Financial Aid

CWI helps connect students to financial aid from federal, state, institutional, and external sources of funding. Financial aid application assistance and services are available at any of the CWI One Stop Student Services locations throughout the Treasure Valley.

Applying for Federal Financial Aid

Students applying for federal financial aid must be working toward an eligible degree or certificate at CWI. Completing an application for admission as soon as possible will help expedite the financial aid application process. In addition to federal student aid, the Financial Aid Office coordinates and distributes aid from the State of Idaho, CWI Foundation, and other sources.


All students should complete the FAFSA online at CWI’s Federal School Code is 042118. Continuing students should reapply each academic year by completing a FAFSA online; the application is available on October 1 of each year. Applications are reviewed in the order they are received; early applications receive priority consideration.

After completing the FAFSA and all documentation requirements, students will receive an email directing them to their offer letter in myCWI. The offer letter will contain the Cost of Attendance, the Expected Family Contribution, and the financial aid awards for which a student is eligible. More information regarding the offer letter can be found at the CWI Financial Aid Award page.

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 regulations/policies as described in the Financial Aid Terms and Conditions.


Three components are used to determine eligibility for federal financial aid: Cost of Attendance (COA), Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and Financial Need.

  1. 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 expenses.
    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. 
  2. Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
    A student’s EFC is computed by the U.S. Department of Education using the information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and appears on the Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR is available to the student after completion of the FAFSA.
    Important: A student’s EFC may not reflect 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 a student's financial aid eligibility.
  3. Financial Need
    A student’s original Financial Need is determined by subtracting EFC from COA.
    • Cost of Attendance (COA) is                   $13,900
    • 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. It can be used to help families gauge how much aid the student may be awarded and to make arrangements to cover the remaining cost of attendance.   

Special Circumstances

In some cases, the 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 these situations, students can reach out to the Financial Aid Office about the possibility of filing a Special Circumstances Appeal.

Types of Financial Aid Available

Most CWI students receive some combination of grants, scholarships, tuition waivers, work-study, and/or student loans. The types and amounts of aid received may depend on financial need determined by the FAFSA. Once a FAFSA is completed and submitted, students are considered for all types of federal financial aid for which they are eligible. A student may accept, reduce, or reject any type of financial aid offered other than the Pell Grant, which is automatically accepted on the student's behalf.

Important: Eligibility for most financial aid awards and 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.  

Federal Grants

Grants are awards that do not have to be repaid under most circumstances. 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 (IASG). 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 or guardian died as a result of U.S. military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001. 


Scholarships may be based on academic achievement, programs of study, specific skills, talents, abilities, and/or interests and may or may not have a financial need requirement. Like grants, scholarships do not have to be repaid under most circumstances.

There are scholarship opportunities available through CWI, CWI Foundation, service clubs, companies, or other organizations connected to our CWI Scholarships application. Scholarship deadlines and criteria vary. Students must be accepted at CWI in order to apply.

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 eligible students determined by the State Board of Education within criteria established by the Idaho Legislature.

Tuition and Fee Waivers

Tuition and fee waivers result in a portion or all of the tuition and fee charges being covered by the waiver. A tuition and fee waiver cannot exceed the actual tuition and fees charged.


Work-study is an award that allows students to earn wages through employment opportunities. If eligible for work-study, a student can work part-time (up to 19 hours a week). Additional information can be found on the Work-Study web page.

Student Loans

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. By accepting and completing the requirements to receive a Federal Student Loan or Parent PLUS loan, a student understands 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: Before accepting a student loan, consider the amount that required to be repaid. CWI recommends reading the U.S. Department of Education’s publication, Federal Student Loans: Basics for Students.

Financial Aid Disbursements

Accepted financial aid for which all requirements have been met will initially be released to a student's account on the census date each semester. If financial aid funds exceed the amount owed to CWI, a refund will be made available to the student after the census date. Courses not extending the entire length of the semester may have different census dates; see the academic calendar for deadlines.  

When a student registers for classes, the student’s account is charged for tuition, fees, and special course fees (if any). Students with a potential credit balance due to estimated financial aid can purchase books at the campus bookstore prior to the start of the semester. Charges for books are added to the student account and reduces the financial aid disbursed.

Important: Some financial aid funds will be locked each semester on the census day (tenth day of instruction, fifth day of instruction in the summer) prior to the processing of any refunds. Be sure to add/drop any classes necessary as early as possible each semester. Other conditions may also exist which may change the date of disbursement and or/refund.  

Attendance Verification

Attendance for each course is verified by instructors at the beginning of each semester for each student. To avoid being administratively dropped from a class, a student must establish a record of attendance and participation by the course census date. Students who fail to establish a record of attendance will be subsequently dropped from courses and their aid will be adjusted accordingly.


Financial aid funds are used first to pay direct institutional costs: tuition, fees, and other institutional charges, such as bookstore charges. If financial aid funds are less than the amount owed to CWI, 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, a refund will be issued to the student.

Returning Financial Aid

A student has the right to cancel all or a portion of their accepted student loan(s) within 14 days from the disbursement date. The refunded credit balance can be returned to a CWI One Stop Student Services location.


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, 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 before the census date:
Classes may be dropped any time prior to a semester's 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 that day. Courses not extending through the entire semester may have different census dates, 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:
Withdrawing from a class after the course's census date may result in a student not meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress standards. A student not meeting these standards may be placed in financial aid suspension. Please refer to the Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress section of the catalog for more information.

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 return of federal funds on a student's behalf. The student may be required to repay some or all of the received financial aid to CWI, the U.S. Department of Education, or both. A student will receive notification once the withdrawal process and evaluation of aid earned have been completed. If a student fails to officially withdraw, CWI will 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. 

Important: A class drop or withdrawal may affect a student’s ability to receive federal financial aid in the future.