Financial Aid Explained

The purpose of the financial aid program at College of Eastern Idaho is to facilitate and foster successful academic participation of students who need help funding their education.  While maintaining our responsibility as custodians of public funds, CEI’s objective is to establish standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) that is consistent with institutional goals and philosophies and at the same time sensitive to the needs of students.  These standards apply to all students receiving financial aid from the following programs:

For more information on individual awards and what they mean, please see the CEI catalog or visit our financial aid page.


Award is based on 12 credits or more.  Awards are typically awarded in two disbursements, usually Fall and Spring. Pell Grant funds adjust according to student enrollment.

Student Loans

A student interested in receiving student loans must visit the CEI website to (1) accept the loan on Student Self-Service (2) sign a Master Promissory Note and (3) complete Entrance Loan Counseling.  A student must also be enrolled in 6 credits or more.  First-time borrowers who are first-time CEI students will have to wait 30 days from the beginning of the semester before their loan funds will be disbursed. Loans will be disbursed in two disbursements (Fall-Spring). If attending only one semester, loans will be disbursed in two disbursements within that semester. The first disbursement will be at the beginning of the term and the second at mid-terms.

Year Dependent Students (except students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans) Independent Students (and dependent undergraduate students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans)
First-Year Undergraduate Annual Loan Limit $5,500—No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $9,500—No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
Second-Year Undergraduate Annual Loan Limit $6,500—No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $10,500—No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
Third-Year and Beyond Undergraduate Annual Loan Limit $7,500—No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $12,500—No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
Subsidized and Unsubsidized Aggregate Loan Limit $31,000—No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $57,500 for undergraduates—No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

Student and Program Eligibility

To be eligible to receive financial aid, federal regulations require that a student be a “regular student enrolled in an eligible program”.  The student must maintain good standing and make satisfactory academic progress according to federal, state, and institutional standards in his/her course of study.  Students receiving financial aid must be enrolled in a course of study leading to an associate degree, advanced technical certificate, intermediate technical certificate, or technical certificate. 

Default or Overpayment on Title IV Funds

Students who are in default on a student loan or owe a Title IV program overpayment are not eligible for federal aid.  If a student owes an overpayment, the debt must be cleared before any federal aid will be disbursed.  In the case of a student loan default, financial aid may be reinstated once the student makes satisfactory repayment arrangements with the holder of the loan, and proof of such arrangements are submitted to the Financial Aid Office.  Students who have met the maximum loan limits will no longer be eligible for any federal aid.

Total Withdrawal

Students at CEI who receive federal financial aid and withdraw will have refunds calculated according to federal guidelines. This will help determine the largest refund to the Federal Student Financial Aid Programs or the student. CEI applies the Return of Title IV Funds Policy outlined in the Federal Student Aid Handbook, to students who withdraw for all classes. Affected students may be required to return the unearned portion of the federal aid they received. Students who want to withdraw from all courses need to complete the Total Withdrawal form found on the Registrar Form/Links.

A financial aid recipient who has completed 60% of the term is considered to have 'earned all of his/her aid'. Students who receive federal aid and do not complete 60% of the semester must repay a portion of the 'unearned' aid immediately. The earlier a student withdraws, the less aid he/she earns.

Return of Title IV Funds

These procedures apply to federal Title IV financial aid recipients. Title IV aid is awarded and disbursed to students in anticipation of students’ successful completion of their courses and progression toward graduation. The U.S. Department of Education regulates the management of these funds and in some cases, a student who receives Title IV financial aid but does not complete their coursework is not considered to have “earned” the Title IV aid they received. Student recipients of Federal financial aid who do not complete the semester are impacted by applicable federal laws. Federal regulations do not override the institutional refund policy for students who have received federal financial aid. Federal regulations specify the following:  


Withdrawal Date- For official withdrawals, the date a student withdraws from all classes is the date for the Return of Title IV Funds calculations, unless the student's intent to withdraw on an alternate date is documented. If the student is not going to continue to attend school, they need to complete an official withdrawal as soon as the student decides to leave or stop attending classes. In the case of an unofficial withdrawal where the student did not complete the semester but took no action to officially withdraw, the institution determines the withdrawal date.


Refund Amounts- Federal regulations mandate the calculation of the amount CEI must return to Title IV programs when an aid recipient withdraws. The student may be required to repay CEI for funds the institution is required to return to the Federal financial aid program in excess of the CEI refund amounts. The portion of the CEI refund that is greater than what must be returned to financial aid/ scholarships/ agencies will be returned to the student.


