Leaving Columbia in Good Standing

Before you leave Columbia, there are several steps you must complete to ensure you are in good financial standing.

Pay Your Balance in Full

Log in to your student portal and review your student account to make sure that you don't have a balance and aren't registered for future semesters. If you have a remaining balance, you will not be able to receive official transcripts or your diploma. Delinquent accounts are sent to third-party collection agencies and you will incur additional costs. 

Confirm Graduation Information

Then, confirm your intended graduation date by completing a graduation application. Update your address and phone number in your student portal to your permanent address.

More information about how to apply for graduation can be found here

Graduation Audit Process

Your graduation audits are performed by degree evaluators in the Office of the Registrar. In order to be audited for graduation, you must complete a graduation application, located in your student portal. During your audit, your degree evaluator uses your advising guide to determine your progress towards completing your degree. You are encouraged to regularly check your advising guide in the student portal to monitor your own progress.
 
Your evaluator will conduct an initial degree audit while your last semester is still in progress. You will receive notice via your official student email, indicating whether you are on track to complete your degree by the end of the semester.
 
Once all your final grades are posted, your evaluator will conduct a final degree audit to determine if you have completed your degree requirements. If you complete the requirements, your degree will be posted to your Columbia transcript. Provided you have no financial holds on your account, your diploma will be ordered and mailed directly to you.
 
You will be notified of your graduation status via your official student email once it has been determined.

Diplomas

Diplomas are issued approximately six weeks after each semester ends. Diplomas will not be released if there is a financial, library or exit counseling hold on a student's account. 

Please note that all new and duplicate diplomas are printed in our most current format on 11" by 14" paper.

If you graduate in Summer 2016 or later:
Diplomas are mailed directly to students' permanent address on file, unless the student provided a different address on the diploma mailing request form.

If you graduate in Spring 2016 or earlier:
Diplomas that were never picked up from Spring 2016 and earlier are no longer kept on file. If you graduated Spring 2016 or earlier and never picked up your diploma, please complete a diploma request form to order and pay $20 for your diploma.

If you need a duplicate diploma:
If your diploma is lost or damaged and you would like to order a duplicate, please do so on the duplicate diploma request form. A credit card is required.

The fee for a duplicate diploma is $20.00. It takes approximately three weeks. The diploma will be mailed via USPS to the address provided on the request form. International shipments can take 6-8 weeks and vary depending upon the country. Tracking may not be available for international orders.

Begin Your Student Loan Repayment

There are steps you must take to begin repaying your federal student loans. Before you get started, visit studentaid.gov for helpful tips and checklists. Also, Columbia has partnered with ECMC Solutions to help you through the repayment process. Call (844) SUCCEED or (844) 327-9349. The counselors at ECMC Solutions are passionate about helping students choose the best long-term repayment plan.

  • Complete Online Exit Counseling

    Online exit counseling is required for all students who:

    • borrow Federal Direct Student Loans
    • receive TEACH grants
    • have graduated, left school, or dropped below six credit hours

    An account management hold will be placed on your account until this is completed. 

    To begin, visit studenloans.gov to log in, then click on Complete Counseling to select and complete exit counseling.

  • Retrieve Your Financial Aid History

    The Federal Student Aid website allows federal financial aid recipients to access their financial aid history from the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). This website’s feature allows students, parents and borrowers to access their loan history detail, view their loan servicer’s contact information, and review grant detail including Pell eligibility remaining.

    Please note that you will need your Social Security number and your FSA User ID to access your information.

  • Get to Know Your Loan Servicer

    Staying in touch with your Loan Servicer is the best way to avoid default. Keep them informed of any address change, phone number change, or any other change in your information. 

    If you're not sure who your loan servicer is, you can look it up at StudentAid.gov or call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 800-4-FED-AID (800-433-3243; TTY 800-730-8913).  

  • Create a Budget for Repayment

    Use the time allowed by your Grace Period to create a budget which will help you make your payments and achieve your plan.

    Tax benefits are available for certain higher education expenses, including a deduction for student loan interest for certain borrowers and may save you money. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Higher Education, explains these credits and other tax benefits. You can get more information online at www.irs.gov or by calling the IRS at 800-829-1040.

    Default Prevention

    We've teamed up with Solutions at ECMC to answer all of your student loan repayment questions. Solutions is a service of the non-profit organization ECMC and is dedicated to helping students manage educational loans. Their resources are available to you free of charge. Contact a Solutions Student Loan Repayment Advisor via email or chat at ecmcsolutions.org or call them at 877-331-3262.

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