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Financial Aid

Financial Aid

Committed to Providing Financial Assistance

Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service is committed to providing financial assistance – for candidates for the Associate of Applied Science degree only – through federal grants, loans, private scholarships, veterans benefits, vocational rehabilitation and other financing options that help students and their families meet their educational goals. However, a student’s financial aid package may not meet his or her full calculated need. It is ultimately the responsibility of all students to be prepared for their financial obligation to Commonwealth Institute, whether from private sources or federal assistance.

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans
  • Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
  • Direct PLUS Loans

Title IV Federal Student Assistance

Application – In order to be considered for TITLE IV Federal Financial Assistance, students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and, if selected for verification, submit the appropriate verification documents to the Financial Aid Office. Students must apply for each award year that they will be enrolled. The FAFSA is available online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The school code for Commonwealth Institute is 003556. Students are considered dependent or independent by their answers to certain questions when they complete the FAFSA.

Once students have completed the FAFSA, they will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). After receiving the SAR, the student should submit it to the Financial Aid Office for advisement. The Financial Aid Office will start a Financial Aid File and begin working on the file as soon as the student has been accepted to Commonwealth Institute. A student’s Financial Aid File must be complete at least six weeks prior to enrollment to ensure that the student will have received an award letter and that funds will be available by the time of enrollment. A complete file includes, but is not limited to, an acceptance letter, a completed FAFSA with a correct EFC, all completed and signed verification documentation, completed loan applications, master promissory note and school certification (if applying for loans).

Eligibility– A student must meet certain criteria to be eligible to receive federal assistance. He or she:  must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen; must be enrolled or accepted in an accredited program (the Certificate in Funeral Directing program at Commonwealth is not accredited); must not owe an overpayment on a Pell Grant or SEOG; must not be in default on a federal student loan; must demonstrate financial need for the Pell Grant and subsidized loans. A student must also be making SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS. Failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress will result in suspension or termination of awarded financial aid until the student has achieved satisfactory academic progression.

The financial aid office at Commonwealth Institute will assist incoming students and answer questions related to financial aid. Once the student has been accepted for enrollment to Commonwealth Institute, the necessary financial aid paperwork will be sent to the student, or the student can apply online. Acceptance to our program is a prerequisite for financial assistance.

Verification
– A student’s Financial Aid Award may be subject to a process called Verification, by either the school or the U.S. Department of Education. If a student’s file is selected for verification, the school will verify that the information that student has provided on the FAFSA is accurate. Verification is done by collecting documentation such as federal tax return transcripts, Verification worksheets and other information deemed necessary by the institution (including, but not limited to, Social Security benefit documentation, divorce decrees or W2 forms).

It is the student’s responsibility to comply with any and all requests by the institution for verification material. The institution will withhold financial aid payments from any student who has not completed the verification requirements within the prescribed deadlines. Students will be required to correct any information that is found to be inconsistent as a result of the verification process. The verification process is not considered to be complete during periods of corrective action. Corrections generally include a recalculation of the student’s EFC, and resubmission through the Central Processor.

Students will forfeit their right to federal assistance for noncompliance with verification policies.

Types of Financial Aid Offered at Commonwealth Institute

Pell Grant: You must qualify for any grant money based on financial need and is determined by federal regulations.  This is grant money and does not have to be paid back by the borrower.  The maximum amount a student can receive is $6,195 per year.

Direct Subsidized Stafford Student Loan:  This is a loan that must be repaid. Students must show a financial need, determined by federal regulations, to receive this loan.  No interest is charged while a student is in school at least half-time, during the grace period and during deferment periods.  The maximum amount for this loan is up to $3,500 per year.  Interest for this loan is fixed at 4.53%.

Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Student Loan: This is loan that must be repaid. This loan is not based on financial need. Interest is charged during all periods to be paid by the borrower.  The maximum amount for this loan is up to $2,000 per year for dependent students and $6,000 for independent students.  Interest for this loan is fixed at 4.53%.

Direct Parent Plus Loan: This is a loan for parents of dependent students only.  The maximum amount for this loan is up to the cost of attendance.  Interest for this loan is fixed at 7.08%.

All loans are subject to a loan origination fee, insurance premium and interest on the principal. The subsidized and unsubsidized loans have a six-month grace period until repayment begins. Failure to return from a leave of absence may affect the grace period. Repayment begins six weeks after the last disbursement on the plus loan. Defaulting (failure to repay) on the loans permits the guarantee agency and the federal government to take all legal measures to collect the loan including possible denial of issuance or renewal of a vocational license in your chosen profession. Students who have defaulted on a prior student loan or owe an over-payment on a Pell Grant or SEOG are not eligible to receive federal financial aid until their default or over-payment is cleared. Entrance and exit interviews are a requirement for subsidized and unsubsidized student loans.

