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Admissions . Financing Your Education . FAQs 

Frequently Asked Questions

What scholarships are available at CIA?

First year, first time and transfer students can qualify for a CIA Merit Scholarships. The priority deadline for first year applicants is March 1st of every year. Scholarships have historically ranged from $6,500 to full-tuition for up to four years of study at CIA. The scholarship is ... more

First year, first time and transfer students can qualify for a CIA Merit Scholarships. The priority deadline for first year applicants is March 1st of every year. Scholarships have historically ranged from $6,500 to full-tuition for up to four years of study at CIA. The scholarship is based on portfolio and academic performance. If selected for a CIA Merit Scholarship, you will be notified shortly after your acceptance to CIA. less

What if I do not win a CIA Merit Scholarship upon entering CIA, will I receive any money at all from CIA?

Students who are not selected to receive a CIA Merit Scholarship may still receive a need-based CIA Grant from the Office of Financial Aid. These grants are based on your demonstrated financial need as determined from the results of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) ... more

Students who are not selected to receive a CIA Merit Scholarship may still receive a need-based CIA Grant from the Office of Financial Aid. These grants are based on your demonstrated financial need as determined from the results of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the review of your academic information and your portfolio by the Office of Admissions. Award amounts vary. CIA Grant recipients must re-apply each year by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. less

Will my financial aid change from year to year?

As the years continue, the student will be eligible to borrow more. Colleges and Universities nationwide utilize higher lending levels for students as they continue their education, approach graduation, and increase their earning potential. Eligible students may borrow up to the maximu... more

As the years continue, the student will be eligible to borrow more. Colleges and Universities nationwide utilize higher lending levels for students as they continue their education, approach graduation, and increase their earning potential. Eligible students may borrow up to the maximum Federal Direct Loan amounts as shown in the "Annual Loan Limits for Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Loans" chart on this page.

CIA Merit Scholarships remain the same as long as you keep the minimum cumulative GPA required for the award. CIA Grants and other need-based aid remain the same provided you continue to demonstrate financial need each academic year based on the data provided on the FAFSA. The institute annually awards departmental scholarships to students. The application processes vary and are generally handled by individual major departments.

Federal, State, and CIA need-based awards must be applied for every year. March 15 is the priority deadline. Applicants failing to meet the priority deadline will be awarded based on the funds available to late applicants. Late applicants will not be considered for Federal Work-Study, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Federal Perkins Loans, and other limited CIA need-based aid programs. Awards are affected by changes in family income, assets, the number of family members and the number of family members in college. less

What other scholarships, if any, are available to me once I become a student at CIA?

Depending on the Scholarship or Grant amount that you receive upon entering CIA, you may be eligible to compete for more scholarships as early as the next year. For example, the Honorary Scholarship Competition is open to students who did not win the top scholarship awards offered to n... more

Depending on the Scholarship or Grant amount that you receive upon entering CIA, you may be eligible to compete for more scholarships as early as the next year. For example, the Honorary Scholarship Competition is open to students who did not win the top scholarship awards offered to new students. You must be in top twenty percent of your class at the end of fall semester in order to compete. These scholarships have historically been $2,000 and the school awards two of these per class every year.

Once you have matriculated into your major, there are department scholarships that are awarded. The scholarships are administered through individual major departments and as a result application processes vary. Contact your department's chair for application information. The Institute has historically awarded over $230,000 each year in departmental awards. Some awards, however, are awarded and replace CIA Merit and/or Need-based Aid. less

Can I be considered an independent student?

The U.S. Department of Education defines "independent" differently than the Internal Revenue Service. To be identified as "independent," the student must meet one or more of the following criteria.

  • Be 24 years of age or older
  • Be a gradua...
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The U.S. Department of Education defines "independent" differently than the Internal Revenue Service. To be identified as "independent," the student must meet one or more of the following criteria.

  • Be 24 years of age or older
  • Be a graduate student
  • At any time since you turned age 13, both of your parents are deceased and you were in foster care or you were you a dependent or ward of the court
  • Be married
  • Currently serving in active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training
  • Be a veteran
  • Have children or other have other dependents who will receive more than half of their support from you
  • As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, you are or you were an emancipated minor
  • As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, you are or you were in legal guardianship
  • At any time on or after July 1 of the calendar year prior to the academic year you are applying for financial aid, your high school or school district homeless liaison determined that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless
  • At any time on or after July of the calendar year prior to the academic year you are applying for financial aid, the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determined that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless
  • At any time on or after July of the calendar year prior to the academic year you are applying for financial aid, the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determined that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless

In ALL other cases the student is considered a DEPENDENT student and parental information will be needed to apply for financial aid. This is true even if the student is living, by choice, on his or her own. It should be noted that independent students do not always receive more financial aid. less

How do I get a student loan?

