FAQs: Currently Enrolled Students
For information on the financial aid renewal application please visit the Apply for Aid section of our website.
If you submitted your financial aid application materials by the May deadline, you should receive the financial aid award by early July. After this, financial aid awards will be sent out on a rolling basis throughout the summer.
Our Appeals Committee will meet regularly during the last week of July and throughout August to review requests for a reevaluation of financial aid eligibility. You can submit a request to have your financial aid award reconsidered for one of the following reasons:
- Your family’s financial circumstances have changed since you originally submitted the financial aid application.
- Your family’s financial circumstances are complex in nature, and you would like us to review the file again with new information or clarification not previously submitted.
As appeals vary, and can be sensitive in nature, we recommend that you contact our office and speak with a financial aid officer prior to submitting a request. All requests for reconsideration should be done using our Request An Appeal page.
Outside scholarships can be applied to replace, dollar for dollar, the Student Contribution (SC) and Work-Expectation components of the financial aid award. If the total amount of outside scholarship funds exceeds the SC and Work-Expectation, it will then begin reducing the Columbia grant. Outside scholarships will NOT reduce the Parent Contribution.
Additional information can be found on our outside scholarship page.
Billing at Columbia is only sent online. Students will receive an e-mail notification when a new E-Bill is generated. For parents or other third parties to receive billing notifications, the student needs to first set them up as Authorized Payers to the account. To do this, the student should log into Student Services Online (SSOL), click on Account, select the View E-Bill and Pay by E-Check option, and then go to the Authorize Payers, and set up an account for each person he/she wishes to receive the bill.
Please note that there are two different ways in which to view the account. The first is the official E-Bill. The E-Bill is a monthly snapshot of the account balance at a given time, and will not update until a new E-Bill is generated. The second is the Recent Activity section. This section is updated daily, and will reflect the most current account balance.
Interest on a Direct Subsidized Loan is paid by the U.S. Department of Education while you are in school at least half-time and during your six-month grace period after you leave school. If you are unsure about your eligibility, please contact our office.
Direct Unsubsidized Loans begin to accrue interest once the loan has disbursed to the student account.
Your tax return information is not visible because of added security and privacy protections.
Yes. We will have access to the tax return information that is transferred via the IRS DRT and will follow up with you if we notice issues or need more information.
Students are expected to make their own travel arrangements to their abroad program including the purchase of a plane ticket to their destination. The Financial Aid office does not provide any assistance or additional funds to pay for a student's travel and advises that families purchase flights early to take advantage of lower prices. Eligible students will be notified via email when their refunds will be disbursed if their program begins prior to the Columbia semester start date. Otherwise, students' aid will disburse based at the beginning of the respective semester and can be monitored through their SSOL accounts under "View Student Account Detail By Term."
Families are expected to pay the enrollment deposit for their student's study abroad program and adhere to the deadlines set by that institution. However, a student's enrollment deposit can be deferred if they receive enough financial aid that the anticipated refund will cover the program's fees. Eligible students can visit the Office of Financial Aid to determine if their expected aid will generate a refund and complete the necessary documentation to have the payment deferred. Students should consult their specific program to understand what documentation is required in order to have their deposit deferred. Please be aware that not every student will receive a refund to defer the enrollment deposit and should expect to cover said fee in order to avoid complications with matriculation.
Yes, Columbia is committed to meeting 100% of the demonstrated financial need of all students admitted as first-years or transfer students pursuing their first degree, regardless of citizenship status. For admissions purposes, undocumented students are reviewed in a need-blind manner, without regard to financial need.
Columbia is committed to meeting 100% of the demonstrated financial need of all students admitted as first-years or transfer students pursuing their first degree, regardless of citizenship status. Undocumented students, including those with DACA status, are not eligible to receive federal and state financial aid, so Columbia meets their need entirely from institutional resources.
Undocumented students should not file the FAFSA, whether or not they hold DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status. Undocumented students should submit the CSS Profile as well as prior year federal tax returns and W-2s via IDOC. If applicable, the CSS Non-Custodial Profile and/or Business/Farm tax forms should also be submitted.
Columbia is committed to meeting 100% of the demonstrated financial need of all students admitted as first-years or transfer students pursuing their first degree, regardless of citizenship status. Undocumented students, regardless of DACA status, are not eligible to receive federal and state financial aid.
A change in a student's DACA status would have no impact on existing financial aid. Columbia is committed to meeting 100% of the demonstrated financial need of all students admitted as first-years or transfer students pursuing their first degree, regardless of citizenship status.
You will be unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if you have indicated that you have not yet filed or will not file a federal tax return; if you filed electronically within the last 3 weeks or through the mail within the last 11 weeks; if you filed a foreign or Puerto Rican tax return; if you filed a tax return using an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN); or if you indicated on the FAFSA that you are married but filed separately from your spouse (Married, Filing Separately; or Head of Household).
You may still be eligible to receive a PLUS loan. To become eligible you must either:
· Obtain an endorser.
· Document extenuating circumstances to the satisfaction of the U.S. Department of Education.
· In either situation, you will need to complete PLUS Credit Counseling, prior to becoming eligible for the PLUS loan.
Please review the Adverse Credit Conditions considered by the Department of Education on their FAQ page.
Your parent will not be able to borrow a Federal Parent PLUS loan without a Social Security Number; please contact our office for additional financing options.
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 (available in July).
Some students and families choose to finance a portion of their Parent Contribution (PC) or Student Contribution (SC) with education loans. Information on different financing options is available on the Education Loans portion of our website.