Financial Aid

What is the cost per year?

Tuition and fees for 2017-18 total an estimated $50,920. Of that, tuition accounts for $22,586 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.

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 Aid at:
E-mail: swfinaid@columbia.edu
Telephone: 212-851-2293
Counseling:

  • 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.)

Is the financial aid process the same as last year?

Yes—and just as you did in the first year, you must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as the data from the previous year does not carry over

Will I receive the same types of financial aid as last year?

Yes. Financial aid awards typically include a mix of institutional/merit scholarships, federal loans and Federal Work-Study. 

When will I find out about my financial aid package?

Continuing students can expect to receive their financial aid packages in late May to early June, depending on when we receive your FAFSA data.

What if I’m not satisfied with my package?

You may appeal for more funding by e-mailing swfinaid@columbia.edu. Please be mindful that our scholarship and work-study funding is limited, and we do our best to provide need-based awards to all eligible students. 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.

NOTE: Work-study in your second year will be earned via your field placement. Thus, before appealing for work-study funding, you should ensure that the field placement site you have selected is a work-study eligible site. (In the likely event you end up completing your work-study allocation prior to completing your field placement hours, you must continue to attend field. Completion of field requirements is necessary for your degree.)

Are there special scholarships I can apply for as a second-year student?

We offer a handful of competitive scholarship awards for continuing students, which are announced via e-mail in March or April of your first year. In addition, we circulate any scholarship announcements from outside organizations to the student body via e-mail. As you approach your second year, we strongly encourage you to research possible scholarship opportunities via the Internet, community and/or religious organizations, professional networks, and so on. NOTE: If you are awarded a scholarship from an outside source, you must notify the Office of Financial Aid (send an e-mail to swfinaid@columbia.edu) so that it can be included in your financial aid package. If you are receiving federal loans or work study, it is a federal requirement that you report any outside awards to the School.

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 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.

I’m worried about how I’m going to repay my loans after I graduate. Any advice?

We strongly encourage you to research federal loan repayment programs, as well as loan forgiveness programs. For instance, the Income-Based Repayment Plan for the Direct Loan and FFEL Programs helps in lowering your monthly loan payments to a manageable level. For more details, go to IBR information sheet (PDF: 2 pages). IBR is particularly beneficial when combined with the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program, which allows students to have their loan debt forgiven after completing 10 years of qualifying employment in the public service sector while simultaneously making 120 on-time loan repayments. For more information, go to the PSLF fact sheet (PDF: 2 pages).The Department of Education also has two helpful resources: a brochure, “Your Federal Student Loans: Learn the Basics and Manage Your Debt” (PDF: 56 pages); and a Web site full of useful information about the repayment of student loans.