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Office of Financial Aid
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Federal Student Aid > FAFSA Flags

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Federal Student Aid


FAFSA Update / Tax Filing Status
If you indicated on the FAFSA that you "will file" taxes and estimated your income for the previous year, the tax filing status update requirement may appear on your requirements screen. You may also receive an e-mail from our office reminding you to update your FAFSA. Please note that this requirement simply serves as a reminder for you to update your FAFSA when you complete your taxes. Your federal aid processing will not be canceled or delayed due to this requirement, but we do recommend that you ensure that the information on your FAFSA matches what is on your tax return. You should use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, if possible.

Please note that any updates to your FAFSA may take up to two weeks to be received by Teachers College. If you have additional questions, please contact our office. In this case, you should wait about two weeks before contacting us to confirm the receipt of the updated FAFSA record.

If you have had a citizenship requirement satisfied in a previous aid year, please contact us. Otherwise, you will need to submit a copy of your Certificate of Citizenship/Naturalization, your green card, or your US passport, depending on the nature of the citizenship flag. Your Student Aid Report (SAR) should tell you what to submit. You may also contact our office to verify what documents are needed.

Name Mismatches
You should make sure that the name you use on the FAFSA matches the name you use on the TC system and vice versa. The name reported must always be your legal name. If you do not use your legal name on the FAFSA, it can cause a delay in Teachers College's receipt of the record. This is especially true for students with two last names and hyphenated last names, as well as students who have recently changed their names (e.g. because of marriage). If you need to change the name you used on the FAFSA, you should log back into the FAFSA to update your name to the name being used in the TC system. If you need to update the name on your Teachers College record, you should contact the Office of the Registrar. Please note that each FAFSA update you make will take up to two weeks to be received by our office.

Students who have gone into loan or federal grant default because of non-payment are not eligible to receive federal aid. If there is a flag on your SAR indicating an outstanding default issue, our office will be notified. You will not be eligible to receive any sort of federal aid until the default issue is resolved. Once the issue is resolved, you must provide our office with documentation from your lender stating that the loan(s) or grant(s) in question are no longer in default. Students should monitor their student loan history on a regular basis by clicking Financial Aid Review on the National Student Loan Data System.

If you are selected for verification, you will receive a notification from the TC Office of Financial Aid requesting additional information. A financial aid package cannot be generated until you have completed all verification requirements.

Please refer to your requirement e-mail to know which documents to submit. You should also be able to see these items in an outstanding status in your TC Portal. Our website's Forms page contains the appropriate worksheets; it is imperative that you thoroughly read the directions on the documents to ensure that you are submitting everything that is needed.

Note: All students DO NOT need to complete this process. If you are selected for verification, we will notify you via e-mail.
Selective Service
Some students may see a flag on their Student Aid Report (SAR) related to their Selective Service status. Please read the information below for information on how to resolve the flag.
  • If you are FEMALE: You will have to revisit your FAFSA and select your gender. You must then resubmit the FAFSA. We will receive this update within 5-10 business days of the change.

  • If you are MALE: You will have to provide the Office of Financial Aid with (1) an official letter from the Selective Service indicating why you were not required to register for Selective Service. If you do not have this letter, (2) you must provide proof that you requested this letter. Proof includes a copy of the Selective Service Status Letter that you mail to Selective Service along with all of the documentation you submitted with this letter. You must also include the receipt to show that the letter was mailed. After you have submitted the request, the Selective Service agency will send you a piece of official correspondence. When you receive this formal letter, bring it to the Office of Financial Aid. It does take some time for this official letter to be returned to you, so, in the interim, bringing the proof detailed above to the Office of Financial Aid will suffice.
Note: All students DO NOT need to complete this process. The Office of Financial Aid will notify those who are selected via email.