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.

Loan information and applications for 2017-2018 will be available in July.

Domestic Students

Federal Direct Loans

  • Federal Direct Loans are available to all domestic undergraduate students. Eligibility for Direct Loans are determined by the FAFSA.
  • Federal Direct Loans are either Subsidized or Unsubsidized. Subsidized Loans have the interest on the loan paid by the Department of Education while the student is enrolled; Unsubsidized Loans have interest accruing on the loan from the moment of disbursement to the student account.
  • Interest Rate = 3.76% for loans disbursed between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017.
    • 4.45% for loans disbursed after July 1, 2017.
  • For any loan processed prior to October 1, 2017, there is a 1.069% origination fee assessed on the loan amount borrowed Calculate Fee.
    • After speaking with a Financial Aid Officer about your borrowing eligibility and other financing options, make sure to submit a Direct Loan Request form.

Perkins Loans

The Perkins Loan Program is ending as of September 30, 2017. We are unable to process any Perkins Loan requests after this date.

  • Perkins funds are available on a first-come first-serve basis for qualifying students with federal eligibility.
  • You will need to borrow your annual maximum Direct Loan amount prior to being eligible for any Perkins Loan funding.
  • Perkins Loans are subsidized and have a fixed interest rate of 5%.
    • After speaking with a Financial Aid Officer about your borrowing eligibility and other financing options, make sure to submit a Perkins Loan Request form.

Private Loans

  • Some students choose private education loans when they need more flexible repayment options and more funding than what a federal loan can provide. Private education loans are loans borrowed from a private source, including banks, credit unions, and private lenders.
  • Borrowing requirements; repayment options; and interest rates will vary from lender to lender.
  • Columbia University provides a few lender options with its Suggested Lender List. This is not an exhaustive list of available lenders. Borrowers should review and verify the exact terms, conditions, qualifications, and disclosures associated with any loan product with the lender.
    • After applying and being approved for a private loan, make sure to submit a Private Loan Form. We will not certify your loan until you have done so, which might delay payment of your student account.

International Students

Private Loans

  • Private education loans are loans borrowed from a private source, including banks, credit unions, and private lenders. Some families choose private education loans when they need more flexible repayment options.
  • Borrowing requirements; repayment options; and interest rates will vary from loan to loan and lender to lender. Make sure to do your research when considering a private loan.
  • Columbia University provides a few lender options with its Suggested Lender List.
  • Lenders on this list are merely suggested lenders. This is not an exhaustive list of available lenders.
  • Note that all lenders listed require a credit-worthy US-based co-signer.
    • After applying and being approved for a private loan, make sure to submit a Private Loan Form on our website. We will not certify your loan until you have done so, which might delay payment of your student account.

Parent Borrowers

Direct Parent PLUS Loans

  • Columbia University is now using the Direct PLUS Loan Request process through StudentLoans.gov. This means that you will request the Parent PLUS loan through the Department of Education’s website and will initiate the credit check yourself.
  • Parents who are US Citizens or eligible non-citizens, with a US-based address, are able to borrow up to the Cost of Attendance total in a Parent PLUS Loan through the Department of Education.
  • Interest Rate = 6.31% for loans disbursed between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017.
    • 7.00% for loans disbursed after July 1, 2017.
    • For any Parent PLUS loan processed prior to October 1, 2017, there is a 4.276% origination fee assessed on the loan amount borrowed Calculate Fee.

  • Repayment can be deferred until graduation, by arrangement with the loan servicer.

Private Loans

  • Private education loans are loans borrowed from a private source, including banks, credit unions, and private lenders. Some families choose private education loans when they need more flexible repayment options.
  • Borrowing requirements; repayment options; and interest rates will vary from loan to loan and lender to lender. Make sure to do your research when considering a private loan.
  • Columbia University provides a few lender options with its Suggested Lender List.
  • Lenders on this list are merely suggested lenders. This is not an exhaustive list of available lenders.
  • Note that all lenders listed require a credit-worthy US-based co-signer.
    • After applying and being approved for a private loan, make sure to submit a Private LoanForm on our website. We will not certify your loan until you have done so, which might delay payment of your student account.