Frequently Asked Questions
In the tabs below, you'll find a wealth of information regarding the entirety of the financial aid process, from the initial applications to disbursement schedules, and what qualifies as a special circumstance.
- Applying for Aid
- Verification Process
- Awarding Financial Aid
- Special Circumstances
- Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
- Who should apply for financial aid?
- Do I need to be admitted before I can apply for financial aid?
- Okay! How do I apply?
- Do I need to reapply for financial aid every year?
- Who is eligible to receive financial aid?
- My parent(s) no longer claim me as a Federal tax exemption, and I work to support myself. Can I file my FAFSA as an independent student?
- I am going to get married prior to the fall semester. How do I answer the question that asks if I am married?
- If my parents are divorced, whose information do I need?
- I lived with my mother and step-parent. My mother was not married to my step-parent last year. Am I still required to provide their tax information?
- My parents separated last year. I live with my mother. My parents filed a joint tax return. Do I report both incomes, or just my mother’s?
- My parents have not filed their tax return. Can I still complete the FAFSA?
- What is an Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and how is it used?
- What is a Student Aid Report (SAR)?
- I received a Federal Pell Grant last year, but the Financial Aid Office did not award a Pell Grant this year. Why?
- How do I apply for veteran’s education benefits?
To apply for Federal and State financial aid, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every year. It is recommended to complete the application at the official Student Aid website, found by following this link.
To ensure that CMN receives the results of your FAFSA ad processes your financial aid, you must enter CMN’s Federal School Code: 031251.
Enrolled tribal member students seeking Tribal Education Funding must submit an Indian Scholarship Application along with any other required paperwork to their Tribal Higher Education Office each year they seek aid. Please contact your Tribal Office for deadlines and regulations.
Yes. Financial aid is not automatically renewed or guaranteed from one year to the next. You must reapply for financial aid every year by completing the FAFSA or the Renewal FAFSA. A good way to remember to file for your FAFSA is to file it during tax season.
Program funding is also dependent upon annual appropriations.
For Tribal Higher Education funds, please refer to your tribe.
To qualify for Federal or State aid programs, students must:
- Be an eligible U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States;
- Be a Wisconsin resident for state funds;
- Have a valid Social Security Number;
- Must have a high school diploma or a General Education Development certificate (GED) or a High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED);
- Be accepted, admitted, and be making satisfactory academic progress in an eligible degree program;
- Demonstrate a financial need for programs as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA);
- Be neither in default on a Title IV loan nor owe a repayment on a student grant;
- Have registered for Selective Service, if required to do so;
- Maintain satisfactory academic progress as defined by CMN.
Students admitted as non-degree or special student admission status are not eligible for financial aid.
Federal statue defines the conditions for independent status. Self-sufficiency is not a criterion. Also parent(s)’ unwillingness to provide financial data or to pay for education expenses cannot be recognized as the basis for independence. Currently, an applicant is independent if the individual meets one or more of the following:
- 24 years of age or older by December 31 of the award year;
- Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces or has been a member of the National Guard or Reserves called to active duty for purposes other than training, or was a cadet or midshipman at one of the service academies, or attended a U.S. military academy preparatory school. Must be released under a condition other than dishonorable.
- Working on a master’s or doctorate program during the award year;
- Ward/dependent of the court, or was a ward/dependent of the court until the age 18;
- Has legal dependents other than a spouse;
- A student for whom a financial aid administrator makes a documented determination of independence by reason of other unusual circumstance;
- Legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state;
- Determined to be homeless or an unaccompanied youth by your high school or homeless shelter.
There is a Dependency Appeal process. However, only appeals with well-documented parental estrangement are considered for approval. Being financially independent of your parents does not allow you to be independent for financial aid purposes.
Contact the Financial Aid Office with questions or further instructions.
You cannot project your marital status. You must report marital status as of the date that the FAFSA is filed. If you file the FAFSA as single, then marry, you cannot update the FAFSA by changing the response to “married”. A number of factors must be considered when making the determination of whether to postpone filing until you married. For guidance, contact the Financial Aid Office.
