your intentions to transfer to CSCC.
  • Financial aid at your current school must be canceled before aid can be disbursed at CSCC.
  • Meet Cleveland State’s satisfactory academic progress standards (see catalog) for financial aid recipients.
  • A parent who wishes to apply for a PLUS loan for a dependent student should contact the Financial Aid Office.

Financial Aid Forms

Financial Aid Application (FAFSA)
All other Financial Aid Forms can be found by logging in to CougarNet and clicking on the “Financial Aid” tab.

How to Apply

If you’ve been accepted to Cleveland State Community College, congratulations! Your life is about to change for the better! Financial assistance is available for those who need it, and our Financial Aid Office will gladly assist you in the process. Read on to find out how to make your school experience more affordable.

Apply for financial aid as soon as possible after October 1. When applying, use your (and your parents’ if applicable) federal income tax return or estimated federal income tax information. If you qualify, you and your parents may use the IRS Data Retrieval tool in the FAFSA.

Apply for an FSA ID at If you’re a dependent student, your parent(s) should also apply to sign the FAFSA. Complete the FAFSA application at Cleveland State’s federal code is 003999.

After applying, you’ll receive a Student Aid Report/Acknowledgement. Review your answers to ensure they’re correct.

You can also complete additional applications for scholarships. We award students more than $5 million in financial aid each academic year, and nearly half of our students receive some form of aid, which comes from the following:

  • Institutional and private sources, such as foundation opportunities and academic service scholarships
  • Federal student aid, including grants, federal work study and direct loans (subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans and federal PLUS loans)
  • State student aid, including the Tennessee Student Assistance Award, Tennessee Promise Scholarship, Tennessee State Education Lottery Scholarship Programs and the Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship.

Special & Unusual Circumstances

Financial Aid FAQs

Got a question about financial aid? We’ve got answers!

What form do I use to apply for financial aid?

First, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You and your parent, if applicable, may sign the FAFSA with a Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID). See Scholarship Opportunities for institutional applications for other scholarships.

When do I apply?

For the best chance at receiving financial aid, apply as soon as possible after October 1.

What is Cleveland State Community College’s Title IV School Code?


How long after I apply for financial aid can I expect to receive a response from the processor?

After your application or correction is successfully submitted, you’ll receive a confirmation page with a confirmation number. This number is proof that your application or correction was successfully submitted. Print your confirmation page for your records, or if you provide an email address on your application or correction, you can have the confirmation page emailed to you.

After submitting your FAFSA, you’ll receive a student aid report (SAR). If you provide your email address, you’ll receive an email, within five days, which will include instructions on how to access an online copy of your SAR. Don’t provide an email address, and your SAR will be mailed to you via postal mail within 10 days. The colleges you list on your FAFSA will receive your information electronically as soon as it’s processed.

If your application is complete, an expected family contribution (EFC) will display on your SAR. If your application is incomplete, your SAR won’t include an EFC, but it will list any issues that need to be resolved.

If your FAFSA is incomplete:
Make a mistake on your FAFSA? Fix it by clicking Start Here on the home page to log in to FAFSA on the Web. Click Make FAFSA Corrections, enter your FSA ID, add or correct the information that caused your FAFSA to be incomplete and submit your corrections. Or you can add or correct information on your paper SAR, sign it and mail it to the address provided.

If your FAFSA is complete:
The EFC that displays on your SAR is a calculation based on information you reported on your FAFSA. Your college uses the EFC to determine the amount of federal grants, loans and work-study for which you may be eligible. Contrary to what some think, your EFC is not the amount of money your family will have to pay for college, nor is it the amount of federal student aid you’ll receive. Rather, it is a number used by CSCC to calculate the amount of federal student aid you’re eligible to receive.

Your school, your state or federal student aid workers may ask you to verify the accuracy of the information you provide on your FAFSA.

What is verification?

The U.S. Department of Education selects students’ SARs for verification of information submitted on the FAFSA. Also, the Financial Aid Office may select SARs for verification. If this occurs, the Financial Aid Office will notify you via CougarNet of the need to supply documentation to verify information on your SAR.

Do I have to be a full-time student to receive financial aid?

No. However, you won’t be eligible for as much aid as full-time students. (Students with higher EFCs may not be eligible at a lower enrollment status.) To receive a loan, you must be enrolled in a minimum of six credit hours.

When can I expect financial aid funds to be available?

If you return the required paperwork by the deadline, your tuition and fees will be charged to your financial aid. If there are remaining funds, you may choose to have the credit balance deposited to your bank account; otherwise, the Business Office will mail a paper check to your address on record. Refunds will be available after the 14th day of classes, provided you have attended all your classes for the first time and your instructors have verified your attendance.

Is it too late to apply for financial aid?

Of course not! In fact, it’s never too late to apply for financial aid. If you file late and your information is not received by the Financial Aid Office until after the deadline date, you will have to pay for your credit hours initially. Once you receive financial aid, you will be reimbursed.

How will COVID-19 Coronavirus effect my financial aid?
How will I know if I can receive financial aid?

After the financial aid process is complete, a notification of award is mailed to you at the address on file with the Admission & Records Office, and your award appears on your CougarNet Account.

If I am transferring to Cleveland State, will my financial aid transfer too?

If you transfer to Cleveland State, your financial aid does not automatically transfer with you. You must follow the procedures necessary to continue receiving financial aid at Cleveland State. Contact the Financial Aid Office for complete details.

Can I receive financial aid for summer classes?

Yes, you may be eligible for financial aid during summer classes. Eligibility is determined by the Financial Aid Office. You will be notified of your award amount for the summer semester.

Is my financial aid automatically renewed each year?

Renewal of financial aid is not automatic. Students must file a FAFSA each year and demonstrate satisfactory progress.

What is satisfactory progress?

Satisfactory progress is attending classes, maintaining a 2.0 GPA or higher, passing a minimum number of hours during the academic semester and attempting no more than 90 of the hours required to complete a degree or 150 percent of the hours required to complete a certificate.