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Teachers College, Columbia University
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Frequently Asked Questions

New! Frequently Asked Questions

FAFSA

What is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?
The FAFSA is a document that students need to complete if they wish to be considered for federal aid including Federal Work-Study, federal loans, and/or the Federal TEACH Grant. You will be required to use income information from the previous year to complete it. For example, if you are completing the 2013-2014 FAFSA, you will use the information found on your 2012 tax returns to complete the FAFSA.

Where do I go to complete the FAFSA?
The FAFSA is available online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

I did the FAFSA last year. Do I have to do it again this year?
Yes. You should do a new FAFSA for each academic year. The FAFSA is available on January 1 for each upcoming academic year (example: The FAFSA for the 2014-2015 aid year is available on January 1st, 2014 and will be up until June 30th, 2015. It will be valid for Fall 2014, Spring 2015, and Summer 2015). Your FAFSA does not roll over from one aid year to the next.

I have lost or forgotten my Federal PIN. Can the Office of Financial Aid tell me what it is?
No. We do not have access to the Federal PIN. You must visit the PIN website at www.pin.ed.gov or call 1-800-4-FED-AID for assistance.

I'm applying for Fall 2014, Spring 2015, and/or Summer 2015. Which FAFSA do I need to complete to be considered for federal aid?
You will need to complete the 2014-2015 FAFSA using your 2013 tax information. This FAFSA will be available on January 1, 2014 at www.fafsa.ed.gov. It will be available until June 30, 2015.

I’m starting at Teachers College in the summer. Which FAFSA(s) do I complete?
You should keep in mind that the summer term is the last term of each academic year. For example, Summer 2014 is the final term of the 2013-2014 academic year while Summer 2015 will be the final term of the 2014-2015 aid year. Students who plan to start in the summer should complete two FAFSAs. If you plan to start at Teachers College in Summer 2014 and continue into Fall 2014, Spring 2015, and/or Summer 2015, you will complete the 2013-2014 FAFSA and the 2014-2015 FAFSA when it becomes available. Remember that each fall term marks the beginning of a new academic year.

I didn’t work last year. Do I still need to complete the FAFSA?
Yes. Even if you did not work, you should still complete the FAFSA if you wish to receive federal aid. If you did not earn any income, you are able to put “0” in the income fields. You may be asked to provide documentation on how you supported yourself during the year.

I received an e-mail from the TC Office of Financial Aid telling me to update the filing status on my FAFSA. What does this mean?
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 about it. Please note that this requirement 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 it is a good idea to make sure 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.

I have been living and/or working abroad. How do I know what figures to put on the FAFSA?

You should convert your foreign wages to the United States equivalent. This is a situation where speaking to a FAFSA representative may be helpful. You can contact them at 1-800-4-FED-AID.

Is there a deadline to complete my FAFSA?

There is no specific deadline to complete your FAFSA, however, we recommend that you complete it by March 1st of the year you plan to attend (example: If you intend on coming to TC in Fall 2014, you should try to complete your 2014-2015 FAFSA by March 1st, 2014).

Should I wait to see if I'm admitted before I complete the FAFSA?
No, you should not wait. Even if you do not know of your admission decision, you should complete the FAFSA and include the TC Federal School Code (G03979). If you are admitted, we will create a federal aid package for you. If you are not admitted, there will be no financial aid package created for you.

What is the Teachers College Federal School Code?

The TC Federal School Code is G03979.

I used Columbia’s Federal School Code on my FAFSA. Is this correct?
No. While we are affiliated with Columbia University, we operate independently. Therefore, we have our own Federal School Code. It is G03979.

I just completed the FAFSA yesterday. Why doesn’t Teachers College have it?
It can take up to two weeks for us to receive new FAFSA records from the federal processor. The same goes for any corrections or updates you make to your FAFSA. Check to make sure that you used the TC Federal School Code on the FAFSA.

What happens after I submit the FAFSA?

Once you submit your FAFSA, your information goes immediately into the US Department of Education's Central Processing System (CPS). The CPS will process your application in three to five business days if you have provided your electronic signature. It can take up to two weeks for the record to be downloaded into our system.

What should I do with my Student Aid Report (SAR)?
You must review it carefully to make sure it's correct and complete.  If it is, and it contains your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), Teachers College will use this information to determine your eligibility for federal aid. Keep a copy of the SAR for your records.

Can I make corrections to my FAFSA?
Yes. You can log into the FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov and click “Make Corrections.” The updated record can take up to two weeks to be received by our office.

