Financial aid is money that is provided to help bridge the gap between your own resources and the amount of money needed to pay the cost of attending college. The university administers all of the major federal and state grant and loan programs. In addition, Cleveland State University provides university grants and scholarships. Our goal is to help reduce the difference between educational costs related to attendance and the amount that parents and students can reasonably contribute toward the student's education.
The first step in the financial aid process is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). By completing the FAFSA, you are applying for grants and self-help programs (Federal Work-Study and loans). Students must complete the FAFSA and meet all federal eligibility requirements each year in order to be eligible for financial aid. The major sources of financial aid are university scholarships and grants, federal aid programs, state-supported programs, and a number of sponsored scholarships described on our website.
New students will be considered for merit scholarships based on their academic performance and standardized test scores.
Continuing CSU students should complete the CSU continuing student scholarship application found on the web at http://www.csuohio.edu/financial-aid/scholarships-continuing-students.
For a complete listing of scholarship opportunities and application deadlines, please visit the CSU website. If you need in-person assistance, please go to All-in-1 Enrollment Services. You can also call us at 216-687-5411 or visit our website at http://www.csuohio.edu/financial-aid/financial-aid.
Financial Aid Application Process
Students need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the Renewal Application for Federal Aid to determine eligibility for federal, state, and campus-based aid programs. The FAFSA is available each October online at: http://www.fafsa.gov Applications should be completed as soon as possible after October to assure timely processing. A link is provided on our Financial Aid Website: http://www.csuohio.edu/financial-aid/financial-aid. The Cleveland State University Federal code number is 003032.
Students planning to attend CSU should complete the FAFSA or the Renewal FAFSA.
To receive financial aid or a determination of eligibility for financial aid, students must be admitted into a degree-granting program at Cleveland State University. Audited classes are not financial-aid eligible.
Students and parents may be required to submit documentation verifying information reported on the FAFSA. The Financial Aid Office will notify you if additional information is required or if you have been selected for the verification process.
Student Employment Programs
On-Campus Student Employment
All students enrolled at Cleveland State University for at least six credit hours are eligible to participate in the On-Campus Student Employment Program. In a typical academic year, approximately 2,000 student employment opportunities exist throughout the campus. Students employed on campus can earn money to help pay for their education, develop valuable career skills, and have the added convenience of working flexible hours without additional commuting time.
On-Campus student positions are conveniently posted on the student employment link at http://www.csuohio.edu/career-services/campus-student-employment
The Cooperative Education Program provides opportunities for work experiences in a field related to the student's major. Contact the Career Services Center (687-2233) for more information on how to qualify for this program or view the Career Services website at http://www.csuohio.edu/offices/career.
Internships are degree-related work experiences for which academic credit is earned. Internships typically are not compensated employment. To learn more about internship requirements and opportunities in your field, contact your academic adviser or department chair.
Off-Campus Part-time Employment
The Career Services Center is a resource for part-time off-campus job listings. Register with Career Services at http://www.csuohio.edu/career-services/career-services to view job postings.
Off-Campus Full-time Employment
The Career Services Center has a resource of full-time off-campus job listings. Go to the Career Services Center, Rhodes Tower West Room 280 for advice and register with Career Services at http://www.csuohio.edu/career-services/career-services to view job postings.
Definitions of Types of Financial Aid
Scholarships/Grants: Awards that do not require either repayment or any specific service to be performed by the student.
Loans: Money offered with the requirement that it be repaid.
Employment: Money that must be earned through employment.
University Scholarships and Grants
University scholarships and grants are awarded to students in amounts ranging from $100 up to full-tuition.
Students may visit the CSU website to access scholarship opportunities and information about the Honors Program, as well as academic departments, athletics, and the fine arts.
Federal Aid Programs
Federal Pell Grants
This is a federally funded grant program. Eligibility for the Pell Grant is determined from FAFSA information. Amounts vary based on the results of your FAFSA, the expected family contribution (EFC), and your semester credit hour enrollment (e.g., full-time or part-time).
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG)
This is a federally funded grant program established to help students with exceptional financial need meet their educational costs. Eligibility is determined by the Financial Aid Office on the basis of financial need and the availability of funds. Amounts of this grant typically range from $100 to $4,000.
Federal Work-Study Program
This is a federally-funded employment program. Eligibility is determined by the Financial Aid Office on the basis of financial need and the availability of funds.
