Incoming Student FAQ
I haven’t received a decision letter yet. How do I find out whether or not I’ve been admitted?
How do I let you know whether or not I’ve decided to attend?
I'm still waiting to hear back from other schools. Can I have an extension on my deposit deadline?
I’m considering deferring to the next academic year. Whom should I speak with?
I’m on the waitlist, when can I expect to hear from you regarding admission?
FINANCIAL AID, SCHOLARSHIPS and CAMPUS JOBS
Am I eligible for financial aid?
How do I apply for student loans?
My decision letter did not mention anything about a scholarship. Am I still eligible?
Are campus jobs available? How do I apply?
Do you offer Graduate Assistantships?
When will my first tuition payment be due? Can I set up a payment plan?
Can I defer my undergraduate loans while attending grad school?
REGISTRATION and COURSE SCHEDULES
When will I register for my classes?
When do classes begin?
When do classes meet and how will I find out which courses I am supposed to take?
I’d like to pursue my program part-time, who should I talk to?
HOUSING and RELOCATION
Is on-campus housing available for graduate students?
I've already applied for housing. When will I find out about my room assignment?
I’m looking for a roommate. How can I contact other students admitted to my program?
I’m new to Chicago, any suggestions as to where I should start looking for an apartment?
I’m an international student. How do I get begin the process of getting a study visa?
- Decision letters are mailed out to the address listed on your application approximately six to eight weeks after the program’s deadline. If you have been waiting more than eight weeks, please contact the Graduate Admissions office to request a reprint. We apologize for any inconvenience, but admission decisions cannot be given out over the phone.
- We’ve made it easy—simply follow the link to colum.edu/decision and accept or decline our offer. If you choose to accept, you’ll be prompted to submit a $450 confirmation deposit to officially secure your spot in the incoming class. The amount is non-refundable and will be applied toward your first semester’s tuition.
- In many cases: yes! We want you to be able to make an informed decision about where you will pursue your graduate study, and we would never unduly pressure a student to commit to Columbia before they've heard back from other schools. That being said, depending on the time of year and the program, we sometimes have more flexibility in this regard than others. If you would like to discuss an extension on your deposit deadline, please contact Graduate Admissions at (312) 369-7260.
- You may request permission to defer your admission for one year. However, deferrals are granted at the discretion of the department and are not guaranteed. If you are granted a deferral, you will be required to submit a $300 Graduate Deferral Deposit in addition to a $450 Graduate Confirmation Deposit. After receiving permission and submitting these two payments, your spot in the next year’s entering class will be guaranteed. If you are considering deferral, please contact Graduate Admissions at (312) 369-7260.
- Students on the waitlist should generally expect to hear whether or not a spot has opened up within 8-10 weeks of the date on their decision letter. However, it is not impossible for a spot to become available much later into the summer or close to the fall semester. We understand that uncertainty of this kind can make it difficult to consider all of your options for graduate study, but we are nonetheless unable to tell you what position you are on the list or to provide updates before a spot is actually open. If a spot does become available, the Graduate Office will make every effort to notify you in timely manner.
- Columbia’s graduate tuition is calculated on a per/credit hour rate, which is dependant upon your program of study. Credit hour rates increase annually, and current rates can be found here. To estimate the total cost of tuition, please check the credit hour requirements for your program of interest.
- Students are responsible for the cost of: registration, U-Pass, student activity fee, a health center membership, and a graduation fee. Costs vary depending on your student status (full-time, part-time or summer). Click here for a summary of fees.
- Yes. In order for Columbia to continue offering transit and health center benefits to our students, everyone must participate by paying the fees. However, the U-Pass is only available and charged to full-time students.
FINANCIAL AID, SCHOLARSHIPS and CAMPUS JOBS
- Students who are enrolled in a minimum of six credit hours (part-time) may be eligible for two types of federal student loans, as well as private educational loans. Eighty-five percent of Columbia graduate students receive some amount of federal loan funding.
- Federal Direct Stafford Loans (subsidized and unsubsidized) at the graduate level have a combined borrowing limit of $20,500 and are guaranteed to students in an amount which corresponds to their enrollment status (full-time, part-time, or summer). To be eligible for a Federal Stafford Loan, you must: be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or eligible non-citizen; have not exceeded the lifetime Stafford borrowing limit of $138,500; and have submitted a FAFSA for the year in which you intend to borrow. NOTE: Graduate Stafford Loans (both subsidized and unsubsidized) have a fixed interest rate of 6.8% through 2013.
- Federal Direct PLUS Loans may be used to supplement any education-related expenses not covered by the Stafford Loan(s). However the total amount borrowed must not exceed the Cost of Attendance Budget. The graduate PLUS loan is a credit-based loan and requires an additional application. NOTE: Graduate PLUS Loans have a fixed interest rate of 7.90% through 2013.
- Private educational loans are credit-based loans with interest rates and repayment plans determined by the individual lenders. Students may borrow a private educational loan for an amount up to the student’s Cost of Attendance Budget minus other financial aid received. NOTE: Because these loans typically have higher interest rates and origination fees than federal loans, we suggest you exhaust all your federal funding options before using a private educational loan.
