Financial Aid


Financial Aid

The California Jazz Conservatory is committed 
to assisting each and every student with the cost
 of covering their tuition and living expenses. The following is an overview of the various sources of financial aid available to CJC students. Sources include federal financial aid (grants, loans and work-study), the CJC in-house payment plan, CJC scholarships and additional resources for parents.


A grant is a financial award that does not have to be repaid. The following grants are available through the US Department of Education (USDE):

Federal Pell Grants
For the 2020–2021 Award Year, the projected maximum Federal Pell Grant amount is $6,345. Awards are need-based and will vary based on the student’s EFC and the student’s enrollment status (see Enrollment Definitions below). Note: students who are enrolled less than half-time may be eligible for Pell Grants

Enrollment Definitions (per semester)
Full-time enrollment: 12 credits or more
Three-quarter enrollment: 9 – 11 credits
Half-time enrollment: 6–8 credits
Less than half-time enrollment: 1–5 credits

Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
The Supplemental Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is for those students who demonstrate exceptional financial need. Funds are extremely limited; Federal Pell Grant recipients take priority. Award amounts vary between $100 – $300 per academic year.

A loan is a financial award that must be repaid. The following loans are available through the USDE:

• Federal Direct Loans
There are two types of Federal Direct Loan Programs: subsidized and unsubsidized.

Subsidized Direct Loan Program — Students with calculated financial need may borrow under the Subsidized Direct Loan Program. Under the Subsidized Direct Loan Program, the federal government pays the interest on the loan while students are in school and during their grace period. Note 1: students must be enrolled at least half-time to be eligible for the Subsidized Direct Loan Program. Note 2: A student’s EFC is taken into consideration when determining his/her eligibility for a Subsidized Direct Loan.

Unsubsidized Direct Loan Program — Students with no calculated financial need may borrow under the Unsubsidized Direct Loan Program. The interest rate is the same, but unlike the Subsidized Direct Loan Program, the government does not pay the interest on the loan. Students have the option of paying the interest while in school, or having it added to their principal when they graduate or cease being enrolled on at least a half-time basis. Note 1: Students must be enrolled at least half-time to be eligible for the Unsubsidized Direct Loan Program. Note 2: A student’s EFC is not taken into consideration when determining his/her eligibility for an Unsubsidized Direct Loan; however, any other aid received is a consideration (for example, if the student is eligible to receive a Subsidized Direct Loan or a Pell Grant).

The following tables are the maximum amounts dependent and independent students can borrow each year.

Dependent undergraduates
(excluding dependent students whose parents are ineligible for PLUS)

Year                              Credits Completed          Subsidized             Total (subsidized and unsubsidized)

Freshman                    0 – 33                                 $3,500                    $5,500

Sophomore                 34 – 67                               $4,500                    $6,500

Junior and Beyond    68+                                      $5,500                    $7,500


Independent undergraduates
(including dependent students whose parents are ineligible for PLUS)

Year                              Credits Completed          Subsidized             Total (subsidized and unsubsidized)

Freshman                    0 – 33                                 $3,500                    $9,500

Sophomore                 34 – 67                               $4,500                    $10,500

Junior and Beyond    68+                                      $5,500                    $12,500

After reviewing the FAFSA, the Financial Aid Office determines the maximum amount that a student can borrow each year based on:

EFC (Expected Family Contribution);

Dependency status (whether they are considered dependent or independent according to the student’s FAFSA);

Grade level at the beginning of the loan period.

Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) — The PLUS program allows qualified parents to borrow funds to help support their dependent children while their son/daughter is attending college. Unlike the Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Loans, the parent must pass a credit check; if the parent does not pass the credit check they may either appeal or provide a co-signer for the loan.

The EFC is not used in calculating PLUS eligibility (i.e., PLUS can replace the EFC), and the total amount a parent can borrow may not exceed the student’s Cost of Attendance (COA) minus all other aid received.

A dependent student whose parent is ineligible for a PLUS loan may be eligible for increased unsubsidized loans as shown above.

If a student obtains a loan to pay for an educational program, the student will have the responsibility to repay the full amount of the loan plus interest, less the amount any refund. If a student has received federal student financial aid program funds, the student is entitled to a refund of moneys not paid from federal student financial aid program funds.

