Columbia Financial Aid and Educational Financing

Frequently Asked Questions

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In addition to these frequently asked questions, we encourage you to explore our website to learn more about our financial aid policies and how you can apply for aid. We are here to work with you and your family in developing a plan to pay for college at Columbia University. Students and parents may review available financing options. Financial Aid Officers are also here to answer any questions prospective, newly admitted, or current students/parents may have.

What is an FSA ID, and will I need it to complete the FAFSA?

The FSA ID allows students and parents to identify themselves electronically to access FSA Web sites. An FSA ID is made up of a username and password and can be used to log into FAFSA on the Web.

While you are not required to have an FSA ID to complete and submit a FAFSA application, it is the fastest way to sign your application and have it processed. It is also the only way to access or correct your information online, or to pre-fill a FAFSA application with information from your previous year’s FAFSA.

If you do not have an FSA ID, you can create one on the following page: https://fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm

If you have an FSA ID but do not remember your username, click Forgot Username.

If you have an FSA ID but do not remember your password, click Forgot Password.

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 in to financial aid document tracking?

To sign in please enter your Student ID (starts with the letter C followed by 9 numbers) and your PIN is your date of birth (MMDDCCYY). If you haven't been assigned a Student ID yet, please contact your admissions office. After logging in; you will be asked to create a new PIN and create security questions.

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

If you receive the error message 'Code IA' when attempting to log in as a first-time user, please try logging in as a returning user.

If you are still unable to log in after trying to log in as both a first-time user and a returning user, 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 10 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.

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