- More information regarding financial aid can be found at colum.edu/sfs.
- U.S. citizens and permanent residents who think they may need financial assistance in the form of student loans should first submit a Free Application for Student Financial Aid (FAFSA). Once the results are sent to Columbia, students will receive an official Award Letter outlining their financial aid options and the next steps required for securing that aid. For important dates and deadlines, or questions regarding your loans, please visit colum.edu/sfs.
- Each application is fully considered for our incoming graduate student scholarship, the Graduate Merit Award, and recipients of that award are notified in their decision letter of their selection. Sometimes new funds become available over the summer, but it is not possible for the Graduate Admissions staff to predict when or whether that will be the case. If additional funds do become available and you are selected to receive them, you will be notified by the Graduate Admissions office right away. For a complete list of scholarships available to continuing students, please visit our scholarships page.
- There are many part-time employment opportunities available on-campus, and the current pay rate is $11.75/hour. Columbia’s Office of Student Employment administers all student employment programs. Click here for eligibility requirements and more information.
- The Office of Student Employment also posts a variety of on- and off-campus jobs on ColumbiaWorks, a free online resource that houses employment opportunities for students and alumni. Graduate students have access to view postings on ColumbiaWorks once they are a confirmed student and may begin applying for jobs once they have registered for classes.
- Each department has a few Graduate Assistantships available, which are paid positions. The type of work asked of Graduate Assistants varies by department, and these positions are typically reserved for continuing students. During your first semester of graduate study, you can inquire about a graduate assistantship through your department.
- Tuition is typically due in the first full week of classes. Those paying cash may request to set up a monthly payment plan where their total balance is broken up into four equal payments due the first of each month (beginning September 1 for the Fall semester and February 1 for the Spring). For more information about ways to make a payment, click here.
- In most cases, yes. Please contact your lender for additional information. Typically your lender will grant you an “in-school” deferral for your current student loans, but you will need to provide proof of enrollment in a graduate program. Unfortunately, because incoming students do not register for classes until the end of the summer, it is not possible for Columbia College to provide enrollment verification any earlier.
REGISTRATION and COURSE SCHEDULES
- Students will be contacted by email with instructions about how to register for classes.
- To view the up-to-date academic calendar, click here.
- Full-time students take 9-12 credits per semester. Part-time students take 6-8 credits. During the summer, you will receive a sample course schedule from the Graduate Admissions Office. Courses are subject to change and cannot be confirmed until Graduate Orientation.
- Part-time enrollment is an option for some programs, but not all. To find out whether or not you would be allowed to pursue graduate study as a part-time student, you must contact the Graduate Admissions office as soon as possible. Part-time enrollment often requires careful consideration and special permission. Part-time students are not eligible for scholarships.
IS ON-CAMPUS HOUSING AVAILABLE FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS?
HOUSING and RELOCATION
- Yes. Although most graduate students choose to live off campus, residence halls are available. When possible, graduate students are grouped together. Costs range from $13,000-$14,000 for a nine-month period. You can submit a housing application by using our online application system. Enter the same user name and password that you used to complete your application for admission. For more information, visit Residence Life.
- If you have already filled out the online housing application, you will be notified by Residence Life in mid-April regarding your room. If you have not yet completed the application, you may do so anytime in the spring/summer, but keep in mind that assignments are given out on a first-come, first-serve basis.
- For privacy reasons, we cannot give out contact information for admitted students. However, a great way to connect with your classmates is to join the Graduate Study Facebook page! Post your roommate requests there and/or let the Graduate Admissions Office know so that we can help spread the word.
- Check out our relocation guide! This handy guide is a great place to start when searching for an apartment in Chicago.
- Please visit our International Students page for details. International students will need an F-1 or J-1 student visa to enter the United States to study. You can apply for the visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate, using the SEVIS I-20 Certificate of Eligibility or DS-2019 form issued by Columbia College Chicago. Other items may be required by the embassy or consulate. Questions regarding the visa process should be directed to Gigi Posejpal, Director of International Student Affairs: email@example.com or +1-312-369-7458.
- Select programs may accept a certain number of transfer credits from other graduate level courses that you have completed. However, the college does not review or grant transfer credits prior to enrollment.
- If you believe you will need accommodation for a documented disability to attend Columbia College Chicago, please contact the Services for Students with Disabilities Office at 312-369-8296.
- If you would like to schedule an informational session with one of our graduate admissions counselors, or a grad-specific tour, please call 312-369-7260 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Counselors are typically available Monday – Friday from 9am to 5pm.
- Additionally, campus tours are conducted Monday through Friday at 10:30am and 1:30pm, and on Saturdays at 11am. PLEASE NOTE: These tours are geared towards the undergraduate student population. Graduate students may find them useful in getting a general sense of our urban campus. If you would like to participate in an undergraduate campus tour, you can find more information here.