Repayment Obligations- If a student does not attend classes, the student needs to repay all financial aid. If the student has not attended classes they have not established eligibility for financial aid received and all financial aid must be repaid within 30 days. If the student attended classes, the institution will calculate the repayment based on federal regulations and requirements. The repayment calculation is based on the time the student attended the program, the withdrawal date, and the type of financial aid received. The calculations identify the financial aid you earn for the semester and the amount the institution and the student must return to the Title IV programs within 30 days.


Order of Return of Title IV Funds- When returning Title IV funds to the U.S. Department of Education, CEI returns them in a specific order per federal regulations:


1) Unsubsidized Direct Loan

2) Subsidized Direct Loan

3) Parent PLUS Loan

4) Federal Pell Grant

5) Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)

6) Other Student Title IV Aid Programs


High School Diploma or the Equivalent

Federal regulations require financial aid students to either have graduated from high school or have completed a recognized equivalent (such as the GED). 

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Federal regulation requires that all financial aid recipients make satisfactory academic progress and remain in good standing.  Academic progress is reviewed prior to the student’s first disbursement for each term.  Additionally, prior to each payment, the student’s enrollment status will be verified to determine eligibility for financial aid.

For more information on Satisfactory Academic Progress, please see the CEI catalog or visit our Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy page.

Grade Point Average

To maintain eligibility, students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.00 (“C”) or higher for all coursework attempted.

Progress Eligibility

All students will be required to satisfactorily complete (receive grades other than D+, D, D-, F, AU, CH, IC, S, I, or W), 67% of all credits listed on the transcript, including transfer credits from other institutions. Credits completed are defined as all classes for which a student received a passing grade or better. Repeated courses count as credits attempted during each term the student is enrolled in the course. They will be counted as completed each time a passing grade is received for the course. Incompletes and withdrawals do not count as passing but are included in the credit completion rate calculation. Audit credits do not count as credits attempted or completed and will not be counted in the credit completion rate calculation.

Maximum Time Frame

Students must progress through their program to ensure that they will graduate within the maximum time frame (150% of program credits) for example:

The financial aid office will evaluate students at the end of each semester, to make sure they have not exceeded the 150% maximum time frame allowed for each program. Students who change from one program to another without graduating will have their attempted credits and completed credits added in the calculation to determine where they stand with the 150% maximum time frame.

Students graduating from one program and beginning a new program will have their 150% maximum time frame restart, for the new program.

The maximum time frame may only be extended under professional judgment if the college determines that mitigating circumstances exist. (See Appeals Section)

Suspension of Financial Aid

Students who fail to meet the requirements of satisfactory academic progress (SAP) will be denied financial aid. A student may re-establish his/her eligibility by submitting an appeal to the Financial Aid Office (Appeals Section).


If a student believes that he/she has a documented extenuating circumstance that may affect his/her financial aid eligibility, the student can request to have his/her situation evaluated by submitting a financial aid appeal.  Each appeal will be reviewed then approved or denied based on the student’s individual extenuating circumstances and supporting documentation. Some appeals require a student’s educational plan approved by a CEI academic advisor. Appeal forms are available online at the CEI Financial Aid website.  Each of the following appeal forms identifies the process and provide directions for submission:

A student whose appeal is approved will be reinstated to good standing for financial aid eligibility and the student’s Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) will be recalculated, if appropriate. The student will be notified of any changes to his or her eligibility by the Financial Aid Office.

A student whose appeal is denied will receive a notification advising the student of the reason their appeal was denied. Notification will be sent from the Financial Aid Office.  

A student has the right to submit a written request for a student meeting to be conducted before the Financial Aid Appeals Committee if he/she does not agree with the outcome of the appeal. The student will represent him or herself at the meeting. All decisions rendered by the Financial Aid Appeal Committee are final and binding.

Reinstatement of Financial Aid

In order to be reinstated to good standing, a student must: (1) meet all financial aid satisfactory progress standards (qualitative, quantitative, and maximum time frame) or (2) successfully appeal, under the appeals process in the Appeals section. 


A student who attempts to obtain financial aid fraudulently may be suspended from college and from all financial aid program eligibility.  The College will be required to report such instances to local law enforcement agencies, the U. S. Department of Education, and the Office of Inspector General. Restitution will be required of any financial aid received under fraud.

Disbursement of Financial Aid Awards 

Financial aid funds are disbursed in equal installments at the first of each semester.  If a student only attends one semester, disbursement of loans will be made in two equal disbursements, one at the beginning of the semester and one halfway through the semester.  Funds may be credited to a student’s account to pay registration fees with the balance being disbursed in the form of a check.  Checks are disbursed by the Cashier in the Business Office. Questions concerning check disbursement should be referred to the cashier at 524-3000 ext. 3335. 

Financial aid policies and procedures are subject to change without notice to assure compliance with federal regulations.

John E. Christofferson
Multi-Purpose Building

Room 353
Phone: (208) 524-3000
Fax: (208) 525-7026