CWI helps connect students to financial aid from a number of different sources, primarily federal, state, institutional, and other outside assistance. Financial aid application assistance and advising services are available at any of the CWI One Stop Student Services locations throughout the Treasure Valley.
Applying for Financial Aid
Students applying for federal financial aid must be admitted as regular students working toward an eligible degree or certificate at CWI. Completing an application for admission and any admission requirements as soon as possible will help expedite the financial aid application process.
In addition to federal student aid, CWI coordinates and distributes student aid from the State of Idaho as well as institutional funding and funding from a variety of outside sources.
All students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at www.fafsa.gov. CWI’s Federal School Code is 042118. Continuing students should reapply each academic year by completing a FAFSA online (the application is available beginning in October). Early applications receive priority consideration.
Residents of the State of Idaho may also be eligible for a variety of scholarships or grants offered by the Idaho State Board of Education. All Idaho residents should complete the FAFSA application AND apply for Idaho scholarships through the Idaho State Board of Education. CWI distributes scholarships to students determined to be eligible by the State Board of Education and to those who meet eligibility criteria set by the Idaho Legislature for campus-based programs.
CWI may offer tuition waivers and/or scholarships to students participating in school clubs, organizations, and other activities identified by CWI. Application information, when available, will be posted online at www.cwidaho.cc.
College of Western Idaho (CWI) Foundation
The CWI Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that exists to secure private philanthropic support for the College and has a variety of scholarships for CWI students from donors in the community. Application information, when available, will be posted on the CWI Grants & Scholarships webpage.
There are many other sources of financial aid available through private foundations, companies, service clubs, or other organizations that are not directly managed by CWI. All students should seek out and apply for any source of financial assistance available. CWI encourages all students to apply for outside scholarships by contacting each organization individually. Scholarship deadlines vary; information on a few external scholarships are posted on the CWI Grants & Scholarships webpage.
Types of Financial Aid Available
Most CWI students receive some combination of grants, scholarships, tuition waivers, work programs, and student loans. The type of aid received may depend on financial need determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
The need-analysis formula, established by Congress to evaluate the information reported on the FAFSA application, produces a number called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is sent both to the student (in the Student Aid Report - SAR) and to CWI by the U.S. Department of Education when CWI’s school code is listed on the FAFSA.
Students are considered for all types of federal financial aid when they apply. A student may always accept, reduce, or reject any type of financial aid offered.
Grants are awards that are almost always offered to students with financial need. Unlike student loans, grants do not have to be repaid under most circumstances. CWI will attempt to find as many grants as possible before other types of financial aid are offered. Not all students are eligible for need-based grants.
There are three different types of federal grants available at CWI: Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), and the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. Pell Grant eligibility is determined by the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as calculated on the FAFSA. The FSEOG may also be available for Pell eligible students, on a first-come, first-serve basis. The Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant (IASG) has separate eligibility requirements for students whose parent(s) served in the Armed Forces. Additional information on federal grants can be found on the CWI Grants and Scholarships webpage.
Scholarships are gift aid that can be based on academic achievement, particular skills, talents, abilities, or interests, and may or may not have a financial need requirement. Like grants, most scholarships do not have to be repaid. Scholarship deadlines vary; for the most current information on a select group of posted scholarships, please review the CWI Grants and Scholarships webpage.
Tuition and Fee Waivers
Tuition/fee waiver means that a portion or all of the tuition charges have been covered by the waiver. Tuition/fee waivers cannot exceed the actual tuition/fees charged.
Work programs such as work-study are need-based awards that allow students to earn wages through employment opportunities. If eligible for work-study, a student can work part time (up to 19 hours a week) to earn money to help meet the costs of education. In order to be eligible for a work-study award, students must demonstrate financial need, meet all application deadlines, be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, and enroll in at least one course each semester. Additional information about the work-study program can be found here.
Student loans, unlike grants, scholarships, and work-study, are borrowed funds that MUST be repaid with interest. Several different types of loans, both need-based and non-need-based, are available to CWI students and their parents.
Important: Before accepting a student loan, please consider the amount to be repaid. CWI recommends reading the U.S. Department of Education’s publication, Your Federal Loans: Learn the Basics and Manage Your Debt, which is available here.
Eligibility for Financial Aid
Three components are used to determine eligibility for financial aid: Cost of Attendance (COA), Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and Financial Need.
- Cost of Attendance (COA)
The COA is constructed using averages for CWI’s student population and may include some or all of the following: tuition, fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation, dependent-care expenses (if applicable), loan-origination fees (if applicable), and personal allowance.
A student’s COA takes into consideration their permanent address (state of residency), housing plans while in school, and enrollment status (the number of credits enrolled in each semester). CWI uses standardized amounts or calculations for each of these items and customizes each student’s COA according to the factors described above. More information on the COA can be found here.
- Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
A student’s EFC is computed by the U.S. Department of Education using the information provided on the FAFSA application and appears on the Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR is delivered by e-mail if an e-mail address was included on the FAFSA.
Important: A student’s EFC may not reflect your actual out-of-pocket expenses; it is a mathematical tool based on a standardized formula used by the U.S. Department of Education to calculate your financial aid eligibility.
- Financial Need
A student’s original Financial Need is determined by subtracting EFC from COA.
If Cost of Attendance (COA) is $13,900
and Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is $1,000
Financial Need is $13,900 - $1,000 = $12,900
The Net Price Calculator is a resource for students and parents that can provide a preliminary estimate of federal, state, and institutional aid eligibility; to help families gauge what aid the student may be awarded; and to make arrangements to cover the cost of attendance. You can access the Net Price Calculator here.
With the above information, CWI will determine a student’s eligibility for a Federal Pell Grant first and then attempt to locate other forms of financial aid to meet the remaining unmet need (if any exists). Student loans are always considered last.
