Federal Student Loans

Federal Student Loans are a major form of self-help aid for college students who are unable to pay their expenses out of pocket. Loans provide funding for essential education expenses, allowing students to focus on their studies and reduce or limit the need to seek employment during the academic year.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

The Unsubsidized Stafford Loan is granted to U.S. citizens and permanent resident students regardless of income or assets. It has a fixed interest rate and a six-month grace period. The maximum amount to be borrowed per year through this loan is $20,500. Interest will accrue while the student is in school and during the grace period. An origination fee will be taken off of each disbursement. The maximum any student can receive in Stafford Loan during their lifetime is $138,500; this includes undergraduate and graduate Stafford Loan borrowing.

Visit the Accept Financial Aid page to learn about accepting your aid, federal loan disbursements, returns and refunds. 

 LEARN MORE  

 APPLY

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

The Graduate PLUS Loan is granted to U.S. citizens or permanent resident students regardless of income or assets. However, eligibility is determined by credit approval. Students who are denied the Graduate PLUS Loan are eligible to secure an endorser for the loan. To appeal a denial, call Applicant Services at 1-800-557-7394. An origination fee will be taken off of each disbursement.

We encourage students to view their lender information and borrowing history by checking the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).

Visit the Accept Financial Aid page to learn about accepting your aid, federal loan disbursements, returns and refunds. 

 LEARN MORE   

 APPLY

Federal Loans are not available for International Students

Because international students cannot complete the FAFSA and are therefore ineligible for federal financial aid (including Federal Loans, Federal Work Study, and the Federal TEACH Grant), those wishing to use loans to pay for their expenses must do so via a private lender of their choosing. In order to apply for private student loans through a U.S. financial institution, international students will need a co-signer who is either a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident of the U.S.

Qualifications

To qualify for any sort of federal aid (Federal Work-Study, the Federal TEACH Grant, and/or federal loans), applicants must meet multiple requirements. Failure to meet any of these requirements may result in the loss of federal aid eligibility.

 All students wishing to receive federal aid must meet and maintain the following criteria:

  • File a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and include the Teachers College Federal School Code (G03979) for each aid year that federal aid is needed

    • Do not select Columbia University in the City of New York as your school. We encourage you to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, if possible. Note that new FAFSA records, as well as updates to existing FAFSAs, generally take one to two weeks to reach our office
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen

  • Enroll at least half-time (six [6] credit hours or the equivalent) for each term that federal aid is needed

  • Be in a degree-seeking program; non-degree students are not eligible for federal aid

  • Make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

  • Remain in good standing with any past drug conviction issues

 Visit the U.S. Department of Education's official federal aid eligibility website to learn more.

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