If you’re feeling stressed about how exactly you’re going to pay for school, you aren’t alone. The financial aid process at Columbia can be pretty overwhelming for anybody, and if you aren’t informed, it’s easy to miss something important – a mistake you definitely can’t afford. Start with this guide to Columbia financial aid, and you’ll be organized and on track in no time!
1. If you applied regular decision, you have until February 15th to get in your application!
The early decision financial aid process for Columbia is just about over by now, but if you applied regular decision, keep in mind that you only have until February 15th to pass everything in! There’s a ton of supplemental application materials you’re going to have to get together and fill out, but they’re all due on the same day, so don’t wait to do everything last minute – you’ll definitely get overwhelmed.
2. Contact the Columbia Office of Financial Aid for help if you’re feeling lost.
The financial aid process is super stressful, so it’s important that you use all of your available resources to their fullest potential. The Columbia financial aid office is always there to help you if you’re starting to feel stuck. You can call them at 1 (212) 854-3711, send them an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or take advantage of their walk-in hours (9:30AM-4:30PM, except for Tuesdays at 2:30PM) in Lerner Hall. These walk-in appointments will really help you understand what you should expect financially so nothing is a surprise when it comes to paying for school. If you’re nearby, you should definitely stop in with your parents so you can be well-prepared!
3. Keep a list of what exactly it is you need to submit to be considered.
Columbia students are expected to pass in all of these documents (once again, all by February 15th):
- The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), located here
- The 2017-2018 CSS Profile, located here
- CSS Non-Custodial Profile (if applicable)
- IDOC documents, such as your Financial Aid Application Certification, your Federal Verification documents (if required), and both you and your parents’ 2015 tax returns
4. Double check to make sure you filled every requirement!
Columbia asks that you don’t e-mail them any supplemental materials and instead you upload everything to IDOC. Make sure you follow all of the requirements and closely examine the instructions that Columbia offers on their website here. This timeline is also really helpful if you’re feeling stuck!
5. Start tracking your application in late February, but expect a decision within a month.
If you applied regular decision, you can start following your overall application’s progress here and should get a financial aid decision by late March.
6. You should get a financial aid notification along with your acceptance letter!
In late March, you should receive your acceptance letter from Columbia. If you passed in all of your documents on time, it should come with your financial aid estimate!
7. Don’t forget to send in your enrollment deposit!
To reserve your spot in the freshmen class, you’ll need to send an enrollment deposit to Columbia by May 1st, 2017!
8. How much is a typical year at Columbia, anyway?
Columbia offers a cost breakdown on their website here.
The price tag can be a bit scary, but that’s why staying organized when it comes to financial aid is so important – you want every last penny you can get! A typical year at Columbia comes in at around $71,585, broken down like this:
- Tuition and Fees: $55,056
- Room and Board: $13,244
- Books/personal expenses: $3,285
9. Have some hope, since a lot of the students at Columbia receive some sort of aid.
About half of students at Columbia receive grants that average around $47,490. If you follow this guide to financial aid, get everything done on time, and if you’re an eligible candidate, you might be able to lower your cost that much, too!
10. If something comes up, you can always appeal.
Special circumstances are always considered and you can always file an appeal. Columbia suggests that you contact their office and speak to someone about appealing. If you decide that it’s something you have to do, you can submit your request for review via e-mail!