We know that many factors go into a student’s decision to pursue graduate education, including the commitment of time and resources. Columbia University respects that commitment by making one of our own: we support your educational investment through exceptional instruction bolstered by a range of financial aid options. More than 90% of students who file an eligible Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application receive institutional aid from Columbia.
Visit our cost of attendance page to learn more about the 2023-2024 tuition for the six pathways available to MSW students in the Online Campus.
Our goal is to provide the information you need to understand your funding options and help you find a plan that works for your circumstances.
Below you will find a guide to the scholarships, grants, and loan options that our students use to support their education. For more personalized advice, the CSSW Office of Financial Aid is available to explore your options. Schedule a phone appointment in just a few clicks or call the office at (212) 851-2293.
You can also email financial aid-related questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applying for Financial Aid
To apply for financial aid, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You should file your FAFSA when you submit your online MSW application. The school code is 002707.
Once our Office of Financial Aid receives your FAFSA data, we can begin the evaluation process for determining your financial aid package. Financial aid packages typically include a mix of:
- Scholarships: These awards are grants from the school and do not have to be paid back. Most of the awards are need-based (the only application consists of your FAFSA); some are merit-based. Recipients of institutional scholarships are required to be enrolled full-time and in practicum work. If your enrollment or FAFSA data change, your awards may also change.
- Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan: This federal loan is available to any student who has (a) completed a valid FAFSA, (b) is not in default on a federal student loan, (c) has not exceeded their annual or lifetime loan limit, and (d) has met all documentation requirements from the Department of Education and Columbia’s Office of Financial Aid in a timely manner. The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan has a fixed interest rate that is set annually by Congress on July 1st for loans disbursed through the following June 30. It is not a need-based loan and graduate students may borrow up to $20,500 each year.
- Federal Work-Study: Federal Work-Study (FWS) is a federally funded employment program designed to help qualifying students fund their education. Eligible students must have financial need as determined by their FAFSA. Funds are limited and priority in allocating funds is given to students who are registered full-time. FWS funds reflect the maximum you can earn via an on-campus FWS-eligible job. FWS funds are paid to students as they are earned. They are not credited to the student’s account. Students who are not awarded FWS funds initially should contact the Office of Financial Aid about their eligibility and the availability of funds.
- Other types of loans: Based on your financial aid offer, you may be eligible for financial assistance from supplemental loans or outside sources. The difference between the total amount of awards in your financial aid package and your Cost of Attendance represents the maximum amount of additional funding you may borrow in either a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, which has a fixed interest rate, or a private educational loan, which has either a variable or fixed interest rate.
- CSSW also has a limited amount of institutional loans available for students who are unable to secure a Graduate PLUS or private educational loan. The interest rate on these loans is 5%, with a 10-year repayment period. Loan amounts range from $2,000 to $25,000.