Will I always be charged per credit?
Yes. Even when you are enrolled full-time and are in field education, you will always be charged per credit for your tuition.
What fees do I have to pay each term? Is it the same as the regular Two-Year Program students?
Your fees will vary slightly depending on your enrollment status. For example, when you are registered less than full-time, you are not automatically charged the Health Service Fee or Student Medical Insurance Fee, unlike Two-Year students who immediately incur these charges. Each term, you should expect to be charged tuition (per credit), a Facilities Fee, Student Activity Fee, and Technology Fee. Once you are enrolled full-time, you also will be charged the Health Service Fee and Student Medical Insurance Fee—though the latter can be waived if you already have comparable coverage. Also during your first term of enrollment, you will be charged a Student Events Fee and a Transcript Fee.
What types of financial aid are available? Am I eligible for scholarships?
Financial aid awards typically include a mix of institutional/merit scholarships, federal loans, Federal Work-Study, and other types of loans. As long as you are registered for at least six credits per term, you are eligible for federal loans. You may also be eligible for the One-Year Residency for Working Professionals (Reduced Residency) 50% Tuition Scholarship if you are employed in an agency that qualifies you for this (your registration status does not matter for this scholarship). Once you are enrolled in your second-year field placement and are full time (10.5 or more credits), you may also be eligible for a general scholarship and/or work-study, if you are not receiving the RRP Scholarship.
How do I know if I’m eligible for the One-Year Residency for Working Professionals (Reduced Residency) 50% Tuition Scholarship?
Eligibility is determined by your employment by an agency that has hosted a Columbia student for a field placement within the past three years. To apply, go to the online One-Year Residency for Working Professionals (Reduced Residency) Scholarship Application. (It is accessible via Net Partner, the main financial aid account resource for CSSW students.) Our Office of Financial Aid, after consulting with our Director of Field Education, will add the award to your financial aid package at the beginning of the term if you are eligible.
If I get the One-Year Residency for Working Professionals (Reduced Residency) Scholarship in my first year, will I get it every year after that?
As long as you remain employed at the qualifying agency, and it continues to be an eligible placement site for Columbia students, your award will be renewed. But please remember that you must submit a new One-Year Residency for Working Professionals (Reduced Residency) Scholarship Application every year. NOTE: If you choose to accept a School-selected placement rather than use your agency as your placement site, you will no longer be eligible for the One-Year Residency for Working Professionals (Reduced Residency) Scholarship. However, we will review your FAFSA to determine if you qualify for an institutional scholarship
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 are the forms for financial aid due? And where do I find them?
Your FAFSA is due by February 1 of each year, and loan request forms are due by July 1 of each year. If additional forms are required, the Office of Financial Aid will notify you via e-mail and communicate due dates at that time. Financial aid forms are accessible online.
When will I find out about my financial aid package?
We usually begin processing financial aid packages in March, and notifications are sent out thereafter. You will receive your financial aid award letter via e-mail.
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.
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.
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:
- 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.)