Columbia University Student Financial Services and the School of Professional Studies hosted a webinar on financial aid options for applicants and admitted students. Included below are some of the frequently asked questions on financial aid resources, the Federal Work-Study program, and tuition/fees billing.
Does SPS offer scholarships?
Many of our academic programs offer a limited number of merit-based SPS Fellowships. They are awarded based on various criteria set by the corresponding academic program and are not based on financial need. Applicants are automatically considered for the fellowships as part of the overall admissions process.
SPS offers a full tuition scholarship through the HBCU Fellowship program and participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program for eligible student veterans. In addition, there is an SPS Student Emergency Fund to support students who have encountered an unanticipated emergency situation that may impact their academic career. The one-time grant requires students to be currently enrolled and have completed at least 12 credits. Average award amounts vary but students can apply for up to $5,000 and must be able to demonstrate that they’ve exhausted all other possible means of support.
The SPS Academic & Professional Development Grant is designed to support students in pursuing real world learning experiences related to their field of study. Eligible academic and/or professional opportunities include, but are not limited to: graduate research, capstone projects, internships, co-ops, conferences, events, etc. Awards range from $200 - $3,000 based on availability and funding may cover costs such as transportation, housing, meals, fees, and research materials.
In addition, the Columbia Global Centers announced its first cohort of recipients of the university-wide Scholarship for Displaced Students. The scholarship provides funding for tuition, housing, and associated living expenses of students who’ve been displaced from their homes and access to education due to natural disasters, conflict, and other regional emergencies.
Finally, you may visit External Funding Opportunities for a curated list of external funding sources by type. We welcome you to reach out to Student Financial Services to learn more information on specific scholarships available.
Am I eligible for financial aid as an international student?
To be eligible for financial aid, you must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen. International students may be eligible for third-party services or private student loans depending on the criteria set by each individual lending institution. ELM Select is a tool available for international and domestic students to compare lenders, which can be found on our website here. Some lenders require a creditworthy U.S. cosigner. If this is unavailable to you, please contact the Columbia University International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) to see what other options may be available for you.
When is the deadline to apply for financial aid?
Financial aid can be applied for at the same time as you’re applying for admission, so we urge you to submit the FAFSA as soon as possible. Although there is no specific deadline, the first tuition bill is typically issued at the end of the second week of the semester, so the FAFSA should be submitted at least one month before the semester begins. Deadlines for private loans vary based on the institution, but we would recommend completing applications two to three months before the semester.
Where should I begin the financial aid process?
Visit the FAFSA website and complete an application for your anticipated enrollment period. Columbia will then contact you to complete a Planned Enrollment Form and to collect other necessary additional documentation.
Where can I find the latest tuition rates?
On each SPS program website, there is a Tuition & Fees section displaying the tuition and applicable fees. To find your choice program’s website, select it from the All Programs page. In most cases, Columbia posts tuition per credit, not the tuition total (there are some exceptions noted on corresponding program websites). To find out your total in tuition, you will need to conduct a calculation.
Tuition Rate Per Point or “Credit” x Number of Credits For Which You’re Enrolled
Example: $2,208.00 x 6 points (typically equivalent to 2 courses) = $13.248.00
Tuition, however, is just one component of your cost of attendance. Your cost of attendance is a representation of school-related financial expenses while in attendance, based on average costs as they relate to attending. This includes tuition, fees, and living expenses. Each school within the University calculates the cost of attendance to represent a student's maximum financial aid eligibility. For more information on how to calculate your cost of attendance, please visit sfs.columbia.edu/coa.
Are any of the fees optional?
No, the fees associated with your program are not optional; however, not every fee applies to each student.
How do I know if I am eligible for financial aid?
For Federal Student Aid, you must meet the minimum citizenship requirements, have a valid FAFSA on file each year, be enrolled as at least half-time status (6 credits), continue to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), and complete the subsequent supporting documentation and all federal aid minimum requirements including the Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory Note.
Where can I find the billing schedule and information?
The billing schedule can be found here. Columbia bills you for tuition, fees, and other charges at the beginning of each term. Payment for each term is due before the end date of the University’s official Change of Program period, based on the academic calendar. You will receive E-Bill notices through your Columbia University email account. Your current statement, account activity, and charges can be viewed in SSOL. Options for payment plans are available and can be found here.
Who do I contact for information on veterans’ benefits?
You may find more information here about SPS’s participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which provides grants or tuition waivers for student veterans who meet the maximum eligibility level of the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
For information on other veterans’ benefits, please contact the Office of Military & Veterans Affairs at 202 Kent Hall at 1140 Amsterdam Ave. The office can also be reached by telephone at 212-854-3161 and email at veterans [[at]] columbia [[dot]] edu.
How can I find funding institutions and opportunities?
You may apply for federal financial aid through the FAFSA application each year and private student loans are available through independent lending institutions. ELM Select, which may be accessed through our website here, can be used to find and compare lenders. In addition, Federal Work-Study is an employment program also designed to help qualifying students with potential earnings of up to $3,500 per academic year.
When will I know if I received any financial aid?
Federal award eligibility and additional federal Direct loan requests may each take up to ten business days to process. Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan requests may take up to two weeks. Private loan processing time varies based on the lender. Communications will be sent through your Columbia University email address for any required documents or notifications.