Financial Aid

Making it work.

Most colleges in the country increase their tuition and fees every year, but AAC is the first and only private art school in the country to implement a Four-Year Tuition Promise! The Financial Aid Office is dedicated to help you not only through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process, but to also provide you with additional avenues to help pay for your college education when needed. Most of our students receive some form of financial aid, ranging from competitive scholarships to need-based grants and loans.

Getting Started

Financial Aid | Financial Aid

You can rest assured that the AAC Financial Aid Office will provide you with the information you need to make a sound financial decision. This information will be provided through the students’ Campus Café portal, as well as a one-on-one conversation between the student/family and the Financial Aid Department.

The financial aid process can be challenging, and sometimes additional documents are required to process your financial aid. Both the student, as well as their parent(s) (if dependent), can help this process by checking the email listed on your admission application and FAFSA frequently. The AAC Financial Aid Office will do everything in its power to get your financial aid package processed as soon as possible, though we will need your participation during the process.

2024-2025 FAFSA & Awarding

2024-2025 FAFSA Soft Launch: 10 Things You Need to Know | Edvisors

The 2024-25 FAFSA is currently available at

We are now actively receiving 2024-25 FAFSA data from the Department of Education

Here is what happens next:

  • For Example: Once Student Nicole Smith’s FAFSA data is loaded and reviewed in our system, Student Nicole Smith will receive a confirmation email from our AAC Financial Aid Office.
    • If Student Nicole Smith is a new student at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, Nicole will receive an email about scheduling a “Package Review” for the 2024/2025 Academic Year. This is a REQUIREMENT.
      • Student Nicole’s financial aid offer will include a summary of aid options, such as scholarships, grants, and loans.
    • If Student Nicole is a current student, the student will receive an email to review their award offer to accept, adjust, or decline.
      • Nicole’s financial aid offer will include a summary of aid options, such as scholarships, grants, and loans.
  • We recommend Nicole log into the FAFSA account and verify that your family’s data was sent to the Art Academy of Cincinnati (003011). If not, you (parent) and Nico will need to wait until the Department of Education allows corrections beginning in mid-April to add us.
  • Some students and parents may have corrections or updates to make to their FAFSA. We have been alerted by the Department of Education that students and parents should be able to make corrections to the FAFSA in mid-April. Art Academy of Cincinnati Office of Financial Aid will also attempt to alert Nico of the need to review your FAFSA once we are able to identify any issues that may require correction.
  • If Nicole has not filed the FAFSA, please remember it is not too late to file. More students than ever before will receive federal aid this year. Our school code is 003011.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office. We are here to help. 

2024/2025 FAFSA Changes

There will be three more obvious changes that all families will experience when completing the new FAFSA.

  • Simplification: The FAFSA will reduce the maximum number of questions from 108 to 46. And because the FAFSA on the Web is dynamic, some students won’t even be presented with all 46 questions. Recent FAFSAs dropped, and others will no longer be asked due to the way that tax and income information will be shared.
  • Tax/Income Data: Previously, students, a student’s spouse (when married), and parent(s) (when students are dependent) entered their tax information or used the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to transfer tax data from the IRS to the FAFSA. Beginning with 2024-25, all persons listing tax information on the FAFSA will be required to use the IRS Direct Data Exchange (DDX) to share tax information or confirm non-filing status. DDX gives ease to the process and reduces the number of questions to be answered. This change also requires the student, spouse, and all parents with tax data reported to get a personal FSA ID (if you don’t each have one already).
  • Student Aid Index: The FAFSA previously calculated an Estimated Family Contribution (EFC). Now the FAFSA will produce the Student Aid Index (SAI). This name more accurately describes a number used to determine aid eligibility within programs and compared to other students. Also, this number, unlike the EFC, can be negative with the minimum SAI being -1500.

EFC becoming SAI is more than a name update. The calculation of the SAI differs from the EFC calculation of the past and makes the following changes that may change your aid eligibility:

  • No benefit for having siblings in college: The FAFSA previously divided the EFC proportionally based on the number of households in college. The elimination of this “sibling discount” will be the biggest change in aid eligibility for some students. The SAI will not use the number in college as a factor in the calculation of eligibility. As such, AAC students with siblings in college may see a change in their aid eligibility at AAC as well as with the aid received by their sibling(s) at AAC or elsewhere. The determination to no longer consider numbers in college was made by Congress and can only be changed by Congress.
  • Automatic Pell Grants based on income and household size: Families making less than 175% and single parents making less than 225% of the federal poverty level will see their students receive a maximum Federal Pell amount award. Minimum Pell Grants will be guaranteed to students from households below 275%, 325%, 350%, or 400% of the poverty level, depending on household structure. Pell awards between the maximum and minimum amounts will be determined by SAI.
  • Larger Income Protection Allowances: The Income Protection Allowance (IPA) covers a family’s basic living expenses and is excluded from SAI formulas. New, larger IPAs lower the amount of student or parent income considered to be available to pay for college. IPAs will increase by 20% for parents, up to about $2400 (35%) for most students, and up to about $6500 (60%) for students who are single parents.
  • Inclusion of family farms or small businesses: When required, families will now report the value of their farms or businesses. While this inclusion continues to be debated in Congress, it will require reporting for appropriate families on the 2024-25 FAFSA and can influence the SAI.

