Financial Aid

FEDERAL TITLE IV PROGRAMS AVAILABLE

Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service participates in Title IV Federal Assistance, and the purpose is to remove the financial barriers that prevent access to educational opportunities. 

Financial Aid programs available to students are:
FEDERAL PELL GRANT

This is a need-based federal grant designed to assist the student with her/his degree plan. (www.studentaid.gov)

DIRECT SUBSIDIZED LOAN

This is a need-based federal loan available to dependent and independent students.  The amount of eligibility is set by the Department of Education.  Interest on this loan is deferred while in school and during your grace period, which is 6 months after graduation or date of withdrawal.  (www.studentaid.gov)

DIRECT UNSUBSIDIZED LOAN

This is a loan available to independent and dependent students and the amount of eligibility is set by the Department of Education. Interest is charged on any dispersed amount and during the student’s 6-month grace period following graduation or date of withdrawal.  (www.studentaid.gov)

DIRECT PARENT PLUS LOAN

This is a need-based loan available to qualifying parents of dependent students to use for expenses related to cost of attendance not covered by grants and other student aid.  Dependent students whose parents request a Plus loan are eligible to borrow up to the cost of attendance less any other financial assistance received.  This loan is a credit-based loan.  (www.studentaid.gov)

General Information Regarding Federal Loans

  1. All loans are subject to the government’s origination fee as required by the Department of Education regulations.
  2. All loans are subject to interest applied to the principal and are required to be repaid by the student.
  3. Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans have a six-month grace period beginning on your graduation day or date of termination. Repayment starts after the grace period.
  4. Repayment of Parent Plus loans begins once your loan has been fully disbursed (paid out). You may request a deferment while the student is enrolled in the AAS program at least half time.
  5. Defaulting (failure to repay) on loans permits the loan guarantee agency and federal government to take any legal measures to collect the loan, including denial of issuance or renewal of your professional license.
  6. Entrance counseling and a master promissory note are requirements for receiving subsidized and unsubsidized student loans.
  7. Exit counseling prepares you for loan repayment. This is required when you graduate, withdraw, or drop below half time enrollment.

 

RETURN OF UNEARNED TITLE IV FUNDS
  1. 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.
  2. This policy includes students either receiving or eligible to receive federal student assistance authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act.
  3. Title IV includes Pell Grants; Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans; and Parent Plus Loans awarded under the Federal Family Educational Loan programs and Direct Loan Programs.
  4. This policy includes students that withdraw or terminate from Commonwealth Institute after a specific timeframe and/or during the first 60% of any quarter (disbursement period).
  5. Eligible Title IV students not completing the required 60% of any quarter are considered NOT to have earned all the federal assistance awarded during that disbursement period.
  6. The unearned portion will be determined by using the Department of Education’s guidelines and returned to the lending agency according to the prescribed guidelines.
  7. In some cases, the return of unearned Title IV funds to the lending agency will result in the student owing Commonwealth Institute for a portion of the tuition and fees.
  8. Return of unearned Title IV funds also may result in the student owing a refund on unearned Federal assistance to the U.S. Department of Education.

 

ELIGIBILTY

A student is eligible to receive federal assistance if they meet the following criteria:

  1. An applicant must be one of the following: a U.S. citizen or national; a U.S. permanent resident or other eligible noncitizen; or a citizen of the Freely Associated States: the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republics of Palau and the Marshall Islands (These students can only receive aid from some of the FSA programs and do not have an A-number/ARN).
  2. Be enrolled and accepted in the Associate of Applied Science Degree in Funeral Service (Certificate in Funeral Directing students are not eligible for Title IV Funds).
  3. An applicant must demonstrate a financial need for Pell Grants and direct subsidized loans.
  4. An applicant cannot owe an overpayment for previously awarded Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG), or student loans.
  5. An applicant cannot be in default for previously awarded loans.
  6. A student must make SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS as presented in the Academic Policies under GRADING to continue to receive financial assistance. Failure to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress will result in suspension of financial assistance until the student achieves the academic progress standard.
  7. The Law suspends aid eligibility for students convicted under federal or state law of selling or possessing illegal drugs.
  8. If you are a male, aged 18 through 25, you must comply with the Selective Service permission to register by checking a box on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  9. Eligible students must be enrolled at least ½ time.

