Financial Need & Eligibility

Our Financial Aid Office is committed to providing assistance to qualified students who would otherwise be unable to pursue the attainment of their educational and professional goals. Most, but not all, financial aid is based on financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Some types of scholarship aid do not depend on student financial need. “Need” can be defined most simply as the difference between the total cost of attendance and those resources that the student and his or her family are expected to apply toward that cost of attendance. The Financial Aid Office coordinates federal, state, institutional, and private financial assistance programs.

Financial aid funds awarded while attending CIAT are intended to supplement the resources students and their families already have available to them. All aid applications undergo a needs analysis calculation to determine the minimum amount of resources they will need to contribute to the total cost of the student’s education. Students should not expect their total financial need to be met by resources available through student financial aid programs.

Most United States citizens and permanent resident graduate students may qualify for U.S. federal financial aid programs or for aid from the state of California. In order to qualify, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which provides an in-depth analysis of the financial condition of the student and his/her family.

This analysis (done on a yearly basis) determines how much the student/ family is expected to contribute toward the cost of education. This figure is called the “expected family contribution,” or EFC. Parents’ income and asset information is included in the EFC calculation for dependent students. To determine if you are independent from your parents for financial aid, you will need to answer the questions on the FAFSA application.

Determining Financial Need

Financial aid eligibility for need-based aid is determined using the following formula:

Cost of Attendance – Expected Family Contribution = Financial Need

Financial need is the difference between what a family is expected to contribute toward the cost of the education and the actual cost of the education.

For example, if the cost of education is $20,000 per year including both tuition and living expenses in the local area, and the family is expected to contribute $5,000, then the student’s need is $15,000.

The aid students receive from all sources of aid (including non-need based aid) may not exceed their cost of attendance.

Many students may choose only to seek aid for the cost of tuition and fees, since their housing, food, and other basic household costs are supported with ongoing family income.

Independent Student or Dependent Student

You will need to specify on your FAFSA whether you are an independent (self supporting) student or dependent student. This will help to determine your need and eligibility.

If ANY of the following circumstances apply to you, you are an independent student; you will not have to provide parental information. If NONE of the following circumstances apply to you, you will be asked to provide parental information:

  • You are 24 years or older
  • You are married
  • You will be working on a master’s degree
  • You are serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces
  • You are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • You have children, and you provide more than half of their support
  • After you turned age 13, both of your parents were deceased
  • You have dependents (other than children or your spouse) who live with you, and you provide more than half of their support
  • You were in foster care since turning age 13
  • You were a dependent or ward of the court since turning age 13
  • You are currently or you were in legal guardianship
  • You are currently or were an emancipated minor
  • You are homeless or you are at risk of being homeless

Students who claim to be independent may be asked to provide documentation to verify their dependency status prior to receiving financial aid. Students who want to be considered independent due to circumstances other than those listed should contact a financial aid officer prior to completing the FAFSA.

Eligibility for Title IV Aid Programs

CIAT students must meet the following criteria to be eligible for federal or state financial assistance:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • Be enrolled in a program that leads to a degree
  • Not be in default on any loan under the Title IV programs
  • Not owe a refund on any grant under the Title IV programs
  • Demonstrate financial need as determined by the appropriate agency offering the financial assistance
  • Make satisfactory progress toward an educational objective (See “Satisfactory Academic Progress.”)
  • Meet Selective Service requirements
  • Have a high school diploma or recognized equivalent
  • Students who are offered federal loans must sign their MPN (Master Promissory Note) before receiving funds.