This award gives students with financial need the opportunity to work on-campus or in a community-service position.
Students are limited to 20 hours of work per week when classes are in session. Students must be enrolled for a minimum of six credit hours to participate in this program. Hourly pay rates vary based on the position.
Federal work-study funds are usually awarded in combination with grant and/or loan funds. The university promotes the idea that a part-time job should complement the student's program of study whenever possible.
Community Service Learning
Community Service Learning is an off-campus Student Employment Program. Eligible CSU students must have a Federal Work Study award to participate in this program. Students participating in the Community Service Learning Program may be placed in positions at non-profit agencies.
Direct Subsidized Student Loan Program
The Direct Subsidized Loan program is a need-based program in which the federal government defers the principal and subsidizes the interest while the student is enrolled for at least six credit hours. Students must complete a FAFSA and a master promissory note. To review the terms and conditions of the loan, the student should visit www.StudentLoans.gov.
The Financial Aid Office certifies a student's eligibility for the loan based on the student meeting all financial aid eligibility requirements. The amount a student may borrow is determined by the student's grade level and the cost of education, minus the expected family contribution and estimated aid.
All first-time borrowers at Cleveland State University must complete debt management counseling prior to the release of loan funds.
Direct Unsubsidized Student Loan Program
This loan program is available to students who may not qualify for the maximum amount of the Subsidized Federal Stafford loan for their grade level.
Interest is charged from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. Students may pay the interest while enrolled in school or allow it to accumulate and be added to the principal amount of the loan.
The loan amounts listed online are the maximum loan limits under the Direct Loan Program. However, students cannot borrow in excess of the cost of education at Cleveland State University minus any eligible financial aid.
Direct PLUS Loan (Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students)
This loan program is for parents of undergraduate students. Eligible parent(s)may borrow up to the cost of education, minus estimated financial aid.
Direct subsidized, unsubsidized, PLUS and private loan proceeds are forwarded directly to the Cleveland State University's Office of Treasury Services.
State Supported Programs
Ohio College Opportunity Grants (OCOG)
The OCOG is a state-funded grant program. Eligibility is determined based on the federal expected family contribution and credit hour enrollment. This grant is also available for part-time degree-seeking students.
Ohio War Orphans Grant
This undergraduate partial tuition grant is awarded on a renewable basis to children of members or former members of the U.S. Armed Services who incurred a disability or died while in service. This program is sponsored through the Ohio Board of Regents.
Each recipient must have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 2.0 by the end of the freshman year and must maintain no less than a 2.0 cumulative grade-point average for each subsequent academic term. The student must also be enrolled for at least 12 credit hours to receive this grant.
National Guard Scholarship Program
The state of Ohio funds this program to assist persons who enlist in the Ohio National Guard for at least six years. Awards cover the cost of instructional and general fees.
Eligible guardsmen should check the Ohio National Guard's website to apply for this program. Applications must be filed by the deadlines posted on their website: http://ong.ohio.gov/scholarship_index.html.
Private scholarship money comes from a variety of sources, including individuals, corporations, professional associations, organizations, alumni, and the university. The wide range of scholarships reflects the varied interests of the donors. The aim of all donors is to provide financial support to help students achieve their academic endeavors at Cleveland State University.
Descriptions of many of the scholarships awarded by the Financial Aid Office are listed on our website at http://www.csuohio.edu/financial-aid/scholarships-3. Awards are subject to change based on the donor's wishes and/or the availability of funds.
Continuing students should complete the continuing student scholarship application available online at http://www.csuohio.edu/financial-aid/scholarships-continuing-students
Scholarship Opportunities for New Freshmen and Transfer Students
Cleveland State University awards scholarships to incoming freshman and transfer students based on academic performance. All admitted incoming freshmen will be automatically considered for academic scholarships. Scholarship notification will begin by November 1, and continue on a funds available basis until May 1. Scholarship notification for incoming transfer students will continue on a funds available basis until funds are exhausted. To find out more about scholarship opportunities for incoming students visit http://www.csuohio.edu/financial-aid/scholarships-3 for a list of awards available for incoming students.
Scholarship/grant recipients must be new, first-time Cleveland State University students enrolled in a degree granting program, pursuing their first Bachelor's Degree and be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen defined by the U.S. Department of Education.