How To Apply For Federal Financial Assistance / Financial Aid

An applicant, to be considered for Title IV Federal Financial Assistance, must do the following:

  1. The applicant must have been accepted to CIFS as outlined in the admission policies before any financial aid is processed.
  1. Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at the U.S. Department of Education’s web site https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa. Please use CIFS school code 003556 to have application routed to the school.  You must complete the FAFSA using your previous year’s income tax return.
  1. Apply for Financial Assistance using the FAFSA at least four (4) months prior to your scheduled enrollment date.
  1. Allow four to six weeks for the Department of Education’s processing center to process your FAFSA. Once the Department of Education processes your FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) and CIFS will receive an Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR).
  1. If an applicant’s FAFSA is chosen for verification by the U.S. Department of Education, then verification paperwork will be requested by the CIFS Financial Aid Office. Documentation requested should be submitted to the Financial Aid Office within five working days from date of request.
  1. All financial aid documentation and a signed and dated CIFS Award Letter must be completed four weeks prior to the first day of class. If you have not received and accepted the Award Letter, then you will be required to pay your tuition according to the payment plan policy.

Other Financial Assistance

VETERAN BENEFITS

Veterans requesting educational benefits should contact Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service’s Registrar for assistance in obtaining VA benefits.  To ensure that your benefits are available when classes start, the applicant should have all paperwork completed and accepted by the school five months prior to enrollment.  The Veteran is responsible to pay all tuition at the beginning of each quarter.  Benefits are paid directly to the Veteran, after the application and certification process is complete.  Chapter 33 is paid directly to the school.  Veterans missing more than 20 hours of class time within a month or exceed the absenteeism policy as described in the CIFS Catalog will forfeit their benefits according to the VA guidelines.  Veterans taking a Leave of Absence will forfeit their benefits during their leave and will be reinstated upon re-enrollment.  Veterans are required to meet satisfactory progress standards as prescribed in CIFS Catalog to ensure continued benefits.  Failure to do so will also forfeit your benefits.

 

VA REHABILITATION

The applicant must meet the same enrollment requirements as the Veterans benefits.  The applicant must submit their voucher to the Registrar’s Office 60 days prior to enrollment.  Benefits are paid directly to Commonwealth Institute.  Benefits may vary according to the VA guidelines.

 

TEXAS REHABILITATION COMMISSION (TRC)

Applicant must meet the TRC requirements to be eligible for TRC benefits.  Applicant must have TRC voucher approved and presented to the Registrar’s Office 45 days prior to enrollment.  The maximum benefit is $3,000 from TRC.  Any class hours missed by the student will not be covered by TRC.  To be eligible for TRC benefits the applicant must apply through the Department of Education using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid for Pell Grants.  Tuition not covered by TRC or Pell Grants can be paid out of pocket, or if the student is enrolled in the A.A.S. degree they can obtain student loans to cover the additional tuition.  The student is required by TRC to submit a copy of their transcript and attendance to their TRC counselors.

Scholarships

  • R.L. Waltrip Scholarship
  • Dr. George Poston Memorial Scholarship
  • Houston Funeral Directors and Morticians Association Scholarship
  • Houston Metropolitan Funeral Directors Association Scholarship
  • Southeast Texas Funeral Directors Association Scholarship
  • Texas Sales Club Scholarship
  • 100 Black Women of Funeral Service Scholarship
  • Texas Funeral Directors Association Scholarship
  • American Board of Funeral Service Education Scholarship
  • International Conference of Funeral Service Examining Boards NBE Scholarship
  • Various state association scholarships
  • Select Educational Trust Second Career Scholarship
  • SCI Mortuary Science Scholarship

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 $83,027 from the Department pursuant to the Institution’s Certification and Agreement for Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students.

As of December 31, 2021, there has been $62,584 dollars of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act.

There are an estimated 56 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 December 31, 2021, there has been 35 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 or 2020-2021 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 or 2020-2021 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 non-citizen 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.
HEERF Emergency Student Aid Grant Quarterly Reports

 

Refund & Cancellation Policy

CANCELLATION POLICY

A full refund will be made to any student who cancels their enrollment within 72 hours of the first day of the academic term for which the enrollment agreement has been signed.  If a student’s enrollment is cancelled by either the student or the Institute after the first 72 hours, then the school may retain not more than $100 in any administrative fees charged, as well as items of extra expense that are necessary for the portion of the program attended and stated separately on the enrollment agreement.

