Financial Aid

Financial Aid

Degree-seeking students may be considered for a variety of financial aid options including scholarships, fellowships, grants, federal aid, and student employment. Aid is not guaranteed.

The Office of Financial Aid is committed to guiding students through the process of identifying and securing the financial resources necessary to attend Teachers College. Visit www.tc.edu/financialaid for more information. 

How to Apply

Applicants

The Teachers College scholarship application is  included in the application for admission. Applicants who wish to be considered for scholarship aid should complete and submit the application for admission by the published deadline(s). See www.tc.edu/programs for deadline dates. The scholarship application is a one-time application that does not need to be renewed or resubmitted each year of a student’s matriculation.

Applicants who wish to be considered for federal financial aid must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Continuing Students

Continuing students are not required to complete a new scholarship application each year, as the one on file will be used if necessary. However, continuing students seeking federal aid must refile the FAFSA for each year that they wish to be considered for federal loans, the TEACH grant, or work study funds.

 

How Aid is Awarded

New Students

New students who completed the scholarship application and submitted their application for admission by the posted deadline will be considered for scholarship funding upon admission to Teachers College. Students who are recipients of the Teachers College Scholarship will be notified of the award shortly after admission via email directing them to their official award letter in the student portal.

Other sources of funding, such as endowed scholarships, fellowships, and grants, may be awarded on a rolling basis. Students who receive additional funding will receive a revised financial aid award notification.

Continuing Students

Financial Aid award notifications for continuing students will be released beginning in May prior to the upcoming academic year. Students may view their financial aid award in their student portal.

The Office of Financial Aid may make changes on a student’s existing financial aid award package throughout the academic year (due to enrollment changes, withdrawals, etc.). If a change occurs, the student will be notified promptly via email.

Disbursement

Scholarship funding will be applied to the student’s account at the beginning of each term, while federal financial aid will be applied following the end of the add/drop period. For more information about federal loan eligibility and disbursement, see the Federal Financial Aid Programs section below.

Tuition, fees, account charges, and refunds are processed by the Office of the Bursar. For more information, visit www.tc.columbia.edu/bursar.

 

Scholarships, Fellowships, and Grants

Institutional Scholarships

Students who are first-time applicants to a master’s-level program of study may be considered for institutional scholarships based on the TC scholarship application. Continuing students may also be considered for other institutional scholarships.

Teachers College also offers special scholarships for new applicants to master’s programs. For more information, visit www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/financial-aid/financial-aid-sources/scholarships.

Endowed Scholarships

Endowed scholarships are provided through the generosity of donors’ contributions. Some of these funds are in support of students in particular programs, while others are available to students across a variety of programs.

Fellowships and Grants

Fellowship awards are based on scholastic ability and potential for academic and professional achievement. Grants may be merit- and/or need-based according to each program’s specific requirements. For more information, visit www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/financial-aid/financial-aid-sources/fellowships-and-grants.

Graduate Research/Teaching Assistantships

Students who are employed as graduate research/teaching assistants earn salary plus a tuition scholarship. Students may be awarded up to 3 points per semester, with a maximum of 9 points per academic year (Fall, Spring, Summer). Points may only be used during the semester in which a graduate research/teaching assistantship is awarded. For more information, visit www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/financial-aid/financial-aid-sources/assistantships.

Terms and Conditions

There are terms and conditions associated with scholarships awarded by Teachers College. For details, visit www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/financial-aid/financial-aid-sources/scholarships/terms-and-conditions.

Fellowships, grants, and graduate research/teaching assistantships may have separate criteria that students need to meet in order to gain and maintain eligibility. For more information, visit www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/financial-aid/financial-aid-sources.

 

Federal Financial Aid Programs

Federal Loans

Teachers College offers the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan and the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan.

As per federal regulations, students who seek federal aid are provided a Cost of Attendance (COA) budget that consists of estimated tuition, fees, and other expenses. The COA budget will be adjusted based on full-time, three-quarter time, and half-time enrollment. If enrollment plans change during the academic year, students should notify the Office of Financial Aid to adjust their Cost of Attendance and federal aid award package. Students who will be enrolled in less than an academic year (i.e., single-term student) will have loan eligibility reflective of their period of enrollment.

Students may be offered federal loan aid less than the annual COA budget if they receive other forms of financial aid (scholarships, grants, etc.) that are being used to cover a portion of the COA budget. For more information about federal student loans at Teachers College, visit www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/financial-aid/financial-aid-sources/federal-student-loans.

Students who wish to accept and utilize their federal loan offer must complete a Master Promissory Note and entrance interview. Students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA as soon as it is available through www.fafsa.ed.gov. In order for federal aid to be processed in a timely manner, students should begin the loan acceptance process three to four weeks in advance of the beginning of the semester.