Additional Updates on the 2024-25 aid process will be noted here.

Watch the 2024-25 FAFSA FAQs playlist to better understand what’s changed on the new 2024-25 FAFSA form.

Unique Circumstances

FAFSA special circumstances explained

Dependency Appeal

Student status for purposes of financial aid is defined by federal regulations and is determined through a series of questions when completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Art Academy of Cincinnati and the State of Ohio follow these same regulations when determining aid eligibility.

NOTE: When completing the FAFSA, you are likely not to be asked all of these questions. If your answers to simplified versions of these questions provide enough information, the system will avoid taking the student through a long series of somewhat complicated scenarios as described in full below.

Dependent students are required, when completing the FAFSA, to include parental information. Independent students do not have to use parental financial and household information when filing their FAFSA.

You are considered a dependent student for aid purposes unless one or more of the following very specific conditions is met:

  • AGE
    • You are 24 as of January 1 of the FAFSA filing year (i.e., you do not become independent when you turn 24).
    • You are or will be enrolled in a master’s or doctoral degree program
      (beyond a bachelor’s degree with at least 72 undergraduate hours – at the beginning of the academic year.
    • You’re married on the day you complete the FAFSA (even if you are separated but not divorced).
    • You are currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training.
    • You’re a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces. (A “veteran” includes students who attended a U.S. service academy and were released under a condition other than dishonorable. For more details on who is considered a veteran, see the explanatory notes on the FAFSA.)
    • You have children who will receive more than half their support from you between July 1st and June 30th of the FAFSA academic year.
    • You have legal dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half their support from you now and through June 30th of the FAFSA academic year.
    • When you were age 13 or older, both your parents were deceased and you were in foster care or a dependent or ward of the court.
    • You are or were an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence.
    • You are or were in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence.
    • At any time on or after July 1 of the year after the tax year used on the FAFSA, 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 1 of the year after the tax year used on the FAFSA, the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program, funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, they were determined that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless.
    • At any time on or after July 1 of the year after the tax year used on the FAFSA, 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 self-supporting and at risk of being homeless.

Some students find themselves in more extreme situations that prevent a student from being able to have parents complete the FAFSA. If you don’t know where your parents are or you’ve left home due to an abusive situation, contact the AAC Office of Financial Aid. We can assist you with the proper course of action.

Parent refusal or desire not to complete the FAFSA is not the same as an inability for parents to complete the FAFSA.

There are many sensitive family issues, and staff will work with you within federal regulation limitations to get you the proper aid

For the Dependency Override Form – please email us at 

Income Changes and Unique Educational Expenses

Your FAFSA is completed using financial data from two years ago. While most families experience consistent income from year to year, other situations like job loss, retirement, death, or divorce can change income matters significantly. We will review such a situation with an eye on how it may affect your aid eligibility. Ultimately, staff can help to determine if your situation is worth your extra effort to collect additional documentation.

Students who have specific expenses related to their cost of education (i.e., child care for preschool-aged children, instrument purchases for performance majors) can request an appeal via the AAC Office of Financial. However, recognize that such increases usually only impact some graduate and parent plus loan borrowing. 

For the Special Circumstances Form – please email us at 

Download the Financial Aid Checklist and make sure you are prepared.

Financial Aid Documents

Financial Aid documents are due within 3 weeks of being requested, and no later than April 1st for current students & July 15th for incoming students. It is strongly encouraged that students (incoming & returning) meet with the Financial Aid Office for a Financial Aid Package Review before they can register for classes. 


♦Please Click on the link below to complete the 24/25 Verification Worksheet♦

2024-25 AAC Verification Worksheet

Please check your email listed on the FAFSA regularly. 

Documents can be submitted to the Financial Aid Office via email, fax, or mail.

Disbursement of Funds

AAC scholarships will be disbursed from the Financial Aid Office to the Business Office shortly before the start of each semester. 

Outside scholarships will be disbursed once AAC has received the check from the outside (non AAC) foundation. Outside scholarships will be split into two disbursements (Fall & Spring) unless noted otherwise.

Federal Financial Aid will be disbursed from the Department of Education to the eligible student’s tuition accounts on or around the second week of each semester, provided that the student and/or parent have submitted all the required documents on time. Once the federal aid has been disbursed to the tuition account a Title IV refund will be processed within 14 days to those that have a credit balance on their tuition account.

Aid from the State of Ohio (OCOG) will be disbursed closer to the middle of the semester once AAC has received the funds from the state.

Though Financial Aid is disbursed at the beginning of the semester it is earned throughout the semester. If you withdraw from classes after the first day of the semester your aid is subject to change, per Department of Education regulations. This adjustment may result in a balance owed to the school, as the school is required to return any unearned funds to the Department of Education on the student’s behalf. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the AAC Financial Aid Office, as we are always here to help!!

Office of Financial Aid

Hours: Mon-Fri, 9am-4pm


Phone: 513-562-8751

Fax: 513-562-8778

Art Academy of Cincinnati
Attention: Financial Aid
1212 Jackson Street
Cincinnati 45202

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January 25th, 2023

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