What is the Expected Family Contribution?
The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is a number determined by the information you put on the FAFSA. Such things as your household size, your wages, and your adjusted gross income can affect the EFC. Your EFC is neither the amount of money you will have to pay for college nor is it the amount of federal student aid you will receive. It is a number used by the school to calculate the amount of federal student aid you are eligible to receive. As a graduate student, you are considered independent, so oftentimes the “family” in Expected Family Contribution is just you. Finally, there is limited need-based federal aid for graduate students. Federal Work-Study and the Perkins Loan are the only two types of need-based aid that you may qualify for.

Do I have to have completed a FAFSA to receive a scholarship?
No. Scholarships at TC work separately from federal aid. You do not have to have a completed FAFSA on file to receive a scholarship, as our scholarships are merit-based and not contingent upon financial need.

What is IRS Data Retrieval? Should I use it?
You should use it if possible. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows applicants who have already filed their federal income tax returns to prefill the answers to some questions on the FAFSA by transferring data from their federal income tax returns. This can save you some time in completing the FAFSA. It may also reduce the likelihood that your FAFSA will be selected for verification. Learn more about IRS Data Retrieval here.

My EFC does not accurately reflect my current financial situation. Can it be changed?
There is no way to alter the information found on your previous year’s tax returns, so it is not possible to change your EFC. If you believe you have extenuating circumstances, you may come into our office to speak with a counselor. Because there is limited need-based funding for graduate students now, a change in the EFC does not usually have an impact on your financial aid.

Do I include my parents’ income information on the FAFSA?
No. Graduate students are considered independent, regardless of age. You should only put your (and your spouse’s, if married) information on the FAFSA.

I was selected for verification. What does that mean?
Verification is a process in which the school compares the information you put on the FAFSA to the information found on your tax return transcript. We are able to select you for verification, but most students who are selected for verification are selected by the federal processor. When this happens, we must fulfill their request and verify the student’s information. It allows greater accuracy in the creation of aid packages. If possible, you should always use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA.

What documents do I need to turn in for verification?

This mostly depends on the type of verification for which you are selected. Most students will only have to provide tax and income information, while others may need to provide statements of educational intent, records of previous education, and/or proof of child support paid. The e-mail you receive from our office will tell you which documents to submit. In some instances, our review of your submitted documents may require us to request additional information from you.

Click here to learn more about verification and other FAFSA flags, and click here to access our Forms page.

I used a different name on the FAFSA and it does not match what is on my TC record. Will this cause a problem?
Yes. You should make sure that your name on the FAFSA matches what is on the TC system and vice versa. The name reported must always be your legal name. If you do not use your legal name, it can cause mismatches with other government agencies when your application is being processed.  Also, please make sure that you enter all of your information carefully and correctly to avoid delays.

Student Loans

I am a continuing student and I used to see a Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan in addition to a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan on my award package. Now all I see is a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan. Why?
As of July 1, 2012, graduate students are no longer eligible for Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans. This is due to a decision made by the US Department of Education. In the past, you may have seen $8,500 in Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan and $12,000 in Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan on your award package. Now that the Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan is no longer available to graduate students, the amount is combined to $20,500 in Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan to be used during the year.

How do I accept my loans?
You can find detailed instructions on how to accept your loans by clicking here.

Am I accepting my Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan in the TC Portal?
No. The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan has a separate acceptance process on www.studentloans.gov. You cannot accept the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan on the TC Portal because acceptance of this loan is contingent upon an approved credit check. The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan also has its own Master Promissory Note (MPN).

I accepted all of my aid, but the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan still shows up in offered status. Why?

The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan has its own acceptance process. You cannot accept those funds until your credit is approved. Follow the directions found here. We will accept that loan for you once we receive your credit approval.

I applied for the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, but my credit was denied. What are my options?
You may either obtain an endorser, or you may choose to document extenuating circumstances relating to the reason you were declined. The extenuating circumstances documentation will not be submitted to Teachers College. It will be submitted to the US Dept. of Ed.'s Applicant Services division. Contact Applicant Services by calling 1-800-557-7394.

My credit was denied when I requested the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan. How do I secure an endorser?
An endorser is someone who does not have an adverse credit history and agrees to repay the loan if you do not repay it.

If you choose to obtain an endorser, the individual will endorse the loan on the secure www.studentloans.gov website by clicking “Endorse a Direct PLUS Loan” after they have logged in using their Federal Student Aid (FSA) PIN. If the endorser does not have a FSA PIN, they may obtain one by visiting the FSA PIN website at www.pin.ed.gov. To complete the endorsement online, the endorser will need the Loan Reference Number (if you completed a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Request) and a FSA PIN. If you completed a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Request, the Loan Reference Number may be found in the confirmation email you received. You may also find the Loan Reference Number by logging in to the www.studentloans.gov website and selecting "Direct PLUS Loan Requests" located on the left navigation bar.