Visit the loans section of the site for more information.

When will loan funds be applied to the student's account?

Loan funds are typically divided into two equal disbursements since most loans are for the academic year (fall and spring semesters). The first disbursement will be sent directly to the school and applied to the student's account in the fall semester and the second will be sent and app... more

Loan funds are typically divided into two equal disbursements since most loans are for the academic year (fall and spring semesters). The first disbursement will be sent directly to the school and applied to the student's account in the fall semester and the second will be sent and applied during the spring semester. Only loans made for one semester have a single disbursement. less

What is Federal Work-Study?

Federal Work-Study is a federal work program that is awarded to students who have demonstrated a specific level of financial need as determined by the data on the FAFSA. Students are awarded up to $2000. The award should be seen as a resource to help students pay for their expenses tra... more

Federal Work-Study is a federal work program that is awarded to students who have demonstrated a specific level of financial need as determined by the data on the FAFSA. Students are awarded up to $2000. The award should be seen as a resource to help students pay for their expenses transportation/travel or personal expenses. Payment is made directly to the student as they earn their pay (in other words, an hours pay for an hours work). Time sheets are due on the third of each month and students are paid on the fifteenth of each month. less

How do I get a Work-Study job?

Students are responsible for securing a job through the Federal Work-Study Program. Throughout the academic year, jobs are posted on College Central, the Career Center’s on-line job board. You can view jobs by accessing ... more

Students are responsible for securing a job through the Federal Work-Study Program. Throughout the academic year, jobs are posted on College Central, the Career Center’s on-line job board. You can view jobs by accessing College Central. Most departments hire federal work-study students each year. less

What special circumstances may affect my financial aid package?

Unexpected changes in income can affect your financial aid package. Some examples of unexpected changes or special circumstances include parental unemployment or loss of other income, death, or serious illness in the family, divorce or separation. In all cases, a Special Circumstance F... more

Unexpected changes in income can affect your financial aid package. Some examples of unexpected changes or special circumstances include parental unemployment or loss of other income, death, or serious illness in the family, divorce or separation. In all cases, a Special Circumstance Form available from the Forms, Publications and Links section of the Office of Financial Aid web site should be completed. If you need assistance to complete the Special Circumstance form, do not hesitate to contact the Office of Financial Aid.

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If I am notified that I will receive a scholarship from an outside source, how will those funds affect the financial aid award?

According to federal regulations, all sources of financial aid must fit within the cost of education or budget. To accomplish this, some colleges subtract the full amount of the outside aid from any need-based college financial aid. The Cleveland Institute of Art, in striving to help s... more

According to federal regulations, all sources of financial aid must fit within the cost of education or budget. To accomplish this, some colleges subtract the full amount of the outside aid from any need-based college financial aid. The Cleveland Institute of Art, in striving to help students, will first apply outside aid to any remaining unmet need. If the student's need is already met according to the calculation, outside scholarships will be subtracted from loan assistance and work-study. This will help the student long-term by lowering the amount of borrowing while the student is in school. less

When do I apply for next year's financial aid?

The priority deadline to apply for financial aid is March 15. Applicants failing to meet the March 15 priority deadline will be awarded on a funds available basis. The Office of Financial Aid will send a reminder to financial aid recipients to apply prior to the March 15 priority deadl... more

The priority deadline to apply for financial aid is March 15. Applicants failing to meet the March 15 priority deadline will be awarded on a funds available basis. The Office of Financial Aid will send a reminder to financial aid recipients to apply prior to the March 15 priority deadline. Do not hesitate to contact staff in the Office of Financial Aid if assistance is needed to complete the application process. Late applicants will not be considered for Federal-Work Study, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Federal Perkins Loans, and other limited CIA need-based aid programs. less

What aid if any is available to International students?

International students are considered for CIA Merit Scholarships up to $12,000. International students are not eligible for federal, state or institutional need-based aid.

If I have a complaint related to the financial aid process, who should I contact?

Complaints regarding the Cleveland Institute of Art Office of Financial Aid

Complaints regarding the financial aid process at CIA can be sent in writing to the attention of the Director of Financial Aid, Martin J. Carney, Jr., at mcarney@c... more

Complaints regarding the Cleveland Institute of Art Office of Financial Aid

Complaints regarding the financial aid process at CIA can be sent in writing to the attention of the Director of Financial Aid, Martin J. Carney, Jr., at mcarney@cia.edu.

Complaints regarding the student payment process

Complaints regarding the student payment process at Cleveland Institute of Art can be sent in writing to Student Accounts at studentaccounts@cia.edu.

