Financial Aid

What is the cost per year?

Tuition and fees for 2016-17 total an estimated $43,432. Of that, tuition accounts for $21,716 each term. This is a flat-rate cost that allows you register for up to 19.5 credits per term at a cost equivalent to 15 credits.

For an explanation and breakdown of other fees, go to Cost of Attendance, New York City campus.

What types of financial aid are available?

Financial aid awards typically include a mix of institutional/merit scholarships, Federal Work-Study, federal loans, and other types of loans. NOTE: Those who have served in the military should find out if they are eligible for veterans educational benefits by completing the checklist linked from Columbia University’s Veteran Affairs site. Likewise, those who have completed a term of service with AmeriCorps should contact AmeriCorps directly to see if they are eligible for the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award.

Are there any scholarships I can apply for?

Each year the school offers several competitive scholarship awards that target students pursuing particular interest areas: go to detailed information.

Additionally, we encourage students to use such resources as FastWeb or CollegeNET to search various databases of scholarships for MSW students. Here are some of the main organizations that offer scholarships to master’s-level students:

Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund
U.S. Air Force

How can I apply for financial aid?

Your first step is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Once we receive your FAFSA data, we can begin the evaluation process for determining your financial aid award package.

When will I be notified about my package?

We usually begin processing financial aid packages in mid-February, and notifications are sent out thereafter. You will receive notification via email at the address you supplied for your admissions application.

What if I’m not satisfied with my package?

You may appeal for more scholarship money to the Director of Admissions at cssw-admit@columbia.edu. (If you have received a higher scholarship offer from another graduate school of social work, a copy of that offer should be included in your appeal.) All other appeals, including those for work-study, should be e-mailed to swfinaid@columbia.edu. Please be mindful that while we do our best to provide need-based awards to all eligible students, our scholarship and work-study funding is limited.

Scholarship appeals are generally responded to within two weeks. Work-study appeals will initially be reviewed in late summer and will continue to be reviewed throughout the academic year; you will be notified via email if we are able to grant your appeal.

What types of loans can I apply for?

All students who complete a FAFSA are eligible to receive the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan. Once you accept the loan, you must complete an entrance interview, sign a master promissory note, and fill out a loan request form. The funds will then be disbursed automatically to your student account at the beginning of each term. NOTE: The Department of Education charges a 1.068% origination fee on this loan, which will be deducted prior to the funds being disbursed.

In addition to the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, you may choose to borrow either a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan or a private educational loan. The maximum amount you may borrow for either loan is listed under the Alternative Eligibility fund in your award letter.

The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan is a fixed interest loan program that enables graduate students to borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education to help pay for their educational expenses. This loan, which is based on credit-worthiness, requires a separate entrance interview, master promissory note, and loan request form. For more information, go to Questions and Answers About Direct PLUS Loans for Graduate and Professional Students. If you are approved for a PLUS loan, the funds will be disbursed automatically to your student account at the beginning of the term. NOTE: The Department of Education charges a 4.272% origination fee on this loan, which will be deducted prior to the funds being disbursed.

If you have any questions about the process, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Office of Financial Aid at swfinaid@columbia.edu or 212-851-2293; or make an appointment to speak to one of us.

What if I’m denied the Grad PLUS loan or a private loan?

If you are denied the Grad PLUS Loan, we strongly encourage you to request a copy of your credit report and clear up any delinquencies of 90 days or more, or challenge any discrepancies you find on that report. You should then appeal to the Department of Education, providing documentation that those discrepancies or issues have been resolved. In our experience, most students who do this succeed in having their initial denial overturned. A second option is to reapply for the Grad PLUS Loan with a credit-worthy co-signer or endorser. If all else fails, submit an Alternative Funding Appeal Form and supporting documentation to the swfinaid@columbia.edu.  This additional information will allow the financial aid office to calculate the assistance you still need and how much CSSW can cover.

What if I have additional questions on my financial aid package, scholarships, loans, or related matters?

For help with additional financial aid questions, please contact the Office of Financial Aidat:

By appointment: 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday. (After 5:00 p.m., appointments available by request.) Go to online appointment system.
Walk-in: Wednesdays, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.)