Financial Aid

Frequently Asked Questions

Applying for Financial Aid

How do I apply for financial aid?
Claremont McKenna College uses both the FAFSA (for federal and state aid) and the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE in addition to the FAFSA (for institutional need-based aid) in our financial aid application process; however, the deadlines and processes vary for prospective students and current students. Please visit the section on our website on applying for financial aid for a detailed explanation of both processes.

Help! I am experiencing problems submitting my FAFSA and/or CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE.
The Claremont McKenna College Office of Financial Aid uses the FAFSA and CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE to determine financial eligibility, but we do not produce either application. If you have questions about completing the application, please have all relevant tax information available when you contact the Claremont McKenna College Office of Financial Aid. Unfortunately, if you have technical difficulty with these applications, we are unable to assist with them. Please contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1.800.4.FED.AID for difficulties with the FAFSA, and College Board at 305.829.9793 for difficulties with the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE.

What is the FAFSA-IRS Data Retrieval process?
The Office of Federal Student Aid and the Internal Revenue Service have worked together to develop a process, known as the IRS Data Retrieval process, to simplify the steps to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).This process will allow you to automatically have your family’s income information input into your FAFSA. The process enables FAFSA to request and retrieve income and tax data directly from the IRS.

Do I have to file taxes to apply for financial aid?
No. Claremont McKenna College does not require that you file taxes to complete our application. If you are not required by state or federal agencies to file income taxes, please complete and send a “Student Nonfiler Form” or “Parent Nonfiler Form,” available on the Forms section of our website, and W2s if applicable, in lieu of tax returns and schedules. If you are unsure whether you are required to file state or federal income tax returns, please contact a tax professional.

Why haven’t you received the documents I sent to IDOC?
When documents are uploaded through the College Board’s Institutional Document Service (IDOC) they are processed and made available to the CMC Office of Financial Aid. Unfortunately, this process is not instantaneous. Please allow at least 2-3 business days for processing before CMC has access to the documents you have sent. If you are experiencing unusual delays, please contact the College Board’s IDOC service at 954.622.1484 to inquire about the status of your documents.

What are "interactive" PDFs?
Interactive PDFs are files that can be opened with Adobe Reader, a free program, and completed on the computer. These documents can be signed electronically and emailed to our office. This allows families who do not live in the same household or who live far from CMC to bypass postal delays and instead submit forms instantly from any computer in the world with an internet connection.

Where do I find the documents you requested?
As part of our new electronic financial aid application process, all requested documents can now be downloaded from the “Forms” section of our website and submitted electronically or printed and submitted via fax or mail. You will be able to check the status of your file or view any documents that you still need to submit using Net Partner.

How can I submit an Interactive PDF?
After completing the PDF form in Adobe Reader, submit the documents electronically to If you prefer to use a more familiar method, we will continue to accept forms via fax at 909.607.0661, or via mail. If you plan on using one of these methods instead of electronically submitting the forms, you can download and print any required documents, and submit them after completion.