 

 REFUND POLICY FOR ALL STUDENTS (Campus & Online)

  1. Refund computations will be based on scheduled course time of class attendance through the last date of attendance. Leaves of absence, suspensions, and school holidays will not be counted as part of the scheduled class attendance.
  2. The effective date of termination for refund purposes will be the earliest of the following:
    (a) The last day of attendance, if the student is terminated by the school; or
    (b) The date of receipt of written notice of official withdrawal from the student.
    (c) Ten school days following the last date of attendance.
  3. If tuition and fees are collected in advance of entrance, and if after expiration of the 72-hour cancellation period the student does not enter/start school, then not more than $100 in any administrative fees charged shall be retained by the Institute.
  4. If a student enters a program and withdraws or is otherwise terminated after the cancellation period, then the Institute may retain not more than $100 in any administrative fees charged for the entire program.  The minimum refund of the remaining tuition and fees will be the pro rata portion of tuition, fees, and other charges that the number of hours remaining in the portion of the course or program for which the student has been charged after the effective date of termination bears to the total number of hours in the portion of the course or program for which the student has been charged, except that a student may not collect a refund if the student has completed 75 percent or more of the total number of hours in the portion of the program for which the student has been charged on the effective date of termination.
  5. Refunds for items of extra expense to the student, such as books, tools, or other supplies are to be handled separately from refund of tuition and other academic fees. The student will not be required to purchase instructional supplies, books and tools until such time as these materials are required. Once these materials are purchased, no refund will be made. For full refunds, the school can withhold costs for these types of items from the refund as long as they were necessary for the portion of the program attended and separately stated in the enrollment agreement. Any such items not required for the portion of the program attended must be included in the refund.
  6. A student who withdraws for a reason unrelated to the student’s academic status after the 75 percent completion mark and requests a grade at the time of withdrawal shall be given a grade of “incomplete” and permitted to re-enroll in the course or program during the 12-month period following the date the student withdrew without payment of additional tuition for that portion of the course or program.
  7. A full refund of all tuition and fees is due and refundable in each of the following cases:

a) An enrollee is not accepted by the school;

b) If the course of instruction is discontinued by the school and this prevents the student from completing the course; or

c) If the student’s enrollment was procured as a result of any misrepresentation in advertising, promotional materials of the school, or representations by the owner or representatives of the school.

A full or partial refund may also be due in other circumstances of program deficiencies or violations of requirements for career schools and colleges.

 

REFUND POLICY FOR STUDENTS CALLED TO ACTIVE MILITARY SERVICE (TEC 132.0611)

A student of Commonwealth Institute who withdraws as a result of the student being called to active duty in a military service of the United States or the Texas National Guard may elect one of the following options for each program in which the student is enrolled:

  1. If tuition and fees are collected in advance of the withdrawal, a pro rata refund of any tuition, fees, or other charges paid by the student for the program and a cancellation of any unpaid tuition, fees, or other charges owed by the student for the portion of the program the student does not complete following withdrawal;
  2. A grade of incomplete with the designation “withdrawn-military” for the courses in the program, other than courses for which the student has previously received a grade on the student’s transcript, and the right to re-enroll in the program, or a substantially equivalent program if that program is no longer available, not later than the first anniversary of the date the student is discharged from active military duty without payment of additional tuition, fees, or other charges for the program other than any previously unpaid balance of the original tuition, fees, and charges for books for the program; or
  3. The assignment of an appropriate final grade or credit for the courses in the program, but only if the instructor or instructors of the program determine that the student has:

(a) Satisfactorily completed at least 90 percent of the required coursework for the program; and
(b) Demonstrated sufficient mastery of the program material to receive credit for completing the program.

The payment of any refunds will be totally completed such that the refund instrument has been negotiated or credited into the proper account(s) within 60 days after the effective date of termination.


Request Information

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
Email: information@commonwealth.edu


Campus Hours

Mon-Fri 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM

Lecture Classes
Mon-Thu 8:00 AM – 8:50 AM
Mon-Thu 9:00 AM – 9:50 AM
Mon-Thu 10:00 AM – 10:50 AM
Mon-Thu 11:00 AM – 11:50 AM
Mon-Thu 12:00 PM – 12:50 PM

Embalming Labs
Mon-Thu 1:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Fri – 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM

The dates and times of laboratory sessions are scheduled at the beginning of each quarter.

2022-2023 CATALOG

Are you ready to take the next step toward your funeral service career?