Financial Aid Concerns

Learn what to do if you have concerns about your financial aid or you owe CNM.

CNM Financial Aid is available by phone at (505) 224-3090 or by email. Please submit all documentation to [email protected].

If You've Lost Your Financial Aid

If you've lost your Financial Aid, we want you to know that there are options and we can help. Below, you will find information about what next steps to take.

1. Set Up a Payment Plan

Doing this will make sure your current classes will not be dropped. Payment plans need your signature so this can only be done through your myCNM account under the Cashier tab, or in person at a Cashier's Office. 

Learn more about setting up a payment plan.

2. Learn Why Your Financial Aid was Suspended

It was likely due to one of three reasons:

  1. Your overall GPA for all the terms you attended at CNM was less than 2.0.
  2. Your average course completion rate was lower than 66.67%.
  3. You have reached the 150% maximum number of credit hours that are allowed for your current major.

Learn more about the requirements of satisfactory academic progress (SAP).

3. Submit an Appeal

If you had unusual circumstances, you can submit an appeal to keep your financial aid. If you are approved, you will have time to work on improving your situation. Follow these steps to complete the Financial Aid appeal form:

  1. Watch this presentation. Answer the questions at the end and attach them to your appeal form.
  2. Write a letter to Financial Aid stating what your degree is, what your goals are, that you understand why your aid was suspended (including a few sentences about why you received any grades of “F”, “W”, “INC”, no credit and/or audit) and what you’ll do to prevent it from happening again. 
  3. Include a copy of your CNM unofficial transcripts. You can find them in your myCNM account or by stopping at the Records office.
  4. Include any doctor’s notes or letters that speak on your behalf as evidence of difficult situations you have had to work through to go to school.
  5. Please scan our documents and email them to [email protected].

It takes up to 10 business days to have it reviewed by your Financial Aid advisor and the committee. The decision will be posted on your myCNM account on the Financial Aid tab.

Learn more about the appeal process.

4. Earn Your Aid Back

If you choose not to appeal, or your appeal is denied, you can still attend. In fact, students who lose their Financial Aid due to GPA or completion rate alone (or in combination) can earn their aid back by taking courses on their own and completing them until their cumulative GPAs are brought up.

If You're Worried About Aid or Paying for College

CNM knows that you have many responsibilities and financial concerns facing you right now. We’re here to help. There are many different opportunities for financial help from CNM.

Funding for Emergencies or Unexpected Issues

Rust Opportunity Scholarship

Rust Opportunity Assistance Scholarship is for current students who are facing unexpected financial issues. Please contact an advisor to start and submit your application. You can get a letter of recommendation for this scholarship from Eric-Christopher Garcia or Sharon Gurule.

  • Applications reviewed daily
  • Awards made within 5-7 business days
  • Not related to grades or need
Scholarships Only Available to CNM Students

CNM Foundation Scholarships

CNM offers many scholarships by CNM and the CNM Foundation. We have one online application to apply for over 50 scholarships. Fill out the online form today to see all the scholarships available to you.

  • Scholarships can range from $400 to $2,500.
  • You can qualify by your program, GPA, financial need and other factors
  • If you need a letter of recommendation, we can help you! Contact an advisor for a letter.
Students Who Don't Qualify for Financial Aid or Other Funding

CNM Connect Advantage Tuition Scholarship and Book Scholarship

Students who do not qualify for Financial Aid or other types of funding might also apply for the Connect Advantage and Book Scholarship.

The Connect Advantage Scholarship covers a portion of tuition and registration fees and can be renewed every semester.

  • Must be a current student
  • Talk to an advisor before September 4 to apply

The Book Scholarship covers a portion of book costs

  • Must be a current student
  • Talk to an advisor before August 21 to apply

You’ll get an email with the result of your scholarship application. Schedule your appointment with an advisor online today to apply!

If You Owe CNM

If you are currently receiving financial aid at Central New Mexico Community College and owe CNM a prior balance, you may be eligible to use your financial aid to pay all, or a portion, of that balance. You may authorize CNM to pay up to $200 on a prior year balance if you have enough financial aid to cover the current year's charges and the balance owed.

Contact us for more information and to see how we can help.

Do You Need to Tell Us Something the FAFSA Could Not?

The FAFSA is a tool designed to estimate a family’s ability to pay for college, as well as determine a student’s dependency status. However, many students and/or families have circumstances that the FAFSA cannot capture in that snapshot and require a professional judgment override by a financial aid advisor. To qualify, students must not be suspended from Financial Aid and must not be enrolled in ineligible courses or ineligible programs. 

Professional judgements require documentation, including verification of information initially provided on the FAFSA.  

All Income reported on the FAFSA is considered when determining if an adjustment can be made. For example, if one parent or spouse has lost income, but the other has gained, resulting in the overall income being the same or greater than what was reported on the FAFSA, an adjustment cannot be made. 

If an income adjustment is not granted and verification results in necessary corrections to the FAFSA, financial aid eligibility may be reduced. 

 In addition, students should be aware that turning in documentation for a dependency override does not guarantee a change in status. The final determination is based on the Financial Aid Advisor’s judgement and cannot be appealed. 


What Qualifies as an Unusual or Special Circumstance for Professional Judgement?
  • Parental abuse, neglect, abandonment, incarceration or institutionalization of both parents; 
  • Job loss or change in employment; 
  • One time income, such as a one-time withdrawal from a retirement account; 
  • Divorce or separation not reflected on the FAFSA; 
  • Death of a parent or spouse; 
  • Change in student’s marital status after the completion of the FAFSA 

Examples of what CANNOT be considered: 

  • Student demonstrating total self-sufficiency;

(Simply being 18 years old and on your own is NOT considered an unusual circumstance per Department of Education regulations.); 

  • Parents unwilling to provide information on the FAFSA application or for Verification; 
  • Parents not claiming the student as a dependent for income tax purposes; 
  • Parents refusing to contribute to the student’s education; 
  • Credit card, personal loans, or other consumer debt; 
  • Expenses already included in the Cost of Attendance (COA); 
  • Noneducational expenses; i.e., expenses related to pets, vacations, or extracurricular activities 

Students who are under the age of 24 are generally considered dependent and are required to use their parents’ (including step-parents') financial information unless they meet certain criteria. 

A student may be considered independent if they are married, working on a master’s or doctorate program, have children or other dependents of their own, a veteran or active duty, emancipated, under legal guardianship, an orphan/ward of the court or have been determined to be homeless by a homeless liaison.  

If you do not see your circumstances listed, you may still request an appointment with your financial aid advisor. 

How Do I Request an Appointment to Discuss My Situation?

If you feel your circumstance warrants review please contact our office. Email us at [email protected], call (505) 224-3090, or click the blue button in the lower right corner at the CNM Financial Aid Contact Page. 

How Long Does it Take to Process My Special or Unusual Circumstance?

Once all documentation requested has been received by your financial aid advisor, changes will need to be made through the Department of Education’s Financial Aid Administrator website and then downloaded back to CNM. Please allow 2-3 weeks for processing time. 

Important Notes

Not all requests for professional judgement are approved or result in additional aid. Decisions made by a financial aid advisor are final and cannot be overturned by the Department of Education. 

Special Circumstances refer to the financial situations (loss of a job, etc.) that justify an aid administrator adjusting data elements in the COA or in the EFC calculation. 

Unusual Circumstances refer to the conditions that justify an aid administrator making an adjustment to a student's dependency status based on a unique situation (e.g., human trafficking, refugee or asylee status, parental abandonment, incarceration), more commonly referred to as a dependency override.