After you apply

Once your financial aid application has been received and reviewed by the Financial Aid office, your financial aid eligibility is determined and a financial aid package is created. The financial aid package will outline the financial aid that you are eligible to receive for the specified academic year. Please pay close attention to the requirements contained in the offer of assistance. Depending on the type of aid you receive, the award letter will provide important information about the paperwork and processes that are necessary to obtain scholarships, federal/private student loans, student employment positions, or other sources of financial aid. You are able to view your financial aid package online via the university NetPartner system.

Enrollment eligible requirement for financial aid
Please note, you must be registered for at least six credits or be certified for at least half-time status for each term you wish to be eligible for federal aid.

Certifying Half-time- Students taking 5 credits with one or more credits in a clinical course can request to certify as half-time. You would make the request with the Office of Student Services once you have registered for that specific term. Financial aid will not be processed if a student is not enrolled at least half-time for each term.

Important Information on your financial aid package
Once you get a financial aid package it is critical that you pay close to the Documents and Messages sections on your financial aid package. The Message section explains all the information students need to complete to process your financial aid awards. It also explains the conditions of the scholarships and information on each award. The Documents section is similar to a checklist.  It assist the student in viewing that all information has been received by the Financial Aid office. All Documents on this section must be marked as “Received” for awards to disburse to the student’s account. As the university receives each document from the student or the U. S. Department of Education, it is marked as received. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that all missing documents are received in a timely manner to ensure the disbursements of awards prior to a student’s billing due date.

Financial Aid Awarding

BS/MS (ETP) Students
Students who have submitted the FAFSA by February 15 can expect to receive award letters before the end of March. Students that have been selected for the Federal award will receive a tentative award that will be finalized once the process is complete.

Graduate Students
New Students are awarded on an on-going basis throughout the year after we have been notified that they have been accepted into their program.

If you have been awarded financial aid based on an enrollment status that is different from your actual enrollment, it is your responsibility to contact the Office of Financial Aid to update the discrepancy. Failure to do so may result in a decrease or complete refund of your financial aid during an academic term.

Accepting Your Award
We require that you officially accept your offer of assistance. We ask that you indicate on NetPartner which type(s) of assistance you are accepting. Awards are not processed until you have accepted the award.

Declining Your Award
Should you decide to decline any your award, you may do that on NetPartner. The system also allows you to decrease any allocated loan awards to fit your needs. If you accept the full amount of a loan and wish to decrease it later on, you must contact the Financial Aid office.

Disbursement of Financial Aid
Financial aid awards are released at the start of each semester. As a financial aid recipient, your financial aid award funds will first be used to pay your tuition/fees, any other charges on your student account and on-campus housing bills. After all your University bills are paid for the semester, the balance of your financial aid money will be issued to you in the form of a refund from the Bursar’s office.  

The Financial Aid office recommends that students save and bring with them expenses for the first month of school (for books, living expenses and transportation) as refunds may take 30 business days to process each term.

Contact Information
Office of Financial Aid
617 West 168th Street Suite #134
New York N.Y. 10032
212 305-8147
sonfinaid@columbia.edu