Columbia College’s financial aid program exists to make education affordable for all students who qualify. The College believes that if students desire to attend college they should not be prevented from doing so simply because they lack sufficient funds. Financial aid is not intended to cover all student expenses. While the primary financial responsibility for education rests with the students and their families, Columbia College is committed to helping students bridge the gap between the cost of a college education and what the student can afford to pay.
Financial aid is monetary assistance to help the student meet the expenses of attending college. Aid may be in the form of grants, student employment, loans, scholarships, types of outside assistance, or a combination thereof.
Determination of Federal Financial Aid Award
A student will be offered an aid package that may consist of grants, scholarships, outside assistance, loans and/or Federal Work-Study. Cost of Attendance (COA) is the cap on financial aid packages for students receiving federal and/or state aid. Aid eligibility is calculated for each aid program as well as a total aid package.
Federal aid eligibility is calculated using COA, Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and Estimated Financial Assistance (EFA).
COA is the estimated cost of a student’s educational expenses for a period of enrollment and can be viewed on the Cost of Attendance section of the website.
EFC is derived from the FAFSA using income and asset information. It is used to calculate need-based eligibility for financial aid.
EFA is the combination of financial aid programs (scholarships, grants, tuition assistance, student employment, loans, etc) that makes up an individual student’s aid package.
Financial Need is determined by taking the COA for an enrollment period minus the EFC.
Unmet need is determined by taking the Financial Need minus EFA. In other words, each aid type a student is awarded is considered before eligibility for another type is determined.
Unmet cost is determined by taking COA minus EFA. Unmet cost is used in determining eligibility for non-need based programs such as unsubsidized loans, PLUS loans, and private loans.
Once the EFC and financial need have been determined, the student’s information will be reviewed and aid eligibility is calculated.
Students are responsible for reporting to the Financial Aid Office all assistance received from outside sources, as federal law requires that all outside assistance be considered as a part of the financial aid package. These types of assistance include such aid as Veteran’s Benefits, outside scholarships, military or corporate tuition assistance, vocational rehabilitation or other state aid. Federal guidelines require that a student not exceed the Cost of Attendance in the amount of aid they receive.
The maximum amount of institutional and endowed aid that can be awarded is tuition, as long as the aid (all types) does not exceed the cost of attendance. Due to federal regulations, scholarships awards may be affected if you are receiving federal and/or state financial aid.
A student’s loan amount is determined as a part of the aid package. A student’s loan eligibility is based on factors that include annual loan limits, unmet need, and federal aggregate limits. In addition, if a student has less than an academic year remaining in the degree program, the loan is prorated, per federal guidelines.
A student who completes the academic requirements for a program but does not yet have the degree is not eligible for further federal aid for that program.
Direct Loan Annual Limits
||Total (Subsidized & Unsubsidized)
*Includes dependents with a Parent PLUS loan denial
||Total (Subsidized & Unsubsidized)
||See Types of Graduate Aid
||See Types of Graduate Aid
|Aggregate Limits (Lifetime limit)
||Total (Subsidized & Unsubsidized)
Notification of Financial Aid Status and Awards
College e-mail addresses are assigned to all Columbia College applicants (see Resources ). The Financial Aid Office corresponds with students primarily via e-mail regarding the status of their financial aid application and notification of financial aid estimated awards. Correspondence sent via e-mail is not sent via postal mail. Students should check their College e-mail on a regular basis and are responsible for information sent even when school is not in session.
Students may access their financial aid award estimate(s) through the CougarTrack link on Columbia College’s website. The financial aid electronic award notifications and associated links in the notification discuss eligibility requirements and other important information. Students should carefully review their electronic award notifications and are responsible to read and understand all included information. Students should accept or decline the aid that is offered to them through the electronic award notification process. Students must provide documentation if they are receiving an outside form of financial assistance not listed in the award notification.
Financial aid is awarded to a student with the expectation that the student will attend school for the period for which the assistance is awarded. If a student does not begin attendance in all of their classes, the aid must be recalculated based on the actual attendance. Students who are not in attendance for the courses in which they enrolled are not eligible to receive financial aid.
A student’s financial aid (except Federal Work-Study) is credited directly to their student account and applied to tuition and fees each semester/session. Aid funds are credited for other charges with authorization from the student through the electronic award notification process. Federal Work-Study funds are paid in the form of a biweekly paycheck to the student. Funds are paid for authorized hours worked.