Loan Fees 2020–21
At each disbursement the Department of Education deducts a fee. The loan fee for Direct Loans (Subsidized and Unsubsidized) is 1.059% for loans before 10/1/20; the fee for the PLUS loan is 4.236% for loans on or after 10/1/18 and before 10/1/19.

Federal Work-Study (FWS)
Federal Work-Study (FWS) is money that is earned while attending school and that does not have to be repaid. FWS is a form of student employment — a need-based financial aid award that allows students to work on campus part-time. It is not a grant (because students must work to earn it), and it is not a loan (because students do not have to repay it).

In order to receive FWS, students must complete the FAFSA and have FWS eligibility. Federal funding is limited. FWS funds are distributed on an as-available basis. Students can only apply for FWS positions if they have this as part of their financial aid package. They are paid an hourly wage on a bi-weekly basis for hours worked, and their paycheck will be sent directly to them instead of applied to their bill. Note: students who are awarded FWS must complete all of the forms listed in the FWS Guidelines.

CJC Scholarships
The CJC awards partial scholarships on an as-available basis to qualified students based on a combination of:

  • Artistic merit
  • Financial need
  • The particular instrumental/vocal needs of the program at the time of inquiry

    Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0, and earn the grade of C or higher in all classes, to remain eligible for scholarships. Note: Students receiving a scholarship who earn a non-passing grade of C- or lower in any required course(s) are responsible for retaking those courses at their own expense.

    To inquire about availability of CJC scholarships, please contact Dr. Jeff Denson, Dean of Instruction at

Additional Resources for Parents
Parents and students can use a variety of resources to cover their Educational Expenses such as:

  • PLUS Loans (dependent students only
  • Student’s Financial Aid Package (including loans, grants, and Federal Work Study). Please communicate with your son/daughter.
  • The CJC In-House Payment Plan
  • Outside scholarships
  • Tax-free accounts and tax benefits plans (Coverdell and 529 Plans)
  • Federal veterans benefits
  • Tuition benefit plans set up by employers or agencies to help students/parents pay for college costs.

The CJC offers students the option of paying their tuition on a monthly basis for an administrative fee of $50/ semester. Payment plans must be created at the time of registration. For fall semester, tuition is divided up into five equal payments due on the first of the month for months August-December; for spring semester, tuition is divided up into five equal payments due on the first of the month for months January-May. A late fee of $25 will be charged for payments submitted after the first of each month. Note: the current semester’s tuition must be paid in full before a student may register for the subsequent semester. To create a CJC In-House Payment Plan, please contact the Registrar at


Obtaining a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID
Students who have a PIN must now obtain a new FSA ID. The website for creating a new FSA ID is

The FSA ID consists of a username and password that students must use to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education (ED) websites. The FSA ID enables students to access their personal information on ED websites such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) at

The FSA ID is used to sign legally binding documents electronically. It has the same legal status as a written signature. Besides being used for completing the FAFSA, students can also use their FSA ID for signing their Master Promissory Note (MPN) and for completing Loan Entrance Counseling (a requirement for loan borrowers).

Note: parents of dependent students (those students living at home) will need their own FSA ID if they want to sign their son’s or daughter’s FAFSA electronically. If parents have more than one child attending college, they can use the same FSA ID to sign all applications.

Completing the FAFSA
To apply for federal student aid, students must complete the FAFSA at Students will need to include the CJC School Code: 042376. The school code authorizes the ED to send students’ FAFSA information to the CJC.

When completing the FAFSA, students (and their parents if students are dependent) will be asked to provide federal tax return information for the previous tax year.

The easiest (and recommended) way to do this is to allow the FAFSA website to access their IRS tax return by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT). This step links their FAFSA to the appropriate federal tax return and enters the information for them.

Some students will be selected by the Department of Education to have their information “verified” by the CJC Financial Aid Office. The CJC will send those students who are selected for verification the appropriate form that they will need to return (along with any supporting documenta- tion) within 30 days of the date of the notice. Typically, items that may require verification include income information, household members, and number in college. Note: If students used the IRS DRT and did not make any changes, they most likely will not have to provide any backup documents. There may be other items requiring verification, but these are the most common.

