Prospective Students

Freshmen students

You’ve completed high school, home school, or a GED by the time you enroll at Columbia. You have not enrolled in coursework at a postsecondary college or university.

  • How do I calculate my cost of attendance?

    For more information, visit our Cost of Attendance page.

    Your cost of attendance is calculated by the number of credit hours you are enrolled in each semester and your living situation (on-campus, off-campus, or at home with your parents).

    It is meant to provide you with a reasonable cost of living while you attend classes or participate in academic activities. If you are a full-time student, your cost of living expenses are based on your enrollment as a full-time student; if you are a part-time student, your cost of living expenses are based on your enrollment as a part-time student.

  • What are funding sources for me?

    As an incoming freshman, you are eligible for the following funding sources to pay for your education:

    • scholarships*
    • loans
    • grants
    • work study

    *You are automatically considered for Columbia scholarships once you complete your application for admission.

    You are strongly encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 

  • Am I eligible for scholarships?
    Yes. As an incoming student, you are automatically considered for Columbia scholarships. For more information on scholarships available, please visit the Scholarships page. 
  • How do I start my financial aid application?
    Complete your FAFSA as soon as possible. The FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid) is available starting October 1. 
  • Do I need to complete a FAFSA?
    Yes.
  • Where do I complete a FAFSA?
    Go to fafsa.ed.gov to complete your FAFSA.

    If you encounter any difficulties while completing your FAFSA you can call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).
  • What is dependency? How do I determine it?
    From Federal Student Aid website: “A dependent student is assumed to have the support of parents, so the parents’ information has to be assessed along with the student’s, in order to get a full picture of the family’s financial strength. If you’re a dependent student, it doesn’t mean your parents are required to pay anything toward your education; this is just a way of looking at everyone in a consistent manner.

    If you’re a dependent student, you will report your and your parents’ information.

    If you’re an independent student, you will report your own information (and, if you’re married, your spouse’s).”
  • Do I have to provide my parent’s info when completing FAFSA?
    Are you a dependent student? Yes.

    Are you an independent student? No. 
  • How can I confirm that my FAFSA has been received?
    You can check the status of your FAFSA immediately after submitting it online. You can check the status of a paper FAFSA after it has been processed (roughly 7–10 days from the date mailed). Log in to your FAFSA.gov account to check.
  • Will I receive an award letter?
    After successful completion of your FAFSA and admission to Columbia, we will send you an Estimated Award Letter outlining your financial aid options. This will be mailed to you and will include your next steps in the process. Estimated award letters will be sent on a rolling basis beginning in December. Final award letters will begin in March.
  • When can I expect an award letter?
    Estimated award letters will be sent on a rolling basis beginning in December. Final award letters will begin in March.
  • What are the deadlines for applying for financial aid?
    You can complete the FAFSA from October 1 to June 30 for the upcoming school year’s financial aid. However, there are a few federal student aid programs and state student aid programs (including the Illinois MAP Grant program) that have limited funds, so be sure to apply as soon as you can once the FAFSA form is available for the year you’ll be attending school.

Transfer students

You’ve completed high school, home school, or a GED and have enrolled in at least 1 credit of college-level coursework after the summer immediately following high school graduation. This excludes dual enrollments, courses taken at Columbia, and/or any postsecondary enrollment during the summer immediately following secondary school graduation or GED completion.

You are either transferring credits to Columbia for your first bachelor's degree, or you are looking to start coursework for your second bachelor's degree.

  • How do I calculate my cost of attendance?

    For more information, visit our Cost of Attendance page.

    Your cost of attendance is calculated by the number of credit hours you are enrolled in each semester and your living situation (on-campus, off-campus, or at home with your parents).

    It is meant to provide you with a reasonable cost of living while you attend classes or participate in academic activities. If you are a full-time student, your cost of living expenses are based on your enrollment as a full-time student; if you are a part-time student, your cost of living expenses are based on your enrollment as a part-time student.

  • What are funding sources for me?

    As a transfer student, you are eligible for the following funding sources to pay for your education: 

    • scholarships*
    • loans
    • grants
    • work study

    *You are automatically considered for Columbia scholarships once you complete your application for admission.

    Please note: Students working on a second bachelor's degree qualify for federal student loans, and if you were required to provide parent information on the FAFSA, your parent can also borrow a Parent PLUS Loan. Unfortunately, second BA students are not eligible for federal grants, state grants, or institutional scholarships. 

  • Am I eligible for scholarships?

    Yes, unless you are working on your second bachelor's degree.

    As an incoming student, you are automatically considered for Columbia scholarships. For more information on scholarships available, please visit the Scholarships page. 

