Financial Aid Tools for Veterans

The College Navigator

The College Navigator is an online consumer tool that provides school information, including tuition and fees, retention and graduation rates, use of financial aid, and student loan default rates. This interactive website, which features a cost calculator and school comparison tool, allows you to explore and compare features of different institutions, including programs and majors, admissions considerations, campus crime statistics, and more. The College Navigator is located here.

To Use The College Navigator: Type in the name of the school you wish to look up (such as ‘Columbia College Chicago’) and click ‘Show Results’. You can also opt to search for programs based on level of award, institution type, location, etc. Click on the ‘+’ icons to expand the various information pieces about the institution.

The College Scorecard

The College Scorecard is a planning tool and resources to assist prospective students and their families as they evaluate options in selecting a school. The Scorecard includes essential information about a particular college’s cost, graduation rates, average amount its students borrower, all in a standardized and easy-to-read format. It is designed to help you compare colleges and choose one that is well-suited to your needs. The College scorecard can be located here.

To Use The College Scorecard: Type in the name of the school you wish to look up (such as ‘Columbia College - Chicago’) and click ‘Show Results’. You can also opt to search for colleges based on location, type of college, area of interest or other popular criteria.

The Financial Aid Shopping Sheet

All veteran and military members will receive the Columbia College Chicago Federal Financial Aid Shopping Sheet within 30 days of receiving your initial award letter. If you have not received a Shopping Sheet, please contact Columbia Central. Columbia’s Federal Shopping Sheet will provide you with personalized information on net cost as well as general information on institutional outcomes—all in a standardized format.

The Shopping Sheet is a model aid award letter designed to simplify information that prospective students receive about costs and financial aid so they can easily compare institutions and make informed decisions about where to attend school. The Shopping Sheet template can be accessed here.

The ‘Paying for College’ Website

The ‘Paying for College’ website can be used by prospective students to enter the names of up to three schools and receive detailed financial aid information on each one and to enter actual financial aid award information. You should have your financial aid award letter and/or shopping sheet available from Columbia College Chicago (and any other schools you want to compare) when using this tool. The Paying for College website can be accessed here.

To Use Paying for College Website: Click on ‘Compare financial aid offers’ from the main Paying for College page. Type ‘Columbia College-Chicago’ in the ‘School name’ box. Click the box that says ‘I have a financial aid offer from this school’ if you have received an official award letter and/or the Shopping Sheet from Columbia College Chicago. Click ‘Continue’ to add Columbia to your comparison. Add up to two more schools to compare.

To compare estimated costs of attendance: Click on the ‘Cost of Attendance’ line. Using your award letter and/or shopping sheet from each school, enter the corresponding amounts for tuition & fees, housing & meals, books & supplies, transportation, and other education costs.

To compare financial aid offers: Click on the ‘Money for School’ line and then click on ‘Grants & scholarships’. Enter the grant and scholarship amounts from each award letter and/or shopping sheet for each school. You can also use the ‘GI Bill® Calculator’ to calculate estimated GI Bill® Benefits if you will be receiving them. When finished, click on ‘Federal Loans’ to enter the federal loan amounts from each award letter and/or shopping sheet for each school. Lastly, if you intend to borrow a private loan, click on ‘Private Loans’ to enter the amount you anticipate to borrow at each school.

GI Bill®is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at

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