Please note that if you use an endorser and need to request additional Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan funding at a later date, the endorser must complete an addendum for the additional amount on www.studentloans.gov. The student must also complete a new Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Master Promissory Note on www.studentloans.gov and submit a Loan and Work-Study Change Form to the Teachers College Office of Financial Aid documenting the increase.

I was denied the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan because of my credit, but I have resolved the issue. How do I proceed?
You are able to provide satisfactory documentation to the U.S. Department of Education showing that the information causing the adverse credit decision is incorrect or has been corrected. You may also provide documentation to show that there are extenuating circumstances relating to the adverse credit history. (Note: Endorsers aren't eligible for this option.) After you submit your request to document extenuating circumstances, Applicant Services will contact you. Once all documentation has been received, a determination will be made and provided to you within seven to ten business days.

If you believe that there are extenuating circumstances related to the adverse credit information that should be considered in evaluating your eligibility for a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, you may begin the process in one of two ways:
1.    Log in to www.studentoans.gov and select "Document Extenuating Circumstances" on the left navigation bar. Follow directions. Applicant Services will contact you with further instructions.
2.    Contact Applicant Services between 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. Applicant Services may be reached toll-free, at 1-800-557-7394.

What is my student loan borrowing limit?
As a graduate student, you are eligible for a total borrowing limit of $138,500 in Federal Direct Stafford Loans. This number includes any previous Federal Direct Stafford Loans you may have used as an undergraduate student or at another graduate institution. Note that the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan does not count toward the $138,500 limit, so even if you have borrowed $138,500 in Federal Direct Stafford Loans, you may still be eligible for the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan if your credit is approved.

The Federal Perkins Loan also does not count toward the $138,500 limit. The Federal Perkins Loan borrowing limit is $60,000. This number includes any Federal Perkins Loans you received as an undergraduate student and any Federal Perkins Loans you have received as a graduate student.

What is the interest rate and grace period for the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan?
The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan has a 5.41% fixed interest rate and a six month grace period. Because this loan is unsubsidized, it will accrue interest while you are in school and during your grace period. Interest begins accruing upon disbursement. If you drop below half-time status (6-8 credits) or you graduate, you will enter your grace period. You are able to pay your interest through your lender while you are in school. We recommend doing this if you are able, otherwise your interest will be capitalized, meaning that the interest that has accrued while you were in school will be added to your original borrowing amount (otherwise called the “principal”) when you start repayment. This can be avoided if you pay the interest before you begin repayment.

What is the maximum amount of aid I can receive in Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan?
The maximum you can receive in Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan for one year is $20,500.

What is the interest rate and grace period for the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan?

The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan has a 6.41% fixed interest rate. Unfortunately, it does not have a grace period. A few weeks after you graduate or drop below half-time status (6-8 credits), you will receive correspondence from your lender telling you that it is time to repay. Interest begins accruing upon disbursement. You are able to pay your interest through your lender while you are in school. We recommend doing this if you are able, otherwise your interest will be capitalized, meaning that the interest that has accrued while you were in school will be added to your original borrowing amount (otherwise called the “principal”) when you start repayment. This can be avoided if you pay the interest before you begin repayment.

What is the maximum amount of Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan I can receive per year?
The initial Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan offer usually ranges from $20,000 to $30,000 for the year. However, most students are able to request additional Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan funding using a Loan Change Form for the appropriate aid year. You are able to borrow up to the cost of attendance in Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan. Contact our office if you want to discuss receiving additional Federal  Direct Graduate PLUS Loan funding. Use our budgeting worksheets to help determine your costs. The amount of Graduate PLUS Loan for which you are eligible is subject to change depending on your enrollment and the amount(s) of other aid you are set to receive.

Do the federal student loans have origination fees?
Yes. The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan has a 1.072% origination fee (also referred to as a disbursement fee) and the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan has a 4.288% origination fee. The funds arrive with those fees already taken out by the US Department of Education. You will be responsible for paying back the full amount of the loan even though the full amount does not actually disburse to your account. These fees will increase slightly after October 1, 2014.

I don’t think I need all of the loans that were offered to me. Which should I use first?

You should first consider applying for the Federal Perkins Loan (see below for further information). The second loan you should consider using is the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan. The last loan you should consider using is the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan. This is because the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan has a lower interest rate than the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan. It also has a grace period, whereas the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan does not.

What is the Perkins Loan and how do I apply for it?
The Federal Perkins Loan is awarded on the basis of exceptional financial need.  The interest rate is fixed at 5% and it has a nine month grace period, which is the longest grace period of all of the federal loans. Interest will not accrue while you are enrolled in at least six credits (or the equivalent) or during your grace period.