Report the information of the parent with whom you lived the most during the twelve months preceding the date you completed the FAFSA. It does not make a difference which parent claims you as a dependent for tax purposes. If you did not live with either parent or lived equally with each parent, the parental information must be provided for the parent from whom you received the most financial support during the preceding twelve months or the parent from whom you received the most support the last time support was given.
Although it is recommended that you complete the FAFSA with completed tax form information, to meet awarding deadlines, you can estimate. Once the tax form is available, you must correct the FAFSA data that is in error.
Note that financial aid packages based on estimated FAFSA data may not provide an accurate depiction of your overall eligibility for financial assistance.
The Department of Education calculates this number based on your FAFSA information you provided. The EFC is used to determine what you and your family can be expected to contribute to the cost of your college education. The EFC generally stays the same from school to school.
The EFC value determines your eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant as well as eligibility for other need-based programs such as the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG), SMART Grants, and other outside scholarships.
The Student Aid Report (SAR) is a report of the information you provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You should review this information carefully for accuracy. If it is correct, do not send it back (if you received your SAR via postal mail) keep it for your records. If you find incorrect information or you originally used estimated information and need to report actual figures, make your changes on the mailed SAR or online with your PIN on the official Student Aid website. It is important that you read the comments entered on your SAR by the U.S. Department of Education.
Unlike some sources of financial aid, Federal Pell Grants are not awarded by the Financial Aid Office. When a person submits a FAFSA application online, the confirmation page will state an estimated Pell Grant amount if eligible.
Please review the FAFSA result on your Student Aid Report (SAR) with tax documentation and worksheets to determine if the data was provided correctly. If correct, then compare the income, assets, family size, and number in college, marital status, and filing status (dependent or independent) on this year’s SAR to last year’s SAR. This may help you to determine what data has changed.
To apply for veterans' education benefits, or for more information, contact CMN’s Financial Aid Office or
your local county Veterans' Service Office. You can also visit the following Links:
Federal Education Benefits
State-level Education Benefits
CMN's Information for Veterans
Students who apply for veteran’s education benefits will also need to submit the Veteran’s Information Sheet located on CMN’s Veteran Information web page and DD214 to the Financial Aid Office.
- Why was my FAFSA selected to be "verified?"
- What needs to be done after my FAFSA has been selected for verification?
- What happens if there are discrepancies between the FAFSA application and the requested documentation?
- What if I didn't use the IRS data retrieval option when I completed my FAFSA, or I did, but then changed the data?
- What if I've filed an extension?
- What if I filed an Amended Tax Return?
- What if I no longer have copies of my W-2 forms?
- Where do I need to sign?
- What happens after all my documentation and signatures are submitted?
- Tips for Completing the FAFSA & Verification Process
There are several possibilities for your FAFSA being selected for verification. Keep in mind that other possibilities exist, but the following are the most common reasons:
- When completing your FAFSA you did not use the IRS-Data Retrieval process or you did but then subsequently changed the data
- Your FAFSA has incomplete data
- Your FAFSA includes estimated information
- Random selection
The verification process ensures the FAFSA is complete and accurate and allows students who are eligible to receive the aid for which they are entitled. Because there are certain deadlines, it is important that the verification process be completed in a timely manner. Failure to complete verification of your application will prevent you from receiving a financial aid award.
A Verification email will be sent to students along with a verification worksheet and other requested financial documents to be turned into the Financial Aid Office. Students may also log into their My Empower account and view their missing documents in the Financials tab. Complete and print the appropriate forms that pertain to you and if applicable to your parents.
Students who are unable to access this form online may contact the Financial Aid Office (FinancialAid@menominee.edu) or by telephone at 715-799-6226, ext. 3237.
Next, you will need to collect copies of documents requested by our office. These documents include signed Federal Tax Return Transcripts or Copy of Taxes, W-2 Forms, and other documentation as indicated. The type of documents required will vary from student to student. Please make every attempt to complete this process in a timely manner to ensure you receive the best possible financial aid package based on your eligibility.
After you submit all required documents, our Financial Aid Office will compare them with your Student Aid Report (SAR). If errors are found, corrections will be made by our office based on the documentation you provided.