The CJC Financial Aid Office requires that students complete the verification process before their loans are certified (approved) and sent to the ED.

Financial aid awards are based on demonstrated financial need, which is the difference between the family’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) plus the student’s own resources (EFC and any other financial aid), and the allowable educational expenses or Cost of Attendance (COA).

The USDE determines the EFC, which is based on the information submitted on the student’s FAFSA. If there are unusual or extenuating circumstances, the Financial Aid Office may make adjustments based on adequate documentation, on a case-by-case basis.

The CJC Financial Aid Office creates an annual budget for each student based on the following costs:

  • Tuition and Fees
  • Room & Board
  • Transportation
  • Books & Supplies
  • Loan Fees Personal/Miscellaneous Expenses

If there are unusual expenses (for example, unusual medical expenses, child care, etc.), the Financial Aid Office can, with adequate documentation, make adjustments to an individual student’s budget. Note: again, this can only be done on a case-by-case basis.

The Financial Aid Office calculates budgets for both dependent students (those students living at home) and for independent students (those students not living at home). This information is initially derived from the student’s FAFSA.

Note: A student’s total financial aid may not exceed the student’s COA.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition for the 2020–2021 academic year is as follows:

  • Application fee (a one-time fee, new students only): $100
  • Registration fee (all students): $50 / semester
  • Full-time students (taking 12 or more credits per semester): $10,500, instrumentalists; $11,000, vocalists
  • Part-time students (taking 11 or fewer credits per semester): $850 / credit
  • Private instruction/Individual Tutorial: $1,800 per credit
  • Trio ensembles: $1,200 per credit

The Financial Aid Offer Letter
After the CJC Financial Aid Office receives a student’s FAFSA, it will determine the maximum eligibility for financial aid and send them a Financial Aid Offer Letter. The Offer Letter will list what types of financial aid are available to students. Students have the option of either accepting or declining any of the awards listed or even requesting a lower amount in loans if they choose.

Students must then print a copy, sign it and return it to the CJC Financial Aid Office before their financial aid can be finalized.

Note: Although loans will not be certified by the CJC Financial Aid Office until the student’s award letter has been signed and returned (and, if selected, verification completed), students will still be able to decline or reduce their loan amounts up to 14 days after the disbursements have been received by the CJC and posted to their student account. When the CJC receives the loan funds, the business office will send students an email notification of the amounts and date posted, with information on how to change their loan amounts.

Loan Entrance Counseling
Students who are first time loan borrowers at the California Jazz Conservatory must complete Loan Entrance Counseling at

Master Promissory Note
If students have never had a student loan before (or within the last 10 years) and wish to accept one, they must complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN) at


The following table shows California Jazz Conservatory tuition and fees for the 2020–2021 academic year for a continuing full-time instrumental student taking 12 –18 credits per semester. Note: vocalists add $500/semester.

Category                 Fall Semester      Spring Semester    Anuual Total
Tuition                     $10,500                $10,500                  $21,000
Reg Fee                  $       50                $        50                 $21,100
Total                        $10,550                $10,550                 $21,100       

Non-CJC Expense Estimates for Students — For the purposes of determining eligibility for Federal Financial Aid, the Financial Aid Office uses the following estimates based on California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) Student Expense Budgets for 2020–2021. Note: these costs are estimates only.

With Parents:                          Off Campus Housing:
Category                           Semester      Annual              Semester      Annual
Books & Supplies            $   540            $1,080             $  540            $ 1,080
Room & Board                 $4,390            $8,780            $8,290           $16,580
Transportation                 $  469             $   938            $   429           $    858
Personal / Misc.               $1,782             $3,225            $1,892            $3,784

Total:                                 $ 7,011            $14,023           $11,151            $22,302


Adjustments to Awards
The California Jazz Conservatory reserves the right to adjust or cancel financial aid awards at any time for several reasons. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • A determination by the Department of Education of a change in the student’s eligibility
  • A student who fails to make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) (see under Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP))
  • Changes in availability of funding or
  • Changes in a student’s financial need

Disbursement Dates
Financial Aid funds will be requested from the Department of Education within 3 days after the end of the drop/add period each semester. When these funds are received and posted to the student’s account, the business office will send out a notification of the date and amounts posted, and when any credit balance due to students will be available. In addition, if loan funds are received, students will still have the option of either declining or reducing the amount of their loans within 14 days of that notice.