Apply by first completing the 2014-2015 FAFSA. Then, complete a 2014-2015 Perkins Loan Interest Form. You can submit it to our office via e-mail, fax, or snail mail. You may also bring the interest form into our office. We encourage you to do this as soon as possible, as Perkins funding is limited and distributed on a first come, first serve basis. You do not have to wait for an admission decision to submit your Perkins Loan Interest Form.

How will I get my loan money?
If all of your requirements are fulfilled appropriately, half of your total funds for the year will disburse to your Teachers College student account on the first day of class. The charges on your student account will be paid by the aid that disburses. If you come to us later in the semester to increase your loans, you will see the additional amount disburse in three to five business days if all of your requirements are complete. Please note that there will always be two disbursements. The second half of your aid would come to you on the first day of class of your second semester. See below for more details about disbursement.

When will disbursement take place?
Disbursement usually takes places on the first day of class each semester. If you have completed all of your requirements, your aid will disburse to your account at that time. Keep in mind that disbursement will always happen twice, even if you are only going to be here for one semester. If you are a fall/spring student, disbursement will happen at the beginning of each semester. If you are a fall- or spring-only student, you will receive the first disbursement at the beginning of the semester and the second during the middle of the semester. Summer students will still see two disbursements take place.

Am I eligible for additional aid?
You first want to make sure that you enrollment is up to date. Every student is given a standard package based on an assumed half-time enrollment. If you are a three-quarter time student or a full-time student, you may be entitled to additional aid based on your enrollment. To update your enrollment with us, complete a Repackaging Form so that we can make the appropriate changes to your record. At that time, we can tell you whether or not you have additional eligibility and provide you with an exact figure.  A repackaging generally makes most students eligible for additional Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan funds. If you complete your Repackaging Form and determine that you need even more funding, you may consider seeking a private loan.

How do I increase my loan(s)?
You can submit a Loan Change Form to our office. Please note that the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan credit check expires after three months. If you are looking to increase your Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan and your credit check has expired, you will need to complete a new one at www.studentloans.gov. If you have used an endorser for your Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, the endorser will need to complete an addendum at www.studentloans.gov for the additional amount requested. A new MPN will also be needed. You may want to contact our office to discuss additional loan eligibility.

How do I decrease my loan(s)?
If the loan disbursement has not yet happened, you can complete a Loan Change Form to reduce or cancel that loan. If disbursement has already happened, you should call us or visit our office to meet with a counselor.

My loan(s) disbursed, but I have decided I don't want it/them. Can I cancel?
You may cancel or reduce your federal loan disbursement(s) by submitting a written request to the Office of Financial Aid within 14 calendar days from the date of disbursement. Please be advised that canceling your federal loan disbursement may result in a balance on your student account because you may still owe Teachers College the tuition cost for your current courses.

How is my interest calculated?
The amount of interest that accrues (accumulates) on your loan from month to month is determined by a daily interest formula. This formula consists of multiplying your loan balance by the number of days since the last payment times the interest rate factor.

Daily interest formula:
Number of days since last payment
x outstanding principal balance
x interest rate factor
= interest amount

For more information on the interest, please contact your servicer, whose contact information is found through your account at www.nslds.ed.gov “Financial Aid Review.”

I declined my loan. Is it gone forever?
No. If you decline a loan, you will be able to get it back later in the academic year if you need it by completing a Loan Change Form. You will need to meet the minimum requirements for loan disbursement.

What are my options for repayment of my federal student loans?
There are numerous repayment plans, including ones based on your income. The Federal Student Aid website has a comprehensive list of the plans here.

Do I have to repay my federal student loans while I’m at Teachers College?
No. You are not expected to repay the loans you borrow at Teachers College until after you graduate. We recommend that students make payments toward their interest while they are still in school, although you are not required to do so. If you have used federal loans in the past at another institution, you should contact your servicer(s) to see if you are eligible for deferment. You must be in at least six credit hours (or the equivalent) to be eligible for in-school deferment and to keep yourself from using the grace periods associated with your Perkins and/or Stafford Loans. Some servicers require in-school deferment request forms to verify enrollment. Those forms will not be completed by the Office of Financial Aid; they will be completed by the Office of the Registrar.

Can I repay my federal loans while I am in school?
Yes. You should log onto the National Student Loan Data System (www.nslds.ed.gov) to find the contact information of your servicer. Your servicer will tell you how to start the payments and where to send them.

What is the process for private loans at Teachers College?
The private loan process is an independent one. We do not have ties with any specific lenders, so there is not one lender that we recommend over another. We encourage students to do significant research to find which private loan lender works best for them. The lender will submit a certification request to our office through the Electronic Loan Management system. Here are some tips. If you need a co-signer on your loan, you should ensure that the co-signer does not have an adverse credit history.