For students who are enrolled in the Fall and Spring semesters, federal loans are disbursed after the last day of add/drop. During the Summer term, federal loans have a different disbursement schedule depending on the student’s registered summer session(s). In order for the student to receive federal aid disbursements, they must meet the following criteria on the scheduled disbursement date(s) and thereafter:

  1. Registered for at least half-time status each semester
  2. Completed an entrance interview
  3. Completed a Master Promissory Note
  4. Completed verification of income and citizenship, if required

For more information about federal student loans, visit https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa.

Federal Work-Study

Federal Work-Study (FWS) is a need-based federal financial aid program that provides job opportunities to eligible Teachers College students. Applicants are encouraged to submit the FAFSA as early as possible in order to ensure consideration for a work study award.

FWS allows awardees to earn hourly wages that help cover education-related expenses. The amount of FWS that appears on the Financial Aid Award Letter is not a guarantee of total wages to be earned. Rather, it is a maximum limit on the amount of FWS funds a student may earn should they choose to participate in the program. Students are paid only for actual hours worked.

Placement in an FWS position is contingent upon the availability of jobs and funding, as well as on a student’s skills, experience, and schedule. For more rules and regulations, visit www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/financial-aid/financial-aid-sources/federal-work-study.

Eligibility

To be eligible for federal financial aid, applicants must meet each of the following criteria:

  • Be a U.S. Citizen or Eligible Non-Citizen
  • Be enrolled in at least 6 credits/points per semester in a degree program
  • Be making Satisfactory Academic Progress toward their degree
  • Not have been convicted of any offense under federal or state law involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance
  • Be registered with the Selective Service System, if they are male
  • Not be in default on a loan or owe a payment of federal funds

All applicants are encouraged to file a FAFSA, regardless of eligibility for Federal Aid. Students can find and file the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The Teachers College institutional code is G03979.

After filing the FAFSA, students will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR), which must be reviewed for accuracy and corrected if necessary. If there are questions, contact the Office of Financial Aid. Students may also be required to submit copies of their federal tax returns and other supporting documents to verify the information on the FAFSA.

The information provided on the FAFSA is applied to a federally designed formula which calculates the “Estimated Family Contribution”—the theoretical amount the student should have available for educational costs. The cost of education minus the family contribution is “need.” The total amount of need-based aid cannot exceed this figure.

Normally, the need calculations are based on financial data from two years prior (i.e., the 2021-2022 FAFSA will utilize 2019 tax information). Students who wish to inquire about the effect of a change in their financial circumstances on their federal financial aid should contact the Office of Financial Aid.

Maintaining Federal Student Aid Eligibility

All students requesting and receiving federal student aid must meet and maintain the following criteria:

  • Be enrolled as a matriculated student in an eligible program
  • Be making Satisfactory Academic Progress*
  • Meet enrollment status requirements
  • Have resolved any drug conviction issue

Failure to meet the above requirements may result in the loss of federal student aid eligibility. Students will need to present proof of resolution to the Office of Financial Aid before aid can be offered or disbursed. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information.

*Satisfactory Academic Progress: In order to maintain eligibility for aid, students must make satisfactory progress toward their degree. In addition to meeting all standards of academic performance required in the program, students must maintain at least half-time enrollment per semester in order to remain eligible for student aid. For more details about this policy, see www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/financial-aid/sap-policy.

Return of Title IV Funds

This policy applies to students who complete 60% or less of the enrollment period (i.e., Fall, Spring, or Summer session) for which they received Federal Title IV aid. A student who drops a class but still completes one or more classes does not qualify for the Return of Title IV Funds policy. The term “Title IV aid” refers to the following federal financial aid programs: Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford loans, , Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loans, and the Federal TEACH Grant.

To conform with the policy, Teachers College must determine the student’s official withdrawal date. The official withdrawal date is defined as: 1. the date the student began the withdrawal process or officially notified Teachers College of their intent to withdraw; or 2. the last date of attendance at an academically-related activity by a student who does not notify Teachers College.

The calculation required determines a student’s earned and unearned Title IV aid based on the percentage of the enrollment period completed by the student. The percentage of the period that the student remained enrolled is derived by dividing the number of days the student attended by the number of days in the period. Calendar days (including weekends) are used, but breaks of at least five days are excluded from both the numerator and denominator.

Until a student has passed the 60% point of an enrollment period, only a portion of the student’s aid has been earned. A student who remains enrolled beyond the 60% point is considered to have earned all awarded aid for the enrollment period.

 

Other Sources of Aid

Private Loans

There are several student loan programs administered by private institutions that provide loan funds to students who do not qualify for federal or need-based loans, or who may need additional funding. They are often available from banks, require a credit check, and in some cases, a co-signer and processing fee. Securing a co-signer may result in lower interest on the loan. For information on private loans, visit www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/financial-aid/financial-aid-sources/private-loans.

Student Employment

Opportunities for student employment are available at Teachers College, including the Federal Work Study program and different types of graduate assistantships. Students should visit the Teachers College Human Resources website at www.tc.edu/hr to review job vacancies. In some instances, positions may be eligible for tuition exemption or scholarship points.

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