First Year, First Time Borrower “30-day Delay”
For first-year, first time students who have never borrowed under the federal student loan programs, federal regulations require that the first disbursement of a loan cannot be disbursed earlier than 30 days after the start of classes.

Early Disbursement for Pell Grants and Books
Students who are Pell Grant recipients, and whose total aid is in excess of the current semester’s charges, may use that balance to pay for required text books up to 10 days prior to the beginning of that semester.

2020 – 2021 Disbursement Schedule

Fall Semester
Pell Available for Books                                   08/14/2020
First Day of Instruction                                   08/24/2020
Last Day to Add/Drop a Class                        08/31/2020
Disbursement Date                                         09/04/2020
Excess Funds available to students              09/18/2020

Spring Semester
Pell Available for Books                                   01/08/2021
First Day of Instruction                                    01/18/2021
Last Day to Add/Drop a Class                        02/03/2021
Disbursement Date                                         02/05/2021
Excess Funds available to students              02/19/2021

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
Federal Financial Aid regulations require schools to certify that each student applicant for Federal Financial Aid is making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). SAP has two parts:

1. GPA: Students receiving financial aid must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or above.

2. Maximum Time Frame: According to federal regula- tions, students receiving financial aid may not exceed 150 percent of the standard time expected of a student to complete her/his degree. This means that the maximum time frame for eligibility for Federal Financial Aid is 6 years. This includes all terms, whether or not the student actually received financial aid. It also includes enrollment periods prior to the CJC’s participation in the Federal Financial Aid programs.

When looking at each student’s enrollment history, the CJC will evaluate whether or not the student has completed the appropriate number of credits at the time of financial aid certification, based on the individual student’s enrollment history.

In order to meet this maximum time frame of 6 years to completion, for financial aid purposes, full-time students need to satisfactorily complete (at a mini- mum) the following number of cumulative credits per academic year:

% of Total Required                     Credits Required for Completion
Inst & Vocal               Pianists
Credits                                             136                                 134


Year 1     17%                                 23                                 22
Year 2    33%                                 45                                45
Year 3    50%                                 68                                67
Year 4    67%                                 91                                 89
Year 5    83%                                113                               112
Year 6   100%                               136                              134

Financial Aid Warning and Ineligibility
Students who have been placed on Financial Aid Warning will have one academic semester to remediate any deficiencies and may continue to receive additional aid during that academic semester.

During the warning period, the student will be expected to correct the previously identified deficiencies and to successfully complete all courses enrolled in during that period.

Should the student fail to enroll during that next academic period, the terms of Financial Aid Warning will apply to the next future term in which the student enrolls.

Failure to correct the unsatisfactory grades during the warning period may result in financial aid ineligibility (i.e., no additional financial aid).

A student who has been determined to be ineligible for financial aid due to Unsatisfactory Academic Progress may appeal this determination.

Leave of Absence
According to federal regulations, a student who has received Federal Financial Aid and has been granted a leave of absence by the school is NOT considered withdrawn from school. A school may approve a leave of absence to a student provided:

  • The student has made a written request to be granted a leave of absence, signed and approved by their advisor.
  • The leave of absence involves no additional charges by the school to the student.
  • In any 12 months, the student can have no more than one leave of absence, and the leave of absence cannot exceed 6 months.
  • The leave of absence is authorized under these stipulations: medical reasons, job crisis, significant family sickness or death and other extenuating circumstances

Withdrawing from the California Jazz Conservatory
A student who wishes to permanently withdraw from the CJC must file a Withdrawal Form with the Registrar. Withdrawal Forms are available from the Registrar in the Main Office. The notice to permanently withdraw will be considered effective no later than the date it is received by the Registrar. Permanent withdrawal may be effectu- ated by a student’s written notice or by a student’s conduct, including, but not necessarily limited to, a student’s lack of attendance.