What are the advantages of using federal student loans versus private loans?
Federal student loans have fixed interest rates, so you will always know your interest rate. There are numerous repayment plans for the federal loans, including ones based on income. You also have grace periods associated with several of the federal loans (not the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan) and you have the possibility of Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), Teacher Loan Forgiveness, and/or Teacher Cancellation. Many private loans do not have these features.

Where can I learn about Public Service Loan Forgiveness?
You can learn more about the PSLF program here.

Where can I learn more about Teacher Loan Forgiveness and/or Teacher Cancellation?
You can learn more about the Teacher Loan Forgiveness and Cancellation programs here.

I was affected by a natural disaster and now I’m having difficulty repaying my loans. Do I have options?
If you are a borrower in repayment who was adversely affected by a disaster, you qualify for administrative forbearance of loan repayment for a period of up to three months. During forbearance, payments are temporarily postponed or reduced. However, interest is still charged during the forbearance period. You should contact your lender or loan servicer to request this forbearance.

Why haven’t I received all of my aid this semester?
Aid disburses in halves, so if you are a fall/spring student, you will receive half of your aid in the fall and half of it in the spring. While you are unable to change this disbursement for your loans, you may be able to change the distribution of your scholarship.

I've decided to consolidate my loans. Where do I go to do this?
If you have conducted careful research about the pros and cons of loan consolidation and believe it is right for you, please visit www.loanconsolidation.ed.gov to begin the process. View this page to learn more about Direct Loan consolidation.

I’m an international student. What are my options?
Unfortunately, international students are not eligible for federal or state aid. International students are eligible to receive scholarships at Teachers College and you can participate in assistantships. International students can also use private scholarships and loans. Most private loan lenders will ask that you have a US citizen co-sign the loan. You may also contact the Office of International Student Services, who may be able to give you guidance on ways to secure external scholarships. The Office of International Student Services will also be able to provide you with additional guidance on becoming eligible for employment in the United States.

Federal Requirements

What are the requirements to receive federal aid?
You must be enrolled in at least six credits (or the equivalent) per semester in a degree-seeking program. You must not be in default on previous student loans and you must be a US citizen or eligible non-citizen. You must also be making satisfactory academic progress. Please click here for more information.

What is an eligible non-citizen?
Several categories fall under this title. Please find them here.

Are non-degree students eligible for federal aid?
No. You must be enrolled in a degree-seeking program to be considered for federal aid. To apply for a degree program, please contact the Teachers College Office of Admission.

Where do I complete the Master Promissory Note(s) (MPN) and Loan Entrance Counseling session?

You fulfill those requirements at www.studentloans.gov. This is the same site you will use to complete the Graduate PLUS Loan request/credit check, if you plan to use that loan. You will need to include the Teachers College Federal School Code (G03979) on these documents. Note that each loan has its own MPN.

I see two Entrance Counseling requirements on my TC Portal. Do I have to do Loan Entrance Counseling twice?

No. One session of Loan Entrance Counseling will satisfy both requirements. If you use the Teachers College Federal School Code on your Loan Entrance Counseling record, that requirement will be satisfied automatically in three to five business days. If you are coming to TC at the start of a new academic year but complete your requirements very early, be aware that it may take longer to show up in our system because at that time, we are transitioning from one aid year to the next.

I just completed my Master Promissory Note (MPN) and/or Loan Entrance Counseling yesterday. I included the Teachers College Federal School Code on my documents. Why doesn’t Teachers College have it?

Because we communicate electronically with the US Department of Education, we do not receive these records instantly. Generally, it will take about three to five business days for your requirements to be automatically satisfied in our system.

I did Loan Entrance Counseling for Teachers College last year. Do I have to do it again this year?
No. You do not have to do Loan Entrance Counseling again while at Teachers College unless you graduate from a program and return to Teachers College to start a new one.

When I logged on to complete Loan Entrance Counseling, I saw something called Financial Awareness Counseling. Do I have to complete this?

No. While we recommend that you complete Financial Awareness Counseling, you are not required to do so.

How long are my Master Promissory Notes (MPN) valid?
Your MPNs are valid for ten years.  However, for an endorsed Graduate PLUS Loan, a new MPN has to be completed for each new aid year and for each Graduate PLUS Loan increase.

I have an outstanding requirement on my TC Portal related to my citizenship status. How do I get it resolved?
If you have already had the requirement satisfied for 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 call our office to verify what documents are needed.

