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Tuition and Financial Aid Information

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.


Estimated Costs for the MSW Program Pathways for 2021-2022

Two-Year Advanced Standing Part-Time to Full-Time (Extended) One-Year Residency for Working Professionals (Reduced Residency) Transfer Part-Time
Cost Per Credit Hour or Cost Per Term $26,036 flat rate per term 1 $26,036 flat rate per term 1; $10,404 for summer intensive $1,734 per credit hour $1,734 per credit hour $26,036 flat rate per term 1 $1,734 per credit hour
Total Credits 60 33-39 3 60 60 30 max 60
Tuition for 21-22 Academic Year $52,072 for academic year $62,476 for year (includes summer intensive) $20,808 for academic year 2 $20,808 for academic year 2 $52,072 for academic year $20,808 for academic year 2
Books and Supplies (per academic year) $1,200 $1,500 (includes summer intensive) $600 $600 $1,200 $600
Additional Fees (per academic year) 4 $7,447 $7,742 $1,771 $1,771 $7,742 $1,771

These rates are for academic year 2021-2022. Tuition and fee rates are subject to change prior to each year and are set by the University’s Board of Trustees.

1. During the fall and spring terms, Two-Year, Advanced Standing, and Transfer students are charged a flat rate for enrollment. If you are a student in these programs and take fewer than 10.5 credits, you will be charged the per-credit rate for that year instead. If you take more than 19.5 credits, you also will be charged the per-credit rate.

2. Part-Time to Full-Time (Extended), One-Year Residency for Working Professionals (Reduced Residency), and Part-Time tuition charges are estimated here for students taking six credits per term.

3. Advanced Standing students who choose the Leadership, Management, and Entrepreneurship for Social Justice method take 36 to 39 credits of coursework, depending on the number of credits transferred from their BSW.

4. The fees shown here represent the fees for students in the first year of a typical course of study for each program. Students who begin in the Part-Time to Full-Time (Extended) and One-Year Residency for Working Professionals (Reduced Residency) programs will be charged full-time fees when they are enrolled in 10.5 credits or more. Two-Year, Advanced Standing, and Transfer student fees include medical insurance. Students with comparable insurance of their own may elect to waive this fee.

Financial Aid

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

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 fieldwork. 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.

Additional Funding

  • 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.


  • Institutional scholarships are available to full-time students who complete a valid FAFSA. These can range from between $5,000 to $30,000 each year, and most students see their aid renewed for their second year.
  • Students in the Part-Time to Full-Time (Extended) pathway, the One-Year Residency for Working Professionals, and the Part-Time pathway are eligible to file for financial aid and may be packaged with need-based institutional funding based on their need and the availability of funds. Students who begin with part-time enrollment will have their packages reassessed if they are registered for more than 10.5 credits to determine if their packages require any adjustments.
  • Several competitive scholarships and fellowships are available to students in all pathways who are entering their Specialized Year. Applicants must be enrolled in at least 10.5 credits, including field, in order to be considered for these scholarships. Below are brief descriptions of the available awards. Please visit the CSSW competitive awards page at for more details, including application requirements:
    • Paige E. Cook Jr. Fellowship: Awarded on the basis of academic excellence; Preference will be given to a student with a career interest in substance abuse, world of work, men’s issues, and cross-cultural practice in clinical practice. Applicants should reflect interest in these areas via concrete examples, such as work experience, volunteer positions, etc. This is a need- and merit-based award.
    • Benjamin and Agnes Louard Fellowship: The Louard Scholarship will be given to one or two full-time CSSW students who have academic and leadership potential. Preference will be given to students who demonstrate a commitment to employment in the public or voluntary non-profit sector or in local grassroots groups serving primarily, but not restricted to, an African-American population. Your essay should reflect this commitment. This is a need- and merit-based award.
    • Overbrook Fellowship for Advanced Study in Clinical Social Work: The Overbrook Scholarship is a partial tuition award to one or two students who demonstrate leadership potential in the field of clinical social work. Please ensure that your personal statement reflects your interest and leadership opportunities in clinical social work. This can be demonstrated by work done in your classes, field placement or volunteer experiences. This is a need- and merit-based award.
    • Mae L. Wien Prize in Family Planning, Counseling, and Population Control: The Mae L. Wien Memorial Prize is awarded to up to three students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of family planning, counseling, and population control. This is a merit-based award.
    • Honjo International Scholarship Foundation Scholarship at CSSW: Supports annual scholarships to CSSW students who demonstrate an interest in, and past commitment to, furthering U.S.-Japan relations through their program of study and/or related activities. Up to three awards are given each year.
    • Ito En Scholarship: The Ito En Scholarship will be awarded to up to three eligible students who best demonstrate how they plan to bring their social work training to the global community. This is a merit-based award.
    • Fisher Cummings Washington Fellows Program: The Fisher Cummings Washington Fellows Program provides an enriching educational and professional experience for Specialized Year Policy Practice students who aspire to be leaders in social policy, administration, and community practice at the national level. Fellows complete their final placement as a block field placement at a federal agency or nongovernmental organization in Washington, D.C. Fisher Cummings Fellows who qualify for financial aid will receive additional scholarship aid as part of their fellowship program.
    • Lowenstein Loan Repayment Fellowship: Awarded to graduating students to assist with the repayment of loans borrowed while at CSSW. Applicants must demonstrate need and have taken out at least $20,500 in loans in their final year at CSSW.
    • Laura Rivera and Sor Rosa Scholarship: The Laura Rivera and Sor Rosa Scholarship will be awarded to a student who is pursuing a career in clinical practice where the social work profession’s core values, as specified in the NASW Code of Ethics, will be fully employed. The recipient will be determined based on the quality of the required essay, as detailed in the application requirements below, a copy of which will be provided to the donor. This is a need- and merit-based award.
  • The New York City Community Scholarship is a full-tuition award offered to graduates of the City University of New York (CUNY) who are admitted and matriculate at CSSW. Three scholarships will be awarded each fall term.

Military and Volunteer Service Benefits

If you served in the military or completed a term of service with AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps, you may qualify for benefits to assist you with funding your education.

  • Are you a veteran? Visit the “Federal Benefits for Members of the Armed Forces” section on Columbia’s Veterans Affairs site to learn more about options for veterans and service members, including the Yellow Ribbon Program.
  • Did you serve in AmeriCorps? Contact AmeriCorps directly to see if you qualify for the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award. Recipients can use the award to repay qualified student loans or to pay current educational expenses at eligible institutions like Columbia University.
  • Are you a returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV)? Be sure to indicate your RPCV status within your MSW application to be considered for the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program. This fellowship program offers financial assistance while allowing Peace Corps Volunteers to continue their service to underserved communities. To learn more about our partnership with Coverdell, visit the Columbia page on the Peace Corps website.

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