All financial and academic penalties apply as of the date the notice to permanently withdraw is received by the Registrar. Exceptions may be made for family or medical emergencies with valid documentation.

Please note: Students who have permanently withdrawn and subsequently wish to return to the CJC must reapply for admission as a new student (see under Admission Requirements).

Return of Title IV Funds
The Financial Aid Office is required by federal statute to recalculate Federal Financial Aid eligibility for students who withdraw, drop out, are dismissed, or take a leave of absence. The federal Title IV financial aid for which a student is eligible must be recalculated when any of these situations occur prior to the student completing 60% of a payment period or term.

Recalculation is based on the percentage of “earned” aid using the following Federal Return of Title IV funds formula:

Number of days completed up to the withdrawal date ÷ Total days in the term.

Any funds not “earned” according to the above formula will be returned to the appropriate federal source (loan funds will be returned before grants). In some cases, the amount required to be returned may be more than what the student owes the CJC according to the CJC Refund Policy, in which case the student will need to make arrangements with the CJC to pay any balances.

FERPA Confidentiality
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 is a federal law that establishes the rights of students with regard to education records, and ensures students of the right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to those records. It applies to colleges and universities that receive funding from the federal government. Records created and maintained by the financial aid office are considered to be education records and may not be disclosed without the student’s consent. This means that (unless required by law) the Financial Aid Office will not discuss specifics of a student’s financial aid unless the student has provided a written release to discuss and/or disclose their records with someone other than themselves (i.e., with a parent, guardian, etc.).

Financial Aid Code of Conduct
The Higher Education Opportunity Act requires institu- tions of higher education participating in the administra- tion of educational loan programs to develop and publish a Code of Conduct (34 CFR 601.21).

The CJC Financial Aid Code of Conduct
The California Jazz Conservatory (CJC) expects the highest levels of professionalism and ethical behavior from all officers, employees, and agents whose responsi- bilities include student financial aid matters. These individuals must avoid even the appearance or perception of any conflict of interest regarding their student aid responsibilities. They must refrain from taking any action they believe is contrary to law, regulation, or the best interest of the students they are serving, and must disclose all conflicts identified in this policy.

Any CJC officer, employee, or agent who has responsibilities with respect to student educational loans is required to comply with this Code of Conduct as outlined below.

  • The CJC does not enter into any revenue-sharing arrangement with any lender.
  • No officer, employee or agent of the CJC who is employed in the financial aid office or who otherwise has responsibilities with respect to education loans, will solicit or accept any gift or other thing of value from a lender, guarantor, or servicer of education loans.
  • Certain items provided or contributed by lenders are not considered gifts, such as training materials for staff, entrance and exit counseling services including providing educational counseling materials, financial literacy materials, or debt management materials to borrowers, provided that such materials disclose to borrowers the identification of any lender that assisted in preparing or providing such materials.
  • No officer, employee or agent of the CJC who is employed in the financial aid office or who otherwise has responsibilities with respect to education loans, will accept from any lender or affiliate of any lender, any fee, payment, or other financial benefit (including the opportunity to purchase stock) as compensation for any type of consulting arrangement or other contract to provide services to a lender or on behalf of a lender relating to education loans.
  • The CJC will not, for any first-time borrower, assign, through award packaging or other methods, the borrower’s loan to a particular lender or refuse to certify, or delay certification of, any loan based on the borrower’s selection of a particular lender or guaranty agency.
  • The CJC will not request or accept from any lender, any offer of funds to be used for private education loans, including funds for an opportunity pool loan, to students in exchange for the campus providing concessions or promises regarding providing the lender with a specified number of loans made, insured, or guaranteed, a specified loan volume, or a preferred lender arrangement for such loans.
  • The CJC does not request or accept from any lender any assistance with call center staffing or financial aid office staffing.

No employee of the CJC who is employed in the financial aid office or who otherwise has responsibili- ties with respect to education loans or other student financial aid and who serves on an advisory board, commission, or group established by a lender, guarantor, or group of lenders or guarantors, will receive anything of value from the lender, guarantor, or group of lenders or guarantors for such service.

Contact the CJC Financial Aid Office:
(510) 845-5373 ext. 17