After completing the FAFSA application and all documentation requirements students will receive an email directing them to their award notification in myCWI (www.mycwi.cc). The Award Notification will contain the Cost of Attendance, the Expected Family Contribution, and the financial aid awards for which a student is eligible. More information on the Award Notification can be found here. By accepting and completing the requirements to receive a Federal Student Loan or Parent PLUS loan, you understand that loan information is submitted to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) which is a system accessible by guaranty agencies, lenders, and schools determined to be authorized users.
Important: Eligibility for most financial aid awards, including award amounts, is determined in part by enrollment status. Awards are adjusted or prorated according to the rules for each award at the start of each semester. Financial aid applicants should always register for classes as early as possible in order to allow for adequate time to make adjustments (if necessary). Making changes to a class schedule after the fifth day of instruction (second day in the summer semester) may cause delays in delivering financial aid while required adjustments are made.
Financial Aid Disbursements
Once the FAFSA application is complete, all required documentation has been submitted, and an award notification is issued, financial aid awards will appear on myCWI for the student’s review. Students can accept, reject, or reduce aid amounts in myCWI. Students accepting any offer of financial aid from CWI agree to accept and fulfill all of the terms and conditions set by federal, state, and college regulation/policy as described in the Financial Aid Terms and Conditions.
Every CWI student has a student account. When a student registers for classes, the student’s account is charged for tuition, fees, and special course fees (if any). Students receiving a potential refund of financial aid can purchase books at the campus bookstore prior to the semester start using their estimated financial aid. Charges for books are added to the student account and paid when financial aid is disbursed.
Each semester, instructors are asked to confirm a student began attendance in each class electronically. Students marked as never attended and subsequently dropped from courses will have their aid adjusted accordingly.
Accepted financial aid for which all requirements have been met will be released to students’ accounts on the census date each semester. The census date is the tenth day of instruction in fall and spring semesters and the fifth day of instruction in the summer semester. If financial aid funds exceed the amount owed to CWI, a refund will be made available to the student after the census date1.
Note: Some courses and/or programs may have their own census dates which differ from the semester census dates and may change the date of disbursement and refund. Other conditions may also exist which may change the date of disbursement and/or refund. Refer to Disbursements and Refunds for more information.
Important: Financial aid awards will be “locked” each semester on the census day (tenth day of instruction, fifth day of instruction in the summer) prior to the calculation of any refund for classes. Adding and/or dropping classes after the fifth day of instruction (second day in the summer) may cause a change in aid offered and/or delayed delivery of a financial aid refund. Be sure to add/drop any classes necessary as early as possible each semester.
Financial aid funds are used first to pay direct institutional costs (tuition, fees, and other institutional charges). If financial aid funds are less than the amount owed to CWI for tuition, fees, and other institutional charges, payment or satisfactory payment arrangements are expected by the payment due date published in the academic calendar each semester. If financial aid funds exceed the amount owed to CWI for tuition, fees, and other institutional charges (including bookstore charges), a refund will be issued.
Returning Financial Aid
A student has the right to cancel all or a portion of their student loan(s) within 14 days from the disbursement date. The funds MUST be returned (do not void check) to a CWI One Stop Student Services location within 14 days of the disbursement date.
Withdrawal, Refunds, and Repayments
Federal regulations (CFR 668.22) indicate that students who receive federal financial aid may be required to repay federal financial aid funds if they drop, completely withdraw, are administratively withdrawn, or fail to earn a passing grade from all classes during any semester or fail to complete the enrollment period for which they were registered.
If a student must drop a class at any point during a semester:
Students should consult with their Academic Advisor first. If both the student and advisor agree that it is in the student’s best interest to drop a class, an official Withdrawal Form (paper) must be completed. Students can withdraw from all but one class online, necessitating the paper form to withdraw from all classes. Classes may be dropped any time prior to the census date (see the academic calendar for specific dates) for a full refund of tuition and fees. Financial aid will be adjusted to a student’s enrollment status as of census.
Please Note: Some courses have their own census date and financial aid may be adjusted for these courses when a student fails to begin attendance or cannot progress to the next course based on performance in a prerequisite course.
If a student must drop a class after the census date:
Dropping a class after the census date may result in a student not meeting the satisfactory progress standards. A student not meeting the satisfactory progress standard may receive a financial aid suspension notification (please see Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress [SAP] section). Be sure to read this notification carefully! It contains important information about what to do next.
If a student withdraws or fails to complete a semester:
A complete withdrawal, unsatisfactory grades in all courses, or failing to attend the full period of enrollment may result in a student being required to repay some or all of the financial aid received to CWI, the U.S. Department of Education, or both. A student will also receive written notification concerning options once the withdrawal process and evaluation of aid earned is completed. If a student fails to officially withdraw, CWI will communicate with instructors in order to determine a student’s last date of attendance and may use that date or the midpoint of the enrollment period to calculate the amount of financial aid earned.
Please carefully read any correspondence received in reference to the withdrawal process and evaluation of aid earned. CWI may be required to report overpayments of federal grants to the U.S. Department of Education’s Collection unit if no repayment arrangements are made within 45 days of being notified. Please refer to Return to Title IV Funds Procedures for additional information.
Important: A class drop, withdrawal, or administrative withdrawal may affect a student’s ability to receive financial aid in the future at any college or university.
Sometimes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) does not adequately reflect a family’s current situation due to special circumstances such as death, divorce or separation, disability, unusually high medical expenses paid out of pocket, reduction of income, loss of employment, etc. If a student or a student’s parents have experienced any of the above situations, please consult with a CWI Financial Aid Advisor at a One Stop Student Services location about the possibility of filing a Special-Circumstances Appeal.