If the errors result in a change in the amount of financial aid that you were awarded, our office will notify you with a revised award showing the changes made.
You may turn in a copy of your taxes, or order a transcript from the official IRS website.
We do not accept a copy of a Tax Account Transcript as it does not contain all the data that is required to complete the verification process.
You can contact your employer to request duplicate copies of your W-2 forms(s). You may also use Form 4506-T to request copies of your W-2 forms that were submitted to the federal government. The W-2 forms are used to verify income earned for non-tax filers, and for individuals/families that had a change in marital status.
Once you have successfully submitted all required documentation and signatures, the data you provided will be verified for accuracy. This process can take up to three weeks, possibly longer if reviewed during periods of high volume.
Should any discrepancies exist, corrections will be made and your financial aid award will be based upon this corrected information.
Please read each question on the FAFSA carefully and answer accurately. After completing the FAFSA and each subsequent correction to the FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) from the Federal Processor. Review the SAR entirely as it will indicate if there are errors that need to be corrected. The SAR will notify you if your application has been selected for Verification. If selected, please submit all documents as soon as possible to the Financial Aid Office. All discrepancies must be verified by our office per Federal guidelines. This may slow down the processing of your application for financial aid. The verification process can take up to several weeks for completion. Below are some tips and information that can be helpful through the process of completing the FAFSA and the verification process.
Information & Tips
- When submitting verification documents to our office, be sure all documents requiring a signature are signed, all worksheets are fully completed (include numerical value or if zero, write zero, do not leave answers blank), and student’s name and ID # are on every document. Submit copies, and keep originals for your own personal records.
- Many times the documentation we receive is not complete. Once reviewed, it may be determined that additional information is required to complete verification. If this is requested of you, please provide it as soon as possible as we process all paperwork in date of receipt order which would delay your aid.
- What is a Financial Aid Award, and how is it determined?
- When would I receive a Financial Aid Award letter?
- Do I have to accept my Financial Aid awards?
- Are there any limitations for funding?
Awards tell you what financial aid programs you are eligible for and how much you can receive from each program. All awards are based on the information you provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Awards are based on financial need and eligibility. You may accept all or parts of your award, which may consist of one or more types of financial aid such as scholarships, grants, and/or federal work-study.
All awards are based on an estimated of the amount of funds available for the current award year and the estimated number of applications. Therefore, all awards are subject to reduction or cancellation if actual funds do not meet estimates.
The Federal Department of Education currently has a 600% limit on what students can receive with Pell Grants. This is equivalent to twelve (12) full-time semesters.
The State has a 10 semester funding limit for their grants.
Contact your Tribal Higher Education Office as to their funding limits. Most Tribal aid have semester or specific dollar amount limits to achieve a degree.
- Where, when, and how will I receive my financial aid?
- Where is my refund check?
- What happens if I withdraw from my classes?
- What are my rights and responsibilities as a student receiving financial aid?
Students are notified of their financial aid eligibility for the academic year via a Financial Aid award letter. All grants are accepted (unless declined) and requested from the appropriate funding agencies.
Students can decline some or all of their grants by accessing MyEmpower, or submitting a written statement to the Financial Aid Office identifying the grants they do not want.
Disbursements of grants and scholarships occur once the Office of Financial Aid confirms the student's enrollment for the semester in the correct credit hours. The Disbursement schedule for Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 is as follows:
Fall Semester 2023
The Financial Aid Office will begin disbursing financial aid into the students' MyEmpower accounts on September 15, 2023. The students' first refund opportunity will occur on September 22, 2023. If no issues exist (i.e., FAFSA Verification or Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) needs to be completed), the disbursement will include Pell and State grants. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) awards and Private Funded Scholarships (PFS) are included in this timeframe. Any subsequent funding will be disbursed weekly throughout the semester for qualifying students and as administratively feasible.
Spring Semester 2023
The Financial Aid Office will begin disbursing financial aid into the student's MyEmpower account on February 9, 2024. The students' first refund opportunity will occur on February 16, 2024. If no issues exist (i.e., FAFSA verification or Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) needs to be completed), the disbursement will include Pell and State grants. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) awards and Private Funded Scholarships are also included in this timeframe. Any subsequent funding will be disbursed weekly throughout the semester for qualifying students and as administratively feasible.