I have an outstanding requirement on my TC Portal related to my Selective Service status. How do I get it resolved?
If you are a female, you should go back into the FAFSA to ensure that you stated your gender. If you are a male, you should make sure that you are registered with the Selective Service at www.sss.gov. Male students who fail to register with Selective Service before turning 26 are ineligible for federal student loan and grant programs, including Federal Work-Study and Federal Direct Stafford Loans. If you entered the country much later in life, you may not need to file. Find more information here: http://www.finaid.org/students/selectiveservice.phtml. You can also request a status information letter from the Selective Service System by visiting this page. We also have information on our website on our Special Circumstances page.

I’ve been told to complete Loan Exit Counseling. What does that mean?
Students who have borrowed under any of the federal loan programs (Federal Direct Stafford Loan, Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, and/or Federal Perkins Loan) and are expecting to graduate are required to complete a Loan Exit Counseling session. The Loan Exit Counseling session will provide you with information about repayment plans and what could happen if you do not repay your loans. If you are a doctoral student who is earning your master’s degree along the way, you will need to complete Exit Counseling when you finish your master’s degree even though you are not leaving TC. The Stafford, PLUS, and TEACH Exit Counselings are available at www.studentloans.gov while the Perkins Loan Exit Counseling is available at www.mycampusloan.com. Click here for more information.

Scholarships

I have submitted my admissions and scholarship applications to Teachers College. When will I know of a scholarship decision?
Award letters are currently accessible to continuing students for the Summer 2014 term. For the upcoming 2014-2015 aid year, new students will begin receiving award letters in mid-March. Continuing students will begin receiving aid information toward the end of the spring semester. Click here for more information.

How do I apply for scholarship?
The TC scholarship application is now integrated into your application for admission. We recommend that students complete the application(s) by the priority deadline. You must answer “Yes” to the question about whether or not you are interested in scholarship and answer the merit-based questions to the best of your ability. If you are a continuing student, your scholarship application will roll over from year to year.

I am a continuing student. How do I apply for scholarship?
The TC scholarship application now rolls over from year to year. If you have completed a scholarship application in the past, you do not need to complete another one for the entire duration of your program at TC. The requirement renews itself.

I completed my scholarship application. What scholarships am I eligible for?

You will be considered for TC General Scholarship, Minority Scholarship, International Student Scholarship, Supplemental Scholarship, and Endowed Scholarship.

Does Teachers College have any new institutional scholarship opportunities in the upcoming aid year?
Yes. Please browse our institutional scholarships page to see a list of new scholarships that we offer. These new scholarships are in addition to the ones we have offered in the past such as the TC General Scholarship, the TC Minority Scholarship, and the TC International Scholarship. Each scholarship has its own page that contains details about the award. Note that some of these scholarships require a separate application.

I heard that TC hosted a gala in November 2013. Is the money that was raised that night available to students in the form of scholarship funding?
Yes. Click here to learn more about the 125th Anniversary Scholarship.

I have never completed a scholarship application. Am I still able to complete one?
Yes. Please contact our office for directions.

I said I was interested in scholarship on the application for admission, but I didn't answer the questions OR I answered the questions but would like to add something else. Can I do this?
No. Please ensure that the answers you put on your scholarship application are full and complete before you click "Submit." After you click "Submit," you cannot return to the application. Leaving the questions blank will not make you totally ineligible for scholarship, though your scholarship application may lack additional details that would be important in the awarding process. This is why you must ensure that the questions have been answered in full before you submit the application.

Am I guaranteed a scholarship?
Scholarship at Teachers College is limited and competitive, so unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that every student will receive a scholarship.

Will I receive full funding?
Generally, full funding at TC will entail a student receiving enough scholarship funding to cover all of their tuition expenses for an academic year. In some instances, students may receive stipends to help cover additional expenses, such as ones related to living. While Teachers College does attempt to provide some funding to all of our students, especially at the doctoral level, we cannot guarantee full funding to any student. We also cannot guarantee that if you were to be fully funded that it would continue throughout the entire duration of your program. At the master’s level, it is very unlikely that you will receive full funding.

What percentage of students at Teachers College receive scholarship?
We are unable to provide a specific percentage of students who receive scholarship. Most of the scholarship decisions are made at the discretion of the administrators in your academic program. They forward those decisions onto our office so that we can include the scholarship(s) in your total financial aid package. Because there are over 100 academic programs here at Teachers College, there are over 100 different ways that scholarships are awarded. Each department has a scholarship liaison in the Office of Financial Aid. If you have additional questions about scholarship, you should reach out to that individual. There will be a welcome message from that person on your Admitted Student Page. The message will contain the scholarship liaison’s contact information.

Is financial need considered in scholarship decisions?
Some of our newer scholarships do look at financial need in addition to merit. However, as a general rule, our scholarships are merit-based. You should complete the general scholarship application to the best of your ability. Your personal statement, letters of recommendation, and all other application materials should be outstanding documents that demonstrate your strong capabilities as a student. If you are applying to other scholarships such as the 125th Anniversary Scholarship, the Diversity in Education Scholarship, and/or the LGBTQ Scholarship, you should provide what is asked of you on the application. Some will require information regarding financial need, while others will not.

