Second-Year Students

This page serves as a “one-stop" resource center, with answers to questions on finance, registration, field and advising, for our Second Year M.S. students.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Have questions about Financial AidAnswers here

Have questions about Refunds/Additional FundsAnswers here

Have questions about RegistrationAnswers here

Have questions about Minors/Capstone WorkshopAnswers here

Have questions about FieldAnswers here

Have questions about AdvisingAnswers here

  • Financial Aid - Header

    Financial Aid

  • What is the cost per year?

    Tuition and fees for 2014-15 total an estimated $45,397. Of that, tuition accounts for an estimated $20,078 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.

  • 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, Federal Work-Study, and other types of loans. 

  • 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. Appeals are reviewed in August, and you will be notified via e-mail of the status of your appeal by the end of the first two weeks of classes.

    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% 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 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 (MPN), and loan request form. For more information, go to Questions and Answers About Direct PLUS Loans for Graduate and Professional Students (PDF: 2 pages). 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% origination fee on this loan, which will be deducted prior to the funds being disbursed.
     
    If you are a first-time borrower or 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 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. Another option is to reapply for the PLUS Loan with a credit-worthy co-signer or endorser. If neither of these options works, we suggest that you reach out to our Office of Financial Aid. A financial aid officer will ask you to compile and submit a monthly budget listing all of your basic living expenses (rent, food, utilities, personal expenses, etc.). This additional information will allow the financial aid office to calculate the assistance you still need and how much CUSSW 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.

  • 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.)
  • When will I get the money I need to cover my daily expenses?

    Generally you will receive this money during the first two weeks of school. Refunds are determined based on any credit remaining after all expected funding has been applied to your student account to cover your tuition, fees and other charges that may be on your account. The University will issue a refund either via direct deposit—you can select this option online (it requires entering your personal banking information)—or a paper check. Refunds are initially processed during the first two weeks of school, and then processed throughout the year whenever credit balances appear. NOTE: New students should come to school with enough money to see them through the first 2-3 weeks. For various reasons, some students may not receive a refund until week 3 or 4 of classes. Most students will receive their refunds near the end of the second week of classes.

  • What if I need more money?

    If you need more money at any point during the year and have remaining “alternative eligibility” in your financial aid, you must submit another PLUS Loan Request Form or apply for a private loan to borrow up to the total amount of that remaining “alternative eligibility.” If you have maxed out on your aid and received all for which you are currently eligible, please make an appointment with CUSSW’s Office of Financial Aid so that we can assess your situation and need for funding.

  • Can I contact the Office of Financial Aid if I need assistance?

    If you have further questions about refunds or additional funds, you are welcome to 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.)
  • I understand that I select one of four method areas for my second year. How does this decision affect my fieldwork and coursework?

    The choice of the method area determines the type of field placement for your second year as well as the series of second-year practice courses, including the advanced research course. For instance, if you were to choose Advanced Clinical Practice, your field placement would entail working directly with individuals, families and groups. You would be required to take T7113 (Advanced Clinical Practice in a Field of Practice) and T7114 (Advanced Clinical Practice with Populations, Modalities, and Professional Practice Issues) as your practice method courses, and T7501 (Clinical Practice Evaluation) as your advanced research course.

  • Is it possible to do two methods and/or two fields of practice?

    It is not possible to complete two method areas of specialization or two fields of practice. Likewise, you are not permitted to register for a practice course outside of your method area of specialization. NOTE: This is even true of the students who are pursuing the International Social Welfare Minor in combination with a field of practice other than International Social Welfare. Taking two Field of Practice platform courses—T6925 for the minor and another T69XX course for the selected field of practice—does not constitute completion of two fields of practice.

  • I would like to take classes at another Columbia graduate school. How do I do that?

    You are able to enroll in classes at other Columbia University schools to count either as elective credits (related and pre-approved graduate-level courses only) or as “extra” courses that are covered under the School’s flat-rate billing program, which allows you to register for a maximum of 19.5 credits per term in the Fall and Spring. NOTE: Our flat-rate tuition plan does not cover classes taken at Teacher’s College, Jewish Theological Seminary, or Union Theological Seminary. If you choose to register for a course at one of those schools, you will be charged tuition in addition to your flat-rate cost.

    As each Columbia graduate school has its own cross-registration policies and procedures, our Office of Student Services compiles a document every term with links to classes at other schools that are open to CUSSW students along with detailed instructions for registration, with links to necessary forms. This information is e-mailed to all students during the registration period and can also be found online.

  • How do I verify that I’m taking all the required courses and sufficient credits to obtain my degree at the end of this year?