CMN is required to regularly keep track of students per the Attendance Policy (please see Student Rights and Responsibilities). The College verifies attendance before financial aid is disbursed. Before the disbursement date, the College's Financial Aid Office may withhold funds from any student who has yet to attend class.
Late applicants will receive disbursements as they are awarded and enrollment is confirmed. The Financial Aid Manager is responsible for authorizing disbursements within the Empower system. A list is sent to the Records and Billing Coordinator, where the process to disburse funds is initiated in Empower.
Students receiving a refund will be sent an email from the Student Billing Coordinator. The fastest way to get your refunds is to have a direct deposit set up. The Direct Deposit form can be found on our Student Form Library.
If no direct deposit is set up, a check will be sent in the mail.
NOTICE: Please make sure your current address is up to date in MyEmpower. It's the responsibility of the students to check with the Student Billing Office to ensure their bills are paid.
All questions regarding bills, refunds, etc., should be referred to the Student Billing Office at 715-799-5600, ext. 3013.
It is the students’ responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Office of any changes to the information that was provided on the FAFSA application. In addition, any changes to: name, permanent address, and enrollment status. Student responsibility requires compliance with all terms and conditions governing the Financial Aid award.
If you are denied aid or feel that your application should be reconsidered because of special circumstances or events since you filed for your aid, it is possible to appeal in writing. Please refer to CMN Unusual Circumstance Paper Work or set up appointment with the Financial Aid Office to discuss your options.
The College complies with federal and state privacy laws and regulations. The data in your file may be released to financial aid donors, lenders, and university offices needing the information for awarding and advising purposes. No one else may review your file without written consent or a subpoena or court order.
Any additional outside scholarships or financial assistance received may affect your award. You must notify the Financial Aid Office in writing if at any time during the year you receive such an award. This includes vocational rehabilitation support, scholarships from all sources, veteran’s benefits and all aid from outside sources. Failure to notify the Financial Aid Office about outside or direct pay awards may result in Cost of Attendance Issues.
Any intentionally false statements or misrepresentation you make (written or verbal) in any phase of the financial aid process may eliminate you from future consideration for assistance from College of Menominee Nation, and may subject you to a fine or imprisonment or both.
If you or your family has special circumstances such as:
- Unusual medical expenses not covered by insurance,
- Divorce or separation,
- Death of a parent or spouse,
- Loss or change in employment expenses,
- Loss of untaxed income,
- Dependency status (Dependent to Independent)
You are encouraged to discuss these potential circumstances with the Financial Aid Office.
Both of these forms can also be found in the Student Form Library.
- What is "Satisfactory Academic Progress" (SAP)?
- What happens if I don't meet the SAP requirements?
- I passed all my classes this semester and received above a 2.0. Why am I still on financial aid suspension?
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is a requirement for ALL students (whether you receive financial aid or not) based on certain Federal guidelines to ensure you are making progress toward obtaining your degree.
Satisfactory academic progress is measured in three ways:
- Cumulative Grade Point Average
- 67% Completion Ratio
- 150% Maximum Time Frame.
Failure to meet the minimum requirements of this policy can result in a student becoming ineligible for financial aid. Please contact your Academic Success Coach or the Financial Aid Office for further questions.
For a detailed, comprehensive look at our Satisfactory Academic Progress policy, we encourage you to view our complete policy.
Failure to meet the academic progress standards for one semester results in financial aid warning; failure to meet the academic progress standards for two consecutive semesters may result in financial aid suspension.
A student on financial aid suspension is not eligible for Title IV Funds, unless an appeal has been approved.
Return of Title IV Funding & Withdrawal Policies
Federal regulations determine how Federal Student Aid (Title IV) funds are handled when a recipient of those funds withdraws entirely prior to the end of a payment period or period of enrollment. If a student officially withdraws, known as a total withdrawal, before a semester or term has ended, a calculation must be made to determine what portion of the student’s federal aid should be returned. Any student that withdraws prior to 60% of the completion of the semester can expect to have some repayment of funds due.