A large number of part-time students support themselves through full-time employment while working toward a degree. Depending on financial circumstances, part-time undergraduate students may qualify for federal, state and/or university financial assistance. Part-time students are encouraged to file the FAFSA.
Grants and loans are available annually provided students maintain the required standards of academic progress and demonstrate financial need. Students must reapply for financial assistance each year.
Previous year aid recipients should file the FAFSA online each year after October 1.
This section defines the components of professional judgment decisions and the guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Education and implemented by the Cleveland State University Financial Aid Office. Professional judgment represents a key element in the student financial assistance delivery system - that is the capacity for personal intervention by the Financial Aid Office in cases that merit individual attention. In these cases, the family's situation is reevaluated. The support the family can reasonably be expected to provide toward the student's educational expenses may be adjusted based on changes in the family's income.
Adjustments to Cost of Attendance
The Cost of Attendance (COA) is set each year based on tuition costs and related educational expenses. The COA is established based on federal guidelines. A student may appeal for an increase in the COA by submitting in writing their request and accompanying documentation supporting their request.
Circumstances that may merit a review include but are not limited to:
- special transportation expenses,
- special expenses related to a disability,
- dependent/elder care,
Documentation of additional or unusual costs will generally consist of signed statements and documentation of the expense. A statement from an individual with specific knowledge of the expense, receipts of purchases, or other items necessary to substantiate the claim should be submitted with the request.
Changes in Dependency Status
A request for a dependency status override is considered by the Appeal Committee for applicants desiring to have their status changed from dependent to independent. The committee will notify students of its determination after the receipt and review of all requested documentation.
Students requesting a dependency override should visit All-in-1 Enrollment Services and meet with a Specialist to review their circumstances. Students will be required to file a petition for a dependency override. The student will be asked to submit third party documentation on official letterhead.
Students will be required to document self-sufficiency and their ability to meet basic living costs. Exceptions to the documentation requirement may be allowed at the discretion of the Appeal Committee, when documented, mitigating circumstances exist. Unusual circumstances must always be explained in writing and corroborated by an outside source (social worker, counselor, other official).
Adjustments to Expected Family Contribution Calculation
The expected family contribution (EFC) may be reviewed upon receipt of the completed Special Circumstance Form (located on our website at http://www.csuohio.edu/financial-aid/financial-aid). Reviews will be conducted by the Appeals Committee. Students will be notified of the results.
Nontaxable income and benefits will be assessed according to the standard methodology or modified as necessary to take into account special circumstances.
Other elements may also be considered when assessing adjustments to the EFC calculation, for special circumstances that fall under one or more of the items below:
- medical/dental expenses not covered by other agency or insurance;
- elementary/secondary school expenses;
- other unusual expenses.
When appropriate, additional supporting documentation required by the Appeal Committee will be verified to be acceptable.
Student Enrollment Changes that Can Reduce Financial Aid Eligibility
There are three types of enrollment changes that can reduce a student's financial aid eligibility after aid has been disbursed. These are:
- dropped courses - the course will not appear on the transcript,
- official withdrawal - withdrawal from all courses in a term (W grade),
- unofficial withdrawal - student does not earn any passing grades (passing grades are defined as an A, B, C, D, T, S) and the student has not withdrawn officially.
NOTE: Enrollment changes may affect a student's eligibility for aid. Before adding or dropping classes, students are strongly encouraged to meet with their academic adviser and All-in-1 Enrollment Services. Students must maintain a minimum of half-time (6 credit hours) in order to maintain Direct and PLUS loan eligibility. For detailed information regarding enrollment changes and the impact on your financial aid, visit the financial aid website at http://www.csuohio.edu/financial-aid/financial-aid
When a course is dropped, the course will not appear on the student's academic transcript. Drops occur during the published drop period.
Regardless of when the course drop occurs, dropping courses can affect the aid types listed below (and may affect others). If the award reduction/return of funds creates a balance owed on the student account, the student will owe a balance to the university.
Federal Pell Grants: Pell grants are based on the student's enrollment status: full-time awards (12 or more hours), three-quarter-time awards (9-11 hours), half-time awards (6-8 hours) and less-than-half-time awards (1-5 hours). If the course drop results in a student no longer being enrolled in sufficient hours for the Federal Pell Grant that he or she received, the Pell Grant must be reduced to match the new enrollment status.
