Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for financial aid?

The School of Nursing requires students to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) The FAFSA is the basic application for most student aid programs; be sure to complete all required sections and submit it to the central processor as instructed. To complete your FAFSA, you will need Columbia University's School Code: 002707.

After you submit the FAFSA you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) confirming your application information. Follow the directions to make corrections if necessary. Once the corrections are received by the federal processor you will be sent a final SAR to save for your records. You may also review your SAR record on the FAFSA web site and make changes there: see the "FAFSA Follow-up" area.

What is Financial Aid?

Financial Aid, funds to supplement family and student resources, comes in four main types:

I probably don't qualify for aid. Should I apply for aid anyway?

Yes. Many families mistakenly think they don't qualify for aid, and prevent themselves from receiving financial aid by failing to apply for it. In addition, there are a few sources of aid such as unsubsidized Federal Loans and Private credit based loans that are available regardless of need. You must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid to apply.

Why can't I submit my financial aid application before January 1?

The need analysis process for financial aid uses the family's income and tax information from the most recent tax year (the base year) to judge your eligibility for need-based financial aid during the upcoming academic year (the award year). Since the base year ends December 31, you cannot submit a financial aid application until January 1. If you submit the financial aid application before January 1, it will be rejected.

Will my chances for admission be affected if I apply for financial aid?

Admission to the School of Nursing is need-blind. This means we will consider your application without regard to your financial need.

Can I receive financial aid if I am taking less than a full-time (12 units) course load?

Yes, as long as you are taking 6 points in a matriculated program. However, some scholarship programs require that the student be enrolled as a full time student to be eligible.

I sent in my FAFSA over four weeks ago, but haven't heard anything. What should I do?

If you haven't received a Student Aid Report (SAR), call the Federal processor at 1-800-433-7327. You must provide them with your Social Security number and date of birth as verification.

What is meant by federal verification and why might I have been selected?

Students are randomly selected by the federal government for “verification.” Students are required to submit to the Office of Financial Aid copies of their most recent federal tax returns and a Federal Verification Worksheet. A Federal Verification Worksheet can be obtained by calling the Office of Financial Aid.

I have financial aid now, but what about next year? Is it necessary to apply again?

Each year the U.S. Department of Education will send to you a renewal reminder containing important information about your Federal Student Aid PIN and the FAFSA application process. (If you included a valid e-mail address on your FAFSA last year, you will receive the reminder by e-mail. Otherwise it will be mailed to your permanent address.) You will need your Federal Student Aid PIN to access your pre-filled FAFSA on the Web application that contains much of your application data from last year.

Visit the PIN web site at to verify your existing PIN, to request a duplicate if you have forgotten your PIN, or to request a new PIN if you (and your parents, if applicable) don't have one. (You use the same PIN each year, so you probably have one already).

My financial aid award was based on anticipated credits and housing status, but my plans have changed. What do I do?

Contact us if any of the conditions of your initial award has changed. Depending on the changes, your aid may or may not be affected, but it is always better to inform the Office Financial Aid of your plans so adjustments can be made, if necessary, early in the semester. If you don't inform the Office Financial Aid about the changes yourself, then any point discrepancies between anticipated and actual registered points will appear during an enrollment audit and adjustments will be made at that time. It is the obligation of the Office Financial Aid to adjust aid according to University policy and federal regulations.

Do I have to apply for the loans I accept?

Yes, you need to apply for all of the loans you accept on the award letter. You can select a lender from the suggested lender list or any other lender of your choice. Students and parents have the right and ability to select the education loan provider of their choice, are not required to use any of these suggested lenders and will suffer no penalty for choosing a lender that is not included here as a suggested lender.

What is the difference between a Subsidized and an Unsubsidized Stafford?

How and when will I receive the funds that I have accepted?

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 or Direct Deposit. You can sign up for Direct Deposit at Student Services online (SSOL) It can take approximately 5 - 10 business days for the refund to be received. Signing up for Direct Deposit will speed up the process. Please note that refunds are based on charges posted to the student account at the time it is being reviewed for eligibility and may not reflect all charges (i.e. student health fees, housing charges, international service charges, etc.)

May I appeal a financial aid package if admitted?

  1. YES, if your family’s financial circumstances changed after you submitted your financial aid application.
  2. YES, if you have complicated circumstances, and you would like us to take a second look at how we interpreted your family’s financial situation.
  3. YES, if another need-based school has provided you a different interpretation of your family’s financial circumstances.
  4. NO, if your sole reason for the appeal is that you are asking us to consider merit-based offers from other schools.

All appeals should be submitted in writing and you may do so at any time during the year. If you would like to discuss your award, please call the Office of Financial Aid: 212 305-8147.

How do outside scholarships affect my Columbia financial aid award?

The scholarships you receive from outside sources will be used to reduce the loan portion of your financial aid package. For example, if you are awarded a $2,000 National Merit Scholarship, your loans will be reduced by the full $2,000.

When and where are bills sent?

At Columbia we call each bill a Student Account Statement. You will be sent the first Student Account Statement for the summer term the first week in June, the first statement for the fall term in late July or early August, and the first statement for the spring term in early December. The payment due date will be approximately 30 days after the first Student Account Statement for the term has been sent.

In addition, you will receive monthly Student Account Statements when there is a current activity on your account (a new charge or credit), or if a debit or credit balance remains on your account.

Student Account Statements will not be mailed home. Instead you will be able to view your Student Account Statement via Student Services Online (SSOL). Also, on SSOL you may authorize your parent(s) to view the E-Bill.

Do I have to pay the Health Service fee if I am covered by medical insurance?

Yes. The Health Service fee is unrelated to medical insurance. It is a mandatory fee that gives students access to primary care, counseling, health education programs and other medical services offered by Columbia. Please consult the Guide to Health and Related Services for detailed information regarding what is covered by this fee.

Does Columbia offer a Tuition Payment Plan?

Yes, The TuitionPay Payment Plan, administered by Sallie Mae, enables students and their families to pay tuition and fees billed through the University over several months, rather than in one payment. The payment plan is not a loan. While there is an application fee, there are no interest charges or credit checks.

Columbia participates in this one payment plan. If you are using the payment plan and also borrowing student loans, however, you have the right and ability to select the provider of your choice for your loans. You are not required to use the company that administers the payment plan as your loan provider, and you will suffer no penalty for choosing an education loan provider that is different from the one that administers the payment plan.

The fee for the annual term is $55 (fall and spring) and the fee for the single term is $40. The Tuition Payment plan is not offered for the summer semester. You may pay the application fee by check or with your MasterCard.

Please note the following enrollment deadlines:
Annual or Fall Term Plan August 31st
Spring Term Plan December 31st

If you enroll after the plan start date, it is necessary to make any back payments that are due. See the schedule that follows:

Date Application Received Amount Due
Prior to July 1st Fee only
July 2nd - August 1st Fee & July 1st payment
August 2nd - August 31st Fee, July 1st & August 1st payments

You can enroll online at

For more information, please contact the TuitionPay consultants at 1-800-635-0120.

If I take a leave of absence, do I have to start repaying my loans?

Not immediately. The Federal and Private student loans have a grace period of 6 months before the student must begin repaying the loan. When you take a leave of absence you will not have to repay your loan until the grace period is used up.