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Teachers College, Columbia University
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Federal Student Aid > General Student Aid Information

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Federal Student Aid

General Student Aid Information

To qualify for any sort of federal aid (Federal Work-Study, the Federal TEACH Grant, and/or federal loans), applicants must meet several requirements. Failure to meet these requirements may result in the loss of federal aid eligibility. In some cases, students may need to present proof of resolution to the Office of Financial Aid before any aid can be offered or disbursed. Contact us with questions, or visit the US Dept. of Ed.'s official federal aid eligibility website.

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

Note: It is important to complete your FAFSA for the correct aid year, as it is possible to complete two different FAFSAs, depending on the time of year you are applying for federal aid. For Fall 2013, Spring 2014, and Summer 2014, you will need to complete the 2013-2014 FAFSA. For Fall 2014, Spring 2015, and Summer 2015, you will need to complete the 2014-2015 FAFSA on or after January 1, 2014.

In addition to monitoring their individual account on the TC Portal, students using federal aid will be able to complete all requirements and/or keep track of their federal aid using the following two websites:
  • www.studentloans.gov - Use this website to complete required Loan Entrance Counseling, the Electronic Master Promissory Notes (E-MPNs) and to apply for the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan.
  • www.nslds.ed.gov - Students can complete the Exit Interview requirement and view both their grant and student loan history on this website. It is the Dept. of Ed.'s official database for viewing and managing your federal aid history.
Returning Federal Loan Funds
  • Before Disbursement: A student can cancel all or part of their federal loan(s) before the loan money is disbursed by submitting the aid-year appropriate Loan & Work Study Change Form.
  • After Disbursement: A student can cancel all or part of their federal loan(s) by submitting the Return of Loan Funds Form (available in paper format only) to the Office of Financial Aid. This form must be completed in person within 14 days of the funds being credited to the student's account. If a refund is already paid to the student, the student must credit the amount to be returned back to the Office of Student Accounts before coming to the Office of Financial Aid to complete the form. 
Refund Checks
If loans have been processed and disbursed successfully in the first week of classes, refund checks will be issued to students by the Office of Student Accounts after the add/drop period. All questions related to refund checks must be directed to the Office of Student Accounts.

StudentAid.gov provides in-depth information on federal student aid programs, applying for financial aid, and repaying student loans. Click below to learn more!