Ohio College Opportunity Grants (OCOG): OCOG grants are based on the student's enrollment status: full-time awards (12 or more hours), three-quarter-time awards (9-11 hours), half-time awards (6-8 hours) and less-than-half-time awards (1-5 hours). The OCOG Grant must be reduced to match the new enrollment status.
Direct and PLUS loans: Students must be enrolled at least half-time (6 or more hours) to be eligible for a Direct or PLUS loan. If the course drop results in a student being enrolled for less than 6 hours, all Direct and PLUS loan funds must be returned to the lender.
SEOG and Federal Work Study: University regulations require that students be enrolled at least half-time (6 or more hours). If the course drop results in a student being enrolled for less than 6 hours, SEOG funds must be returned. All FWS earnings must be transferred to university employment.
Official Withdrawal from the University
When a student requests and receives a "W" in all courses, she or he is considered to have officially withdrawn from the university. Students who withdraw prior to completing 60% of the term have not earned all of their federal financial aid and a Return of Funds calculation must be performed. The unearned portion of the aid (based on the percentage of the term remaining) is returned to the aid program.
For example, if a student completes only 20% of the term, then he or she has failed to earn 80% of the federal financial aid that was disbursed, or could have been disbursed, prior to the withdrawal. If the return of the funds creates a balance due on the student's account, the student will owe a balance to the university.
Unofficial Withdrawal from the University:
Students who stopped attending all of their classes prior to the end of the term and who do not receive ANY earned grades (A, B, C, D, T, S) are considered to be unofficial withdrawals. Fifty percent of the aid used to pay direct educational costs (tuition, fees, room and board) must be returned to the aid program. If the return of the funds creates a balance due on the student's account, the student will owe a balance to the university.
Retroactive Official Withdrawal from the University
If funds have been returned for a student as a result of an unofficial withdrawal, those funds cannot be reinstated, even if the student petitions for and receives a retroactive official withdrawal (all W grades).
Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards
Students must achieve satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward their degree in order to maintain eligibility for most types of financial aid. To maintain SAP students must meet the following three components: grade-point average, completion rate requirement, and maximum time frame for degree completion. Additionally, students must be eligible to continue in their program of study.
Satisfactory academic progress is evaluated at the end of each term for which the student is in attendance. Students who do not meet the grade-point average and completion rate requirements are given one term of financial aid warning. Failure to meet all the requirements (grade-point average, completion rate requirement, and maximum time frame for degree completion) at the end of the warning term will result in loss of federal financial aid, state and institutional need-based financial aid. Students who do not earn their degree within the specified time frame become ineligible for financial aid as soon as they reach the specified maximum time frame for their program of study.
Students may petition to have financial aid reinstated. See Regaining Eligibility and complete the SAP Petition for Financial Aid found at http://www.csuohio.edu/financial-aid/financial-aid-forms.
Grade-Point Average (GPA) Requirements
Undergraduate Students: All undergraduate students must:
- maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 and
- earn a term GPA of not less than 1.0.
Students who fail to maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or receive a GPA below 1.0 for any given term will receive one term of financial aid warning. Students who do not meet the GPA requirements at the end of their warning term are ineligible to continue receiving financial aid.
Graduate Students: All graduate students must:
- maintain a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 and
- remain eligible to continue in their program of study at CSU. Students who are dismissed by the university or by their graduate college are ineligible for federal financial aid for the program from which they were dismissed.
Students who are readmitted to the Graduate School will still have to file a petition to have their aid eligibility determined.
Law Students: All law students must:
- maintain a cumulative grade-point average of 2.0 upon the completion of their first spring semester and all semesters of attendance thereafter, including summer.
Completion Rate Requirement
See Impact of Selected Grades on SAP Requirements regarding the treatment of incomplete grades, withdrawals, the absence of letter grades and the treatment of transfer credits in the measurement of Completion Rate Requirement.
Undergraduate, Graduate and Law:
Students must successfully complete at least two-thirds of their attempted credit hours each term. Successful completion is defined as receiving a grade of A, B, C, D or S.
Multi-term courses, in which a "T" grade is assigned pending completion of the final term, are treated as being successfully completed during the initial term.
Maximum Time Frame for Degree Completion
See Impact of Selected Grades on SAP Requirements regarding the treatment of incomplete grades, withdrawals, the absence of letter grades and the treatment of transfer credits in the measurement of Maximum Time Frame.
Students are ineligible for federal financial aid once they have attempted credit hours that equal or exceed 150% of the credit hours required for their program of study.
