Columbia Financial Aid and Educational Financing

FAQs: Admitted Students

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Can I purchase a computer with my financial aid?

The cost of a computer is not part of the student budget. Student loans are available to cover a computer that is purchased during the academic year. If you are interested in borrowing a loan to cover the cost of a computer please contact us at

If you have an outside scholarship that exceeds the amount of your Student Contribution (SC) and Work Expectation, up to $1500 of the computer cost may be able to be covered by the scholarship. Note this policy is not applicable to tablet purchases.

Whether borrowing a loan or receiving an outside scholarship to cover the cost, you will be asked to provide a receipt of the purchase.

Do I have to pay the Health Service fee if I am covered by my parents’ medical insurance?

Yes. The Health Service Fee is a mandatory fee to all students residing on campus, and enables students access to the services offered by Columbia’s Health Services (the on-campus infirmary).

Please note that this fee is separate from the Student Health Insurance cost, which can be waived for students who are otherwise covered.

For additional information please visit the Health Services site:

When do I file the FAFSA?

The FAFSA becomes available on October 1, 2020 for the 2021-2022 academic year. 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 utilize the Data Retrieval Tool.

Early Decision: The FAFSA is due November 15, 2020.

Regular Decision: The FAFSA is due February 15, 2021.

Transfer/Combined Plan: The FAFSA is due March 1, 2021.

Continuing Students: The FAFSA is due May 5, 2021.

What is Federal Verification?

Federal Verification is a process which requires our office to verify the information provided on the FAFSA. To do this, families must provide documentation to corroborate that the personal and tax information reported on the FAFSA matches the tax returns submitted to the IRS. Additional information on this process is available on our verification page.

PLEASE NOTE: Our office will work with all newly admitted students who enroll to collect required documentation during the summer for the Federal Verification process.

How do I log into the Online Financial Aid System?

To sign in please enter your Student ID (starts with the letter C followed by 9 numbers) and your Password (date of birth, MMDDCCYY format) in the 'Log-In' box. Do not use the 'First Time User' link even if you are a first-time user. Once logged in, follow the prompts to set up a new password and create security questions. If you haven't been assigned a Student ID yet, please contact your admissions office.

I tried to log in and received "error code IA". What should I do?

Please do not use the 'First Time User' link even if you are a first-time user. Instead, go directly to the 'Log In' box and enter your Student ID (starts with the letter C followed by 9 numbers) and your Password (date of birth, MMDDCCYY format). If you are still unable to log in, use the 'Forgot Your Password?' link and follow the prompts. If this doesn't work, please contact our office to have your password reset.

What if all of my financial aid materials are not received by the deadline?

We accept documents after the deadline without penalty. Please allow up to 8 business days for documents to be processed after you have submitted them to IDOC or Columbia. We ask that you do not resubmit documents as duplicate materials will delay processing.