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New Student F.A.Q.

How do I know if I am eligible for financial aid?

Virtually all students who complete the FAFSA will qualify for some type of federal financial aid. Financial aid includes both grants and student loans. Students must, at minimum, meet the following basic federal financial aid eligibility requirements. There may be additional eligibility requirements relevant to individual students. Basic eligibility requirements include:

  • Enrollment in a degree program.
  • Attend classes at least half-time, which is 6 or more credits per semester or 3 more credits per 8-week session. If you are Pell eligible, it is possible to receive the Pell grant for less than half-time enrollment.
  • Documentation of US citizenship or eligible non-citizen status.

How do I apply for financial aid?

Complete the Free Application for Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA) at:

  • Include the Columbia College school code (002456) in order for Columbia College to receive your FAFSA application information.
  • Students must have an active application for admission to Columbia College for the FAFSA information to reach the financial aid department at Columbia College. To apply for admission, fill out an application online.
  • Note: In filling out the FAFSA, you will supply information about yourself. If you are considered a dependent for financial aid purposes, you must also supply information about your parent(s).
  • Activate your CougarTrack account today and monitor your CougarMail account on a regular basis. The Financial Aid office uses your official Columbia College CougarMail e-mail address to inform you about the status of your financial aid application, additional information you may need to provide to complete your aid application and upcoming deadlines and important dates.
  • More financial aid information:

How much financial aid can I get?

The goal of the Financial Aid Office is to offer students a package that meets their financial need, if possible. However, since there are limits, it isn't always possible to cover 100% of a particular student's financial need. The Financial Aid Office will put together a federal aid financial aid package based on financial need.

  • If eligible, students will automatically be awarded federal and state grants.
  • Students will be awarded both subsidized (if eligible) and unsubsidized Stafford loans and may accept, decline or modify these amounts. Students are encouraged to accept only the amount needed to avoid a high student loan debt.
  • Students also may apply for scholarships at Columbia College.

Am I considered Dependent or Independent?

When will a student be considered independent for financial aid purposes? Generally, not until the student turns 24 (i.e. student must turn 24 before January 1st of the award year). Exceptions are made for:

  • veterans and active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • students with dependent(s) other than a spouse
  • married students
  • students in graduate or other professional school
  • students who are in legal guardianship, homeless, orphans, emancipated minors, or wards of a court

If you are a dependent student who has special circumstances and want to have the financial aid office review your dependency status you may complete and return a Request for Dependency Override form located in the Financial Aid Forms section of your CougarTrack account.

How much does Columbia College cost?

Tuition and fees vary by campus. To find an estimate of both direct costs (tuition) and indirect costs (books, transportation, living expenses) for your campus, review the Net Price Calculator.

How do I find scholarships?

Please use our Scholarship Finder and search for opportunities available by campus.

There are many website scholarship search engines that can help you find scholarship opportunities. Please be wary of any website or application that charges a fee to apply.


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