Graduate Students: must complete their degrees within the following time frames:
- Six years from the date of entry into the graduate college to complete the master's degree.
- Six years from the date of entry into the doctoral program to complete doctoral studies, if the student entered the program with a master's degree from another university or interrupted his/her studies after completing the master's degree program at Cleveland State University.
- Ten years from the date of entry into the graduate college to complete a doctorate, if the student enrolls consecutively in the master's and doctoral programs without interruption of one academic year following receipt of the master's degree.
- Five years from date of entry into Law College to complete the JD program.
- Six years from date of entry, for students who take more than 43 credit hours as a part-time student, to complete the JD program.
- Eight years from initial matriculation as a dual degree student to complete the JD/MPA, JD/MUPDD, JD/MBA, or JD/MAES program.
Impact of Selected Grades on SAP Requirements
The Financial Aid Office has specific policies defining the effect of incomplete grades, withdrawals, absence of assigned letter grades, and transfer credits in the measurement of completion rate and maximum time frame.
Incomplete Grades: Credit hours in which a student receives an "I" are included in the number of attempted hours but do not count as successfully completed hours.
Withdrawals: Credit hours in which a student receives a grade of "W" are included in the number of attempted hours but do not count as successfully completed hours.
Absence of an assigned letter grade: Credit hours in which a student receives a grade of I, U or W are included in the number of attempted hours, but do not count as successfully completed hours. Multi-term courses, in which a "T" grade is assigned pending completion of the final term, are treated as successfully completed during the initial term.
Transfer credits: Transfer credits are included in the total number of attempted hours for the measurement of maximum time frame.
Repeated hours: Hours for repeated courses and the initial hours for those courses are all included as attempted hours.
Academic Reassessment: The financial aid SAP measurement is always based on the grades and the completion rate of the student's attempted hours, not the adjusted credit total that may result from academic reassessment.
Financial Aid Warning
Those students who were not on financial aid warning but who did not meet the GPA or completion rate requirements will be placed on financial aid warning for their next academic term. Their progress will be measured again at the end of the warning term.
Those students who were on financial aid warning and who did not meet the SAP GPA or completion rate requirements become ineligible for federal financial aid, as well as, for state and institutional need-based financial aid. Such students may complete the SAP Petition for Financial Aid found at http://www.csuohio.edu/financial-aid/financial-aid-forms. If the petition is approved, the student's probationary period will be extended for one term and the student will be eligible to receive financial aid during the extended probationary term.
Loss of Eligibility
Students become ineligible for federal financial aid, as well as for state and institutional need-based financial aid, when:
- they fail to meet the GPA or completion rate requirements at the end of their warning term.
- they have attempted the maximum allowable credit hours for their program of study. (If a student reaches the maximum time frame during an award year, any aid that has been awarded for future terms will be canceled.)
- they are dismissed by the university or their graduate college.
A student who is ineligible for financial aid due to failure to make satisfactory academic progress during the warning term may complete the SAP Petition for Financial Aid found at http://www.csuohio.edu/financial-aid/financial-aid-forms. If the petition is approved, the student's probationary period will be granted for one term and the student will be eligible to receive financial aid during the extended probationary term.
A student who regains eligibility either by meeting the satisfactory academic progress standards or by approval of her/his petition for reinstatement may be eligible for Federal Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Federal Work Study, Federal Direct Loans, and state need-based aid, beginning with the term in which they are determined to be eligible.
A student who has lost eligibility for financial aid, and who later attends school without receiving financial aid,may regain her/his eligibility by meeting the GPA and completion rate requirements as stated in the current Financial Aid SAP Policy.
Petition for Reinstatement of Financial Aid Eligibility
A student who wishes to petition for reinstatement of financial aid eligibility, may submit a written petition to the Financial Aid Office. In order to submit a petition, the student must complete the Petition for Reinstatement of Financial Aid (available http://www.csuohio.edu/financial-aid/financial-aid-forms) and upload documentation, as necessary. Students should clearly explain the mitigating circumstances that contributed to the failure to meet satisfactory academic progress.
Students are encouraged to schedule an appointment to meet with their academic adviser to discuss academic progress and to identify ways to improve their academic performance.
Petitioners will receive a response not more than four weeks after submitting the necessary information. If the petition is denied, the student will be responsible for all charges incurred as a result of the loss of federal and state need-based financial assistance.