If I apply for scholarships at Teachers College, will it affect my admission decision?
No. We encourage all students to apply for scholarship. It will neither help nor harm your admission decision.

I am receiving a scholarship this year. Will I receive this scholarship next year?
Scholarship decisions are made on a yearly basis, so the receipt of a scholarship during one academic year does not guarantee that you will receive it for the next academic year. Unless you are told from the initial receipt of your scholarship that it is a multi-year award, you should not assume that you will receive it again.

Why don’t I see a scholarship on my award package?
Scholarship at Teachers College is competitive and not guaranteed to every student. If you do not see a scholarship on your award package at this time, it could mean that you will not receive one or that a decision has not yet been made. The scholarship process at TC is rolling, though we try to get award information to students as early as possible. Most scholarship decisions are made by administrators in your department/program of study. They forward those decisions on to us so that we can include the scholarship(s) in your overall award package. Any time you have a question regarding scholarship, you should contact us. If you were to receive a scholarship later in the year, you will receive a revised award letter from our office via e-mail.

Do I have to have completed a FAFSA to receive a scholarship?
It depends on which scholarship to which you are applying. For the general TC scholarships, you do not need to complete a FAFSA. Those funds are not contingent upon financial need. However, some of our newer scholarships do require submission of a FAFSA.

I received a six-point scholarship. What does that mean?
At Teachers College, the words “point” and “credit” are used interchangeably. If you received a six-point scholarship, that means that you were awarded a scholarship to cover six credit hours. One tuition point will cover one credit hour. Most classes are three credit hours, so a six point scholarship would usually cover two of your classes.

I was awarded scholarship. What are the terms and conditions of this award?
Click here to read our current scholarships and stipends terms and conditions.

I got a scholarship and I want more of it to pay in the fall than in the spring. Can I redistribute my scholarship?
You can, if you are enrolled in the appropriate amount of hours. We do not make this sort of change without the student notifying us with a Scholarship Redistribution Form.

I am in enrolled in six credit hours, but I have a nine point scholarship. I do not need to take any more classes to graduate. What happens to the remaining three scholarship points? Can I receive them in cash?
Generally, no. Most scholarships are not refundable. Scholarships are for tuition points only, so unless you are enrolled in the amount of credits that your scholarship is for, it is likely that you will forfeit the remaining points.

What happens to my scholarship if I drop a course?
If you are receiving a scholarship and drop a course, your scholarship points that paid for the dropped class will be reversed. You will not be able to enroll in a course, have your scholarship disburse to pay for it, then drop the class and keep the scholarship money.

I am enrolled in Certificates of Equivalency (COEs). Can I use my scholarship to pay for these?
No. COEs are used for enrollment purposes only. They are not billable hours and you do not pay for them. Scholarship points may only be applied to billable credit hours.

I am enrolled in Dissertation Advisement and have a combination of billable credit hours and COEs. Can I still use my scholarship?
Yes, but only for the billable credit hours. Students enrolled in Dissertation Advisement (8900+ courses) will be charged for three billable credit hours per semester. Your scholarship will not pay for the COEs because they are not billable credit hours; you do not pay for them. Your scholarship points can be used to pay for the billable credit hours that come from being enrolled in Dissertation Advisement.

I received an outside scholarship. Where should the check be sent?

You can notify our office that you are receiving an outside scholarship and we will make a note of it. The check itself should be sent to the Office of Student Accounts.

I am a TC or Columbia employee, or I have some form of tuition remission through my employer. How does tuition exemption work?
Tuition exemption will be handled by the Office of Human Resources and the Office of Student Accounts. Please note that full-time Teachers College and Columbia University employees are not eligible to receive scholarships.

I deferred my admission from Fall 2013 to Fall 2014. Since the scholarship application is included in the online admission application, how do I apply for scholarship?
In this situation, you should send an e-mail to financialaid@tc.edu to discuss your options for completing the application. If you completed the scholarship application when you first applied to Teachers College, it will likely be valid for the duration of your program.

Student Employment

What is Federal Work-Study?
The Federal Work-Study (FWS) program provides jobs for graduate students with financial need. Your total Federal Work-Study award depends on when you apply, your level of need, and the funding level provided to Teachers College. Most jobs pay $12-$15 per hour and you cannot work more than 20 hours per week, or 30 hours per week during breaks. The money you earn is to be used at your discretion. You will typically receive up to $6,000 per year (not per semester) in FWS funds.