When a student registers for courses, they may deduct the amount of aid that has been awarded (except Federal Work-Study) from what is owed to the college. If a student’s financial aid award exceeds their charges, the student will receive a refund. Estimated refund dates are posted on the Enrollment Service Center’s website under “Refunds.” Refunds are either mailed to the student at their home address or sent electronically to the student’s bank account (for student who elect the direct deposit option through their ePayment account.) A student may use excess financial aid prior to the start of a term to purchase books by using a book voucher. Students eligible for a book voucher should contact their local campus or the Enrollment Service Center for more information.
To assist with expenses associated with attending Columbia College, students often receive funds from multiple sources that are to be used specifically (exclusively) for tuition. Funding beyond 100% of the tuition cost will not be returned to the student or applied to other expenses. These sources include, but are not limited to military/corporate tuition assistance, VA Education Benefits, MyCAA, institutional aid, endowed aid and Employee Educational Grant (EEG)/Employee Graduate Educational Grant (GEG). The College will apply the non-institutional tuition-only funding sources first. Any excess funds remaining, after 100% of the tuition is paid, will be returned to the funding source and not the student.
Teacher Certification Post Baccalaureate
Master of Arts in Teaching Post-Baccalaureate or Alternative Certification
Master of Arts in Teaching Post-Baccalaureate program (MAT.PB) and Master of Arts in Teaching Alternative Certification (MAT.AC) are programs for students who have completed a bachelor’s degree and are pursuing teacher certification. MAT.PB students are considered to be undergraduate students for federal financial aid purposes and therefore can be reviewed for the Pell Grant, Direct Subsidized loans and Direct Unsubsidized loans. To be reviewed for federal aid, students must complete the following items:
- Be admitted to the MAT.PB or MAT.AC program.
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and answer the following questions as indicated below:
- Question 29, “What will be your grade level be when you begin college in the 2019-2020 school year?” will need to be answered “5th year/other/undergraduate.”
- Question 30, “What degree or certificate will you be working on when you begin college in the 2019-2020 school year?” will need to be answered “Teaching credential (non-degree program).”
- Question 48, “At the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year, will you be working on a master’s or doctorate program (such as an MA, MBA, MD, JD, Ph.D., Ed.D., graduate certificate, etc.)? will need to be answered “No” for not working on a master’s program.
- Have a list of required courses for completion of teacher certification submitted from Columbia College’s Education Office at Main Campus to Financial Aid.
Teacher Certification student may only take courses that are on the list of classes from the Education Office while receiving financial aid. Enrolling in a course that is not on the list will affect the student’s financial aid.
Post-baccalaureate programs at Columbia College are programs for students who have completed a bachelor’s degree but must complete undergraduate prerequisite course work before being fully admitted to the master’s program of their choice. Federal financial aid regulations require that the Financial Aid Office differentiate these students from fully admitted masters students when awarding aid. While post-baccalaureate students are not considered degree seeking, they do have eligibility for some types of aid. The student’s direct loan eligibility begins at the time of enrollment in the first post-baccalaureate course. From the beginning of direct loan eligibility, a post-baccalaureate student has 12 months to complete all required post-baccalaureate courses. Post-baccalaureate students are considered to be undergraduate students for federal financial aid purposes; these students also must complete additional items listed below:
- Be fully admitted to a post-baccalaureate program.
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students must answer the following questions as indicated below:
- Question 29, “What will be your grade level be when you begin college in the 2019-2020 school year?” will need to be answered “5th year other/undergraduate.”
- Question 30, “What degree or certificate will you be working on when you begin college in the 2019-2020 school year?” will need to be answered “other/undecided.”
- Question 48, “At the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year, will you be working on a Master’s or Doctorate program (such as an MA, MBA, MD, JD, Ph.D., Ed.D., graduate certificate, etc.)? will need to be answered “no” for not working on a master’s program.
Once the 12 month period of time is over, a student must be fully admitted into the graduate program in order to continue receiving federal aid. Once the student is fully admitted to the graduate program the student should update the answers on the FAFSA to reflect the following and notify the Financial Aid Office to have aid processed at graduate levels.
- Question 29, “What will be your grade level be when you begin college in the 2019-2020 school year?” will need to be answered “first year graduate/professional.”
- Question 30, “What degree or certificate will you be working on when you begin college in the 2019-2020 school year?” will need to be answered “Graduate or professional degree.”
- Question 48, “At the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year, will you be working on a master’s or doctorate program (such as an MA, MBA, MD, JD, Ph.D., Ed.D., graduate certificate, etc.)? will need to be answered “yes” for working on a master’s program.
Students with questions about financial aid should call the Enrollment Service Center for assistance 573-875-7252. Additional financial aid information is available at: www.ccis.edu/financialaid.