On behalf of the student, the College of Menominee Nation may be required to send funds back to the federal government based on funds that were unearned, using the students’ last date of attendance. The instructors are required to take attendance at the beginning of class every class period. This is what the financial aid representatives use to determine the students last date of attendance. A student is awarded aid for a semester or term and should that student not complete that semester or term due to a total withdrawal or an unofficial withdrawal some of that aid was not earned and will need to be returned.
The last documented date of attendance is used in the R2T4 calculation when an unofficial withdrawal is determined. You'll find more information on withdrawal dates in the next section.
Per federal regulations, the financial aid office will perform an R2T4 calculation within 30 days of date the institution determines the student withdrew. An institution is required to return any unearned Title IV funds as soon as possible but no later than 45 days after the date of determination of a student’s withdrawal. If the R2T4 Calculation results in an amount to be returned that exceeds the school’s portion, the student may be required to repay funds. If a student meets the criteria for a post withdrawal disbursement (PWD), you will be notified of your eligibility within 30 days from the date the institution determines your date of withdrawal. A PWD is when a student received less title IV aid than the amount earned. A post withdrawal disbursement of any federal grant funds would first be used toward any outstanding charges before any funds are returned to the student. IF a PWD is still needed the grant funds will be disbursed as soon as possible but no later than 45 days after the date the school determines the student withdrew. One final note: any credit balances given to a student’s account due to the R2T4 and Institutional refund calculation will be disbursed as soon as possible and no later than 14 days after the date the calculation was done.
Federal Title IV funds affected include both Federal Pell Grants, and Federal Supplemental Grants. The repayment priority is as follows:
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal Supplemental Grant
- Other Federal Aid Programs
Please Note: State funds are not considered Federal Title IV Funds, but the same R2T4 policies are applied.
To determine the percentage of unearned aid, it’s our policy to use the number of CALENDAR DAYS enrolled in the award period. Using the instructors attendance sheets submitted through Empower, the students last date of attendance is determined. The formulas to determine what amount of unearned Title IV aid are as follows:
Percentage of term in attendance = Calendar days attended up to last date of attendance / total calendar days in terms (Less breaks of 5 consecutive calendar days or more)
Percentage of term not in attendance = 100 – percentage of term in attendance
Unearned Title IV Financial Aid = percentage of the term not in attendance * the amount of Title IV Financial Aid disbursed (or to be disbursed)
The number of calendar days in a full semester or enrollment period is 112 days long.
Last date of attendance is determined from attendance sheets submitted by instructors. For our example we will use a student that attended 28 calendar days and then withdrew.
Percentage term completed = 23/112 = 25%
Percentage of term not in attendance = 100% - 20% = 80%
(Please note the Department of Education rounding rules for R2T4s is to round to three decimal places. (For example, .4486 = .449, or 44.9 %”).
Percentage of term not in attendance = 100% - 25% = 75%
Title IV aid disbursed to student was $1000.00
Unearned Title IV Financial Aid = 75% (.75)
In order to make this determination, the last date the student attended class would be used as their unofficial withdraw date.
Withdrawal is defined as:
- The date the student begins the withdrawal process prescribed by the school, OR...
- The date the student provided the school with official notification of the intent to withdraw, OR...
- The last date of an academically related activity that the student participated in, for a student who does not begin the process or provide notification. Academically related activity includes:
- Physical class attendance where there is direct interaction between instructor and student
- Submission of an academic assignment
- Examination, interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction
- Participation in a study group
- Participation in an online discussion about academic matters
- Initiation of contact with instructor to ask question about academic subject.
All Withdrawals are to be completed with the students Student Achievement Specialists (SAS).
Unofficial withdrawals are defined as students who begin a semester but cease attending classes at some point during the semester/term without officially withdrawing from the College of Menominee Nation.
Within 30 days of the end of the semester, we will determine the date a student unofficially withdrew from CMN using their last date of attendance and calculate the amount of aid, if any, that needs to be returned to the Title IV programs.
If you meet the federal criteria for a post withdrawal disbursement, disbursement of Title IV aid after withdrawal was determined, the student will be notified of their eligibility 30 days from the date the institution determines they withdrew.