I see Federal Work-Study funds on my award package. Does this mean I am guaranteed a Federal Work-Study position?
No. When the Federal Work-Study funds appear on your award package, they are only in an offered status. You will not have access to them until you find a Federal Work-Study position. Locating a position is an independent process.

How do I get a Federal Work-Study position?
Most students find their Federal Work-Study positions through the Teachers College Human Resources page. You may also find them through networking or through part-time job fairs held on campus.

Can I work at Columbia University (or Barnard) using my Federal Work-Study funds?
No. You need to find your job through the Teachers College Human Resources page, unless a TC staff directly offered you a job. There are a few approved off-campus Federal Work-Study sites, but generally speaking, TC students will have to use their Federal Work-Study funds to work at TC and approved sites.

I have just been hired for a Federal Work-Study job.  What steps do I need to take now?
You will need to come to Office of Financial Aid to collect your authorization paperwork.  All hired students must complete a contract for every new aid year and for every Federal Work-Study job they hold. New employees (1st job in any capacity at TC) must complete a post-hire packet. Continuing employees (had a previous job in any capacity at TC) may need to complete a rehire packet at the Office of Human Resources. If you have questions about which forms need to be completed, you are welcome to contact us to seek clarification.

Can I work as many hours as I want as a Federal Work-Study student?
No. You can work up to 20 hours per week as a Federal Work-Study student. However, there are certain times of the year (summers and between terms) when you can work up to 30 hours per week.

I don’t have Federal Work-Study funds on my account. Can I still get them?
Possibly. You would want to make sure that you answered “Yes” to the question regarding Federal Work-Study on the FAFSA. You can call us or e-mail us at financialaid@tc.edu and we can look at your account to see if you are eligible. Federal Work-Study funds are not guaranteed to every student because the funding is limited. You may have to write an appeal to our office to secure Federal Work-Study funds.

If I don’t use my Federal Work-Study funds, will I have to pay that money back?

No. If you do not use your Federal Work-Study funds, they will simply get cancelled. It will not impact you negatively. You will be able to apply for Federal Work-Study funds again for the next year.

Will I be penalized for leaving my Federal Work-Study funds in offered status?
No. Leaving your Federal Work-Study funds in offered status will not affect the disbursement of other aid, nor will it accrue interest since it is not a loan. If you go for a full semester without using your Federal Work-Study funds, we may reduce your offered amount by half. For example, most students are offered $6,000 in Federal Work-Study funds to be used for the entire academic year (fall, spring, and if the student is enrolled, summer). If you do not use your Federal Work-Study funding at all during the fall term, we will reduce your Federal Work-Study eligibility to $3,000 to be used for the spring and/or summer term(s).

How will I be paid as a Federal Work-Study student?
The funds will come to you in the form of a bi-weekly paycheck or a direct deposit. Your earned Federal Work-Study money will not automatically pay any charges on your student account, nor will it be used to pay your tuition. The money you earn is yours to use as you see fit.

I declined my Federal Work-Study award six months ago, but now I have changed my mind. What can I do to try and get my award back?
You should notify us in writing that you wish to have your Federal Work-Study funds reinstated. Our Student Employment Manager will look at the Federal Work-Study budget to see if any remaining funds are available.

I am a Federal Work-Study student and I haven’t gotten paid. Why?
The first thing you should do is visit your employer's office to see if your earnings were sent as a paper check to their mailbox. You could also check your bank account if you are signed up for direct deposit. Also ensure that your employer approved your timesheet on time. If you did all of these things but still do not know why you haven't gotten paid, please e-mail Jannatul Ferdous, our Student Employment Manager, at ferdous@tc.edu.

Can I hold more than one Federal Work-Study  job?
Yes, as long as the total weekly hours worked for all Federal Work-Study jobs combined does not exceed 20 hours, or 30 hours during breaks and summers.

How do I get a graduate assistantship?
There are three types of assistantships here at TC: research, teaching, and administrative. Most administrative assistantships are found through the TC Human Resources page. Most research and teaching assistantships are found through networking and some programs will have program-specific assistantship/internship fairs that will help you secure an assistantship position.

How do graduate assistantships pay?
All assistantships will pay with scholarship points (up to six per year). Some assistantships will also provide you with a stipend.

Can I hold a Federal Work-Study job and a graduate assistantship?
Yes, as long as the total weekly hours worked for all jobs combined does not exceed 30 hours. You cannot hold another position in such a case.

Can I hold two graduate assistantships?
Unfortunately, you are no longer able to hold two graduate assistantships at the same time.

Why haven’t I gotten paid for my graduate assistantship work?
First, you should make sure your supervisor/budget manager submitted the appropriate paperwork, which will usually involve at least a Personnel Action Form (PAF).  If submitted, you should be paid on a