Columbia Financial Aid and Educational Financing

Education Loans

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While Columbia does not require loans as part of the financial aid package for any student, families may choose to borrow loans to finance all or a portion of the expected Family Contribution. We recommend speaking to a Financial Aid Officer prior to applying to determine accurate borrowing needs. 

Please note: Applications for Summer loan funds are now available. Students enrolled in six credits or more may borrow a Federal Loan up to their yearly maximum.  Students who borrow in the summer will have reduced or no federal student loan eligibility for the subsequent Fall and Spring semesters. Students enrolled in less than six credits are only eligible for educational loans secured through private lenders.

Federal Direct Loan

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Annual Loan LimitsDependent Undergraduate StudentsIndependent Undergraduate Students (and dependent students whose parents are denied a Parent PLUS Loan)
First Year
Subsidized$3,500
Unsubsidized$2,000
Total$5,500
Subsidized$3,500
Unsubsidized$6,000
Total$9,500
Second Year
Subsidized$4,500
Unsubsidized$2,000
Total$6,500
Subsidized$4,500
Unsubsidized$6,000
Total$10,500
Third Year & Beyond
Subsidized$5,500
Unsubsidized$2,000
Total$7,500
Subsidized$5,500
Unsubsidized$7,000
Total$12,500

* The actual loan amount you are eligible to receive each academic year may be less than the annual loan limit. Speak with an officer for individual borrowing eligibility.

  • Interest Rate = 3.76% for loans disbursed after July 1, 2016.
  • Origination Fee from October 1, 2015- September 30, 2016 is 1.068%  Calculate Fee
  • Subsidized Loans: Interest begins accruing after the six-month grace period (post-graduation or during a period of unenrollment longer than six months).
  • Unsubsidized Loans: Interest accrues once the loan is disbursed to the student account.
    *Students must qualify for subsidized student loans. If students are not eligible for any subsidized loan, they are still able to borrow the maximum in an unsubsidized loan.
  • Students can estimate post-graduation monthly loan repayment using the Repayment Estimator.
  • Read more about the Federal Direct Loan.

Federal Perkins Loan

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  • Perkins funds are available on a first-come first-serve basis for qualifying students with federal eligibility. To determine if you are eligible for a Perkins loan, please contact our office.
  • Before requesting Perkins funds, students should first borrow their full Direct Federal Stafford loan eligibility.
  • Undergraduate students may borrow a maximum of $5,500 (if eligible).
  • 2016-2017 Interest Rate= 5%
  • No interest will accrue while the student is enrolled in school at least half-time.
  • Read more about the Federal Perkins loan.

Federal Parent PLUS Loan

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  • Parents may borrow up to the total cost of attendance minus any other financial assistance received.
  • Interest Rate = 6.31% for loans disbursed after July 1, 2016.
  • Origination Fee from October 1, 2015- September 30, 2016 is 4.272%  Calculate Fee
  • To borrow the PLUS Loan, parents must pass a credit review and must not have adverse credit.
  • If a parent is denied the PLUS based on credit, our office will contact them with options to appeal the decision directly with the Dept. of Education, re-apply for the PLUS Loan with an Endorser, or with steps their student can take to obtain additional unsubsidized Stafford Loan funds.
  • PLUS Loans automatically go into repayment once the loan disburses, but parents have the option to contact their Loan Servicer directly to request repayment be deferred until after the student graduates.
  • Read more about the PLUS Loan

Private & International Loans

Apply Now for 2016-2017

Apply for 2015-2016

Private Loans

  • Some families turn to private education loans when federal loans don't provide enough money or when they need more flexible repayment options. However, since federal education loans are usually less expensive than and offer better terms than private student loans, you should consider your federal loan options prior to applying for a private loan. 
  • Families must secure these loans with the lender directly and then complete our online application in order for the loan to be certified.
  • Fees and interest rates vary based on the lender. Columbia offers a Suggested Lender List for families to reference. Please note you do not have to choose a lender on this list.
  • The Department of Education School Code for Columbia = 002707 and the Campus Code for Columbia College = 10 and  Columbia Engineering = 04.  These codes MUST be used on all private loan applications in order to ensure proper processing.

International Student Loans

  • International students may apply for educational loans using a private lender of their choice.
  • Please note: some lenders may require students to apply with a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident creditworthy cosigner.
  • Columbia offers a Suggested Lender List for families to reference. Please note you do not have to choose a lender on this list.
  • Once students secure a loan with the lender directly, they must then complete our online application in order for the loan to be certified.
  • The Department of Education School Code for Columbia = 002707 and the Campus Code for Columbia College = 10 and  Columbia Engineering = 04.  These codes MUST be used on all private loan applications in order to ensure proper processing.