Columbia Financial Aid and Educational Financing

Admitted Students

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Congratulations on your Early Decision admission to Columbia University! We know you may have many questions about financing your educational expenses. Our staff is dedicated to partnering with you in planning how best to finance your education, and we look forward to working with you. We encourage you to explore the important information on financial aid at Columbia on the website pages below. Please contact us with any questions you may have.

Check your Financial Aid Application Status
Log in with your Columbia Student ID to view important details and instructions regarding your financial aid eligibilty.
Application Instructions
Review the timeline to finalize your financial aid application.  
Types of Aid
Understand the various types of aid that may be part of the financial aid award.
On-Campus Jobs
Learn more about Federal Work-Study and Student Employment.
Outside Scholarships
Learn about how scholarships from outside organizations may impact your aid.
Plan for your E-Bill
Use our Bill Estimator Tool to estimate what your E-Bill will look like for Fall and Spring, and begin reviewing available financing options.
Appeals Process
Connect with a Financial Aid Officer about any change in your family's circumstances.

If you have any questions about your financial aid eligibility or would like to discuss financing options with a Financial Aid Officer, please contact our office.

Related FAQs

What is the Net Cost?

The net cost is the amount your family should expect to pay towards your billed and non-billed education expenses for the academic year. It is the combination of the Student Responsibility and the Parent Contribution.

What is the Student Responsibility?

All financial aid recepients are expected to contribute towards the Student Reponsibility, which consists of the Student Contribution and Student Employment.  

All incoming First-Year students have a minimum Student Contribution of $2,400 as part of their financial aid award; a contribution from student assets may be included.  The expectation is that the student will earn this amount in the summer preceding their first academic year. We do not mandate, however, that students work during the summer. Students and their families may cover this amount with outside scholarships, savings, parental assistance, and/or other financing options if they choose to.

Student Employment is also part of the financial aid award.  Students earn this amount during the Fall and Spring semesters.  This amount typically goes towards non-billed expenses, such as books/supplies and other personal expenses.  This expectation is also not required, and may be covered by outside scholarships, savings, parental assistance, and/or other financing options.

In future years, students who obtain unpaid summer or semester internships may apply for additional grant to cover these expectations through the Work Exemption Program.


Is my award finalized?

Early Decision applicants- The financial aid award you received is an estimate based on prior year tax returns and estimates provided in the CSS Profile. Please visit our Apply for Aid section to see what steps you will take to complete your financial aid application with current year taxes, and the FAFSA. Over the summer you will receive a finalized award letter based on your updated information, and the final costs once approved by the Board of Trustees.

Regular Decision applicants- If your financial aid award was reviewed with current tax returns, then your financial aid eligibility is final. If your family applied using prior year information as current year were not filed yet, than you will receive a final award once the current information is submitted.

What will my bill look like?

Your financial aid award is separate from your bill. The financial aid budget includes billed items (such as tuition & fees, housing and meal plan) and unbilled items (such as books, and personal expenses), which will not appear on the bill. Your Estimated Family Contribution (Parent Contribution plus Student Contribution) will not match your bill dollar for dollar.

Additional information about the E-Billing process is sent students during the summer.  The Fall semester E-Bill will be sent to students and authorized payers in mid-August and is due in early September. 

For an estimate of what your bill will look like, please utilize our Bill Estimator Tool.

When do I file the FAFSA?

The FAFSA is available beginning January 1, 2016.  It is submitted online and requires both the student and parent to create an FSA ID, if they do not already have one.  We strongly encourage families to complete the FAFSA after they file their 2015 taxes, so that they may utlize the Data Retrieval Tool.  

Early Decision:  The FAFSA is due April 22, 2016.

Regular Decision:  The FAFSA is due March 1, 2016.

Transfer/Combined Plan:  The FAFSA is due March 1, 2016.

Continuing Students:  The FAFSA is due May 5, 2016.