Financial Aid Guide

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Financial Aid


ou’ve reached one of the most important and exciting times of life: college. But if you’re like most students, you may have some questions and concerns about how you'll finance your college experience. This guide contains information to help familiarize you with common terminology associated with financial aid, what sources of financial aid are available to you, and how to apply for financial aid. We hope this helps you and your family make wise financial aid decisions and feel confident about your next steps with Cumberland University.


Feel free to call, email or stop by our office if you need additional information or have questions. Sincerely, The Office of Financial Aid

YOUR FUTURE should not be limited by the cost of your education. You have options for financing your education, and we're here to aid your decision.

WHAT IS FINANCIAL AID? Financial aid is money to help you pay for educationally-related expenses. Aid can be loans, part-time employment, grants or scholarships, and can come from federal, state, institutional or private agencies. You can combine these types of aid to help offset the costs of your education.

Financial Aid Student Glossary There are several terms you will hear throughout the financial aid process.To help prepare you for those important conversations and decisions we've compiled a list of terms you will want to know.

CREDIT HOUR The unit of measuring educational credit. A typical class counts as three credit hours and most bachelor's degrees require 120 credit hours. To graduate in four years you will need 30 credit hours per academic year.

TUITION Money that is paid to Cumberland for the opportunity to study at CU. Tuition is charged by the credit hour.

FEES Money paid in addition to tuition, such as laboratory fees, online course access fees, and program service fees. Your fees may vary according to your major and the classes you're taking.

ROOM & BOARD Money paid for on-campus housing and meals. These costs will vary according to the residence hall and meal plan you choose.

PART-TIME ENROLLMENT Taking fewer than 12 credit hours each semester

FULL-TIME ENROLLMENT Taking 12 or more credit hours each semester

FREE APPLICATION FOR FEDERAL STUDENT AID (FAFSA) To apply for federal student aid, such as federal grants, work-study, and loans, you need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Completing and submitting the FAFSA is free, and it gives you access to the largest source of financial aid to pay for college. Your FAFSA helps us to determine your eligibility for state and school aid. Visit to get started.

FINANCIAL NEED The difference between how much it costs to attend CU and your family's expected contribution towards those costs.

COST OF ATTENDANCE (COA) The cost of attendance (COA) includes your tuition, fees, housing, meals, books, transportation and personal costs to attend CU.

EXPECTED FAMILY CONTRIBUTION (EFC) An estimate of you and your parent(s)' or guardian(s)' ability to pay the costs of a year of college. The (EFC) is used in the United States student financial aid process to determine your eligibility for need-based federal student aid. In most cases, the same estimate is also used for state and institutional (college-based) financial aid. The EFC is included on the Student Aid Report and Institutional Student Information Record, which are sent after filing your FAFSA.

NEED-BASED FINANCIAL AID State or federal financial aid you may receive if your family's financial resources won't cover your educational costs.

NON-NEED-BASED FINANCIAL AID Financial aid made available to you regardless of your family's financial resources.



Academic scholarships may be awarded to qualified students who have excelled in their previous academic work. Awards are based on your GPA and standardized test scores.

Cumberland has over 100 endowed and annual scholarships established by dedicated alumni and friends. You can easily apply for these scholarships by completing a simple form on our website.



Performance scholarships are awarded at the discretion of the coach or program director based on proven performance and future potential. You can earn a scholarship for your participation in either athletics or any of our fine arts programs.

There are several forms of federal aid available to you. Grants do not generally require repayment. Loans do require repayment with interest six months after leaving college. To learn what you can receive submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid at

Getting Financial Aid

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FOLLOW THESE SIMPLE STEPS Apply for Admission to CU. Apply for federal aid, state aid and scholarships. (CU School Code: 003485) (limited to TN residents) Apply for CU endowed scholarships. Watch your mail and CU student email for updates and notifications. Review your awards packet carefully and follow instructions for accepting aid. We'll automatically post scholarships and grants to your account, because those funds do not have to be repaid. But we cannot credit loans to your account until you accept them.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO ACCEPT THE LOAN AMOUNT OFFERED TO YOU. BORROW ONLY WHAT YOU NEED. REMEMBER, LOANS HAVE TO BE REPAID. Continue to check your mail and CU student email for updates and document requests. A timely response to any request or notification is critical throughout this process.


FOR QUESTIONS OR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT The Office of Financial Aid Memorial Hall, Rm 103 Office Hours: Mon - Fri 8:00 am - 4:30 pm 615.547.1399 locally or 800.467.0562, ext. 1399