    Please note: Columbia does not award scholarships to assist with the costs of a second bachelor's degree. However, we encourage second BA students to apply for external scholarships

  • How do I start my financial aid application?
    Complete your FAFSA as soon as possible. The FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid) is available starting October 1. 
  • Do I need to complete a FAFSA to be considered for federal student loans?

    Yes.

  • Where do I complete a FAFSA?
    Go to fafsa.ed.gov to complete your FAFSA. 

    If you encounter any difficulties while completing your FAFSA you can call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).
  • What is dependency? How do I determine it?
    From Federal Student Aid website: “A dependent student is assumed to have the support of parents, so the parents’ information has to be assessed along with the student’s, in order to get a full picture of the family’s financial strength. If you’re a dependent student, it doesn’t mean your parents are required to pay anything toward your education; this is just a way of looking at everyone in a consistent manner.

    If you’re a dependent student, you will report your and your parents’ information.

    If you’re an independent student, you will report your own information (and, if you’re married, your spouse’s).”
  • Do I have to provide my parent’s info when completing FAFSA?
    Are you a dependent student? Yes.

    Are you an independent student? No. 
  • How can I confirm that my FAFSA has been received?
    You can check the status of your FAFSA immediately after submitting it online. You can check the status of a paper FAFSA after it has been processed (roughly 7–10 days from the date mailed). Log in to your FAFSA.gov account to check.
  • Will I receive an award letter?
    After successful completion of your FAFSA and admission to Columbia, we will send you an Estimated Award Letter outlining your financial aid options. This will be mailed to you and will include your next steps in the process. Estimated award letters will be sent on a rolling basis beginning in December. Final award letters will begin in March.
  • When can I expect an award letter?
    Estimated award letters will be sent on a rolling basis beginning in December. Final award letters will begin in March.
  • What are the deadlines for applying for financial aid?
    You can complete the FAFSA from October 1 to June 30 for the upcoming school year’s financial aid. However, there are a few federal student aid programs and state student aid programs (including the Illinois MAP Grant program) that have limited funds, so be sure to apply as soon as you can once the FAFSA form is available for the year you’ll be attending school.
  • What financial aid may I qualify for if I'm working on a second bachelor's degree?
    Students working on a second bachelor's degree qualify for federal student loans. If you were required to provide parent information on the FAFSA, your parent can also borrow a Parent PLUS Loan to assist with educational costs. Unfortunately, students working on a second BA do not qualify for federal grants, state grants, or institutional scholarships.
  • Can I receive a scholarship from Columbia for my second bachelor's degree?
    Columbia does not award scholarships to assist with the costs of a second bachelor's degree. However, we encourage second BA students to apply for external scholarship opportunities.

Graduate students

You’ve earned a bachelor’s degree (or are nearly finished with one) and are interested in earning a master of arts, master of fine arts or master of arts management.

  • How much will my program cost?

    Graduate tuition is assessed by the credit hour. You can view the cost per credit hour for individual programs on our Tuition and Fees page.

    You may also want to review the estimated graduate student budget on our Cost of Attendance page.

     

  • What are funding sources for me?

    Columbia offers a variety of potential options to help reduce or cover the cost of attendance, including:

  • Am I eligible for scholarships?

    Yes. Incoming graduate applicants are automatically considered for the Graduate Fellowship Award and the Graduate Award, if they submit a complete admissions application by the priority application deadline for their graduate program. Award amounts vary from 3 credit hours per semester to full tuition, based on the duration of the program and the strength of the admissions application.

    Additionally, if graduate applicants indicate interest in being considered for a Graduate Assistantship on their application and complete their application by their specific program's priority deadline, they are also considered for this award. Graduate Assistantships cover up to 6 credit hours per semester, based on the duration of the program and the strength of the admissions application. Graduate Assistantships also have a work component, paid at $13 per hour for 12 hours per week.

  • Do I need to complete a FAFSA?

    We recommend all incoming domestic students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at fafsa.gov. FAFSA results are important for determining eligibility for student loans and Federal Work Study positions.

    If you encounter any difficulties while completing your FAFSA you can call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).

  • How can I confirm that my FAFSA has been received?
    You can track the status of your submitted FAFSA by logging in to your fafsa.gov account. 
  • When will I receive a financial aid award letter?
    If Columbia has received your FAFSA, you can expect an award letter to arrive approximately two weeks after your acceptance notice. If it has been more than two weeks, please contact the School of Graduate Studies at 312-369-7260 or gradstudy@colum.edu
  • What are the deadlines for applying for financial aid?
    We recommend completing the FAFSA as soon as it becomes available for the year you intend to enroll, and no later than the priority application deadline for your chosen graduate program. You can view the priority deadlines for specific programs on the graduate application page

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