Return of Unearned Title IV Funds

Federal regulations state that students may forfeit a portion of their federal student financial assistance if they fail to complete the program of study in which they were enrolled. This policy affects students who received or were eligible to receive federal student financial assistance authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act, such as Pell Grant and Stafford or Plus loans awarded under the Direct Loan programs, and who withdrew or were terminated from Commonwealth Institute on or after October 7, 2000, during the first 60% of any payment period (quarter).

Eligible Title IV aid recipients who fail to complete over 60% of a payment period are considered NOT to have earned all the federal aid that may have previously been awarded for that payment period. Accordingly, a required calculation will be performed to determine the portion of the unearned federal student aid that must be returned to the U.S. Department of Education. This calculation will be done before a tuition refund calculation is performed in accordance with the institution’s refund policy. In many cases, the Return of Unearned Title IV Funds calculation will result in the student owing tuition and fees to the institution that would otherwise have been paid with federal student aid. This policy may also result in the student owing a refund of unearned federal aid to the Department of Education.

VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION — Each state has a division of vocational and educational services operating in conjunction with the Department of Education offering aid to qualified applicants. Eligible persons must contact their respective state vocational rehabilitation office to determine sponsorship. Following counseling with the appropriate agency, the counselor must submit a purchase voucher to the college prior to the enrollment of the student.

VETERANS BENEFITS — The Associate of Applied Science Degree at Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service is approved for those individuals who wish to attend the college and receive benefits under the Veterans Educational Benefits Programs.

Students planning to attend with the aid of veterans benefits should inquire at the Office of Veterans Service prior to enrollment to obtain the necessary information relative to enrollment. The college should be contacted and informed of the intention of using veterans benefits. All completed forms must be returned to the Registrar’s Office at Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service.

The college will send all necessary forms to the Veterans Service office at least 45 days prior to enrollment, provided the applicant has been accepted for enrollment. All students attending under the Veterans Educational Benefits Program must furnish the college with a copy of your Form DD-2 14.

SCHOLARSHIPS – There will be several scholarship opportunities for students once they are enrolled.  Many of the scholarships are based on academic progress.  These scholarships will be announced to the students once they become available. They range from $250 to $1,500 per award.

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Financial Aid Exit Counseling

If you have received a subsidized, unsubsidized or PLUS loan under the Direct Loan Program or the FFEL Program, you must complete exit counseling each time you:

  • Drop below half-time enrollment
  • Graduate
  • Leave school

Please visit studentloans.gov to complete this action.

Financial Literacy

Learn more about financial literacy by visiting studentaid.ed.gov/sa/resources.

HEERF Emergency Student Aid Grant under CARES Act

Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service has signed and returned to the Department of Education the Certification and Agreement and we assure that the Institute intends to use no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service has received $32,045 from the Department pursuant to the Institution’s Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.

As of June 1, 2020, there has been $32,045 dollars of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

There are an estimated 49 students at the Institution eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

As of June 1, 2020, there has been 29 students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

The method used to determine student eligibility will be determined by their ability to receive federal student aid and their EFC.  Students with 2019-2020 FAFSA with an EFC below 5576 will be eligible for aid up to $1,154 and EFC above 5576 will be eligible for aid up to $957.

All in session Associate of Applied Science, federal aid eligible students will be offered the opportunity to apply for the grant via an application that they can receive from Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service by emailing us at information@commonwealth.edu.  See note below about who is a federal aid eligible student.

Below are specific CARES Act Emergency Grant requirements:

  • Current Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service enrolled, in-session Associate of Applied Science student.
  • Must be either an eligible U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen who is eligible for Title IV funding*.
  • Students who have or can demonstrate financial need or hardship caused by or because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Students who submitted a FAFSA for the 2019-2020 school year and who are eligible for Title IV funding*.
  • Students who are not in default on a federal student loan.
  • Students who have completed a CARES Act Emergency Grant Application.

In accordance with the CARES Act, granted funds must go directly to students.  If you have questions or need financial assistance, please contact us at 281-873-0262 or information@commonwealth.edu.

To be eligible to receive federal student aid (Title IV Funding), you must:

  • Be a citizen or eligible noncitizen of the United States.
  • Have a valid Social Security Number. (Students from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau are exempt from this requirement.)
  • Have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate or have completed homeschooling. If you don’t, you may still be eligible for federal student aid if you were enrolled in college or career school prior to July 1, 2012. Go to https://studentaid.ed.gov/eligibility/basic-criteriafor additional information.
  • Be enrolled in an eligible program as a regular student seeking a degree.
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress.
  • Not owe a refund on a federal student grant or be in default on a federal student loan.
  • Register (or already be registered) with the Selective Service System, if you are a male and not currently on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces. (Students from the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau are exempt from registering; see https://sss.govfor more information.)
  • Not have a conviction for the possession or sale of illegal drugs for an offense that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid (such as grants, work-study, or loans). If you have such a conviction, you must complete the Student Aid Eligibility Worksheet to determine if you are eligible for aid or partially eligible for aid.

Main Campus

Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service
415 Barren Springs Drive
Houston, Texas 77090
Office Telephone: (281) 873-0262
Toll Free: (800) 628-1580
Fax: (281) 873-5232
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