How to submit a complaint to the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman’s Group

Complaints related to federal student loans or loan servicers are made through the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman’s Group. Contact information for the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman’s Group is:

U.S. Department of Education
FSA Ombudsman
830 First Street, N.E.
Washington, D.C 20202-5144

How to Submit a Complaint to the Ohio Department of Higher Education

The Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) is responsible for responding to formal complaints against public, independent non-profit and proprietary institutions of higher education in Ohio. While the ODHE has limited authority over colleges and universities, and cannot offer legal advice or initiate civil court cases, the Chancellor's staff will review submitted complaints and work with student complainants and institutions.

Please follow the steps outlined below to submit a complaint:

STEP 1
If a student has concerns related to classroom situations or administrative actions, he/she should contact the faculty or staff member(s) with whom there has been a conflict. It may be possible to resolve the concerns without the need for formal institutional action. However, if the student’s complaint is not resolved satisfactorily, or if the complaint cannot be resolved by contacting the faculty or staff member(s), the student should proceed to STEP 2.

STEP 2
The student should file a complaint through the institution of higher education’s established complaint process. Information on the process can usually be found in the institution’s academic catalog, student handbook or website. If the student is unable to resolve the complaint in this manner, the student should contact the Ohio Department of Higher Education using the online complaint form found below. Please note that the complaint must be received within two years of the completion of the institution’s complaint process.

STEP 3
After receiving a complaint through the ODHE complaint form, the Chancellor’s staff will review the submitted materials. If needed, the ODHE will contact the person submitting the complaint for any required additional information or clarifications. The Ohio Department of Higher Education will then send a copy of the complaint to the institution against which the complaint has been filed and ask for a response within three weeks. After receiving the college or university’s response, the Chancellor’s staff will determine whether the institution’s student complaint process has been followed and exhausted and what additional steps or follow-up, if any, will be taken. The Chancellor’s staff will inform both parties involved in the complaint of the outcome of our review in writing. Depending on the complexity of the complaint, most follow-up contact regarding the complaint will be completed within 4 to 6 weeks.

Questions?

If you have additional questions about the complaint process, or want to clarify that your individual complaint is reviewable by the Ohio Department of Higher Education, please feel free to contact Matt Exline at (614) 728-3095 or mexline@highered.ohio.gov.

How to Submit a Complaint to Higher Learning Commission (HLC) About an Institution

Students, faculty, staff and members of the public may submit a complaint about an HLC-accredited or candidate institution. HLC accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in a 19-state region.

Complaint Process

The complaint process is designed to identify substantive problems with an institution’s ability to meet the Criteria for Accreditation. HLC’s policy on complaints provides a full description of the type of complaints that HLC will review.

The HLC complaint process:

  • Is deliberative and judgment-based.
  • Recognizes the value of information provided by the public.
  • Helps institutions gain awareness of systemic problems and improve.
  • Directs complainants to appropriate processes for grievances if the matter is not a substantive accreditation problem.

Complaints can be submitted using the form on the HLC website at: https://www.hlcommission.org/Student-Resources/complaints.html.

HLC’s process for reviewing and responding to a complaint is as follows:

  1. HLC will acknowledge a complaint within 30 working days of receipt.
  2. A complaint will be forwarded to an institution for a response only if HLC determines the complaint represents substantive problems with the institution’s ability to meet the Criteria.
  3. The institution has 30 days to respond to the complaint.
  4. HLC may take up to another 30 days to review an institutional response to a complaint.
  5. HLC will notify the complainant whether the matter has been closed or if additional actions will be required.

Complaints HLC Does Not Review

Since the complaint process is intended to pursue only those matters that suggest substantive noncompliance with the Criteria, HLC expects individuals who have a dispute to use the internal grievance procedures of the institution. HLC does not review the outcomes of institutional grievance processes to either uphold or overturn those decisions. In no case will HLC use the complaint process to provide a remedy with an institution on behalf of a complainant. HLC does not intervene in matters of an individual nature, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Obtaining transcripts
  • Financial aid
  • Tuition/bills
  • Satisfactory academic progress
  • Grade/instructor disputes
  • Disciplinary action
  • Employment disputes
  • Interpersonal situations

Additionally, HLC does not:

  • Accept complaints from third parties (The person submitting the complaint must be a party to the complaint.)
  • Provide whistleblower protections
  • Review criminal matters
  • Provide legal advice
  • Review matters older than five years
  • Review discrimination matters. For discrimination matters, complainants should contact the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights.
  • Review federal student loan or loan servicer matters. For matters related to federal student loans or loan servicers, complainants should contact the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Group.
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