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How to Apply for Financial Aid

Financial Aid Process

To begin the financial aid process, the first step is to submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at www.fafsa.gov . Add the Columbia College Federal School Code, 007707, to send your application to this office for processing. Please review the steps for processing your FAFSA in the document linked below and remember that it is important to follow up with all of the requests that the Financial Aid Office makes in order to receive your entitled funding. Processing can take up to 12 weeks during a peak period, so don't delay.

Financial Aid Overview

Financial aid is intended to cover a student's direct educational expenses while they are pursuing an eligible degree or certificate program. Financial aid comes in two forms: gift aid (grants, scholarships, enrollment fee waivers) and self-help aid (loans and work-study). Please review the specific aid that may be available to you at the Federal and State Assistance link below.

Financial aid eligibility is determined by multiple factors, including EFC, COA, and SAP. Upon submitting a FAFSA, you will be shown an output number called your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) in your Student Aid Report (SAR). The EFC is calculated using an established federal methodology which considers both your and your parents' (if a dependent student) financial resources based on the information supplied on the FAFSA and represents the amount of financial assistance your family is expected to be able to contribute to your educational expenses. The Cost of Attendance (COA) varies between schools, and you can access the current estimated cost of attending Columbia College at the link below.

Your overall financial need, then, is determined by subtracting your Estimated Family Contribution from your Cost of Attendance. The goal of the Financial Aid Office at each college is to fill in this gap with a balance of gift aid and self-help aid. Keep in mind due to limited funding this gap will never fully be filled, so a student must look at other methods for funding their education as well. Examples include family support, employment, savings, and reducing indirect expenses.

An additional factor affecting your financial aid eligibility is your ability to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). Failure to do so may result in disqualification from certain types of aid. The guidelines for SAP can be accessed at the link below.