    Program requirements are listed in the 2013-14 Student Handbook, which can be used as a checklist for completing your degree requirements. We suggest that you also get in the habit of checking your Degree Audit Report on Student Services Online (SSOL). Additionally, you are welcome to reach out to the Offices of Student Services and Advising to verify that you’re on track. NOTE: The Office of Enrollment and Student Services monitors students’ enrollment and registration and, where possible, will alert you if any problems are identified, but it is your responsibility to complete your degree requirements. Dual-degree students should meet with representatives at both schools each term to ensure they are successfully completing their requirements at both schools.

  • I want to complete the required LCSW licensing coursework, even though I’m not a Clinical Method student. Is that possible?

    If you are interested in completing the clinical licensing coursework requirements for New York State prior to graduating, it is possible to do so, even if you have not chosen to specialize in Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice. This is particularly easy for an Advanced Generalist Practice and Programming (AGPP) student, who can simply ensure that all nine credits of electives are approved clinical electives. Social Enterprise Administration (SEA) and Policy students, on the other hand, will need to take more than the 60 credits required to complete their degree requirements. NOTE: For clinical licensing requirements for states other than New York, go to the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB)'s List of Member Statutes and Regulations.

  • What if I have additional questions about class listings, course registration, or related matters?

    For help with additional questions on registration-related matters, please contact the Office of Student Services and Enrollment at:
    E-mail: sw-studentservices@columbia.edu
    Telephone: 212-851-2364
    Counseling:

    • By appointment: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 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.
  • Can I pursue a minor during my second year?

    Yes, you may pursue and complete the Business, Public Policy and Administration or International Social Welfare minors during your second year. You must declare your intent to pursue one of these minors no later than April 15th of your first year, and then register for the appropriate classes to fulfill your minor requirements. NOTE: You are not able to begin the Law Minor as a second-year student.

  • What is the capstone project?

    As a second-year student, you will participate in the required capstone project at the end of the Spring semester. You will be placed on a project team with several other second-year students. Each team will conduct an analysis and evaluation of a case that exemplifies a pressing contemporary social work issue using a variety of practice methods. 

  • How does the Field Education Department determine my placement in the second year?

    At the mandatory Field Placement Fair held in February of your first year, you will have opportunities to meet with agency representatives and listen to panel discussions from instructors who teach in the four method specialization areas and seven fields of practice. Thereafter, you may schedule one-on-one meetings with Field Department staff to discuss your interest areas and possible placements in those areas. You will also have access, online and in hard copy, to a Placement Planning book, which provides instructions regarding placement selection, an overview of the various methods and fields of practice, and an annotated list of placement sites. Approximately one month following the fair, you will be asked to submit a form listing your top six placement choices. Most students receive one of their choices. (In rare cases, Field Department staff may develop a new placement they think would be a great fit for a particular student, but they will approach the student first before moving forward.) NOTE: One of the best sources of information about your second-year placement are students who are now completing their second year. Opportunities will be provided for you to reach out to them as well during the selection process.

  • Once I’ve received my field placement assignment, if I have questions on it, who can I talk to?

    Please reach out to your advisor or the Office of Advising (send an e-mail to swadvising@columbia.edu). Your e-mail should detail your questions and concerns.

    Your advisor and the Office of Advising want to help you and address any field-related concerns you may have, so please reach out to them. All CUSSW staff are here to assist and support your learning. We are committed to providing you the best education possible.
     
  • What if I have additional questions about my field placement or related matters?

    For help with additional questions about field-related matters, please contact the Field Education Department at:
    E-mail: swfield_education@columbia.edu
    Telephone: 212-851-2307
    See also: Field Education staff list

  • When will I find out who my advisor is? Will I have the same advisor as last year?

    Your advisor for your second year will likely be different from your first-year advisor because he or she is matched to you by your method of specialization. Your advisor’s name and contact information will be viewable on Student Services Online by the end of the first week of classes. You will receive an e-mail once the information has been posted online.

  • I understand I will be assigned in my second year a faculty mentor. Who will be my faculty mentor and what does my mentor do?

    Your mentor is a member of the School’s faculty who teaches or conducts research in areas similar to your method specialization. He or she can discuss your career goals and provide a sounding board to discuss your plans post-graduation. Faculty mentors are generally assigned by the first week of October. You will be notified via e-mail of your mentor’s name and information. 

  • Still have questions?

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    Still have questions?

    If your questions haven't been answered, we urge you to enter them into our online form. Once your form is submitted, we will direct it to the appropriate department. Our goal is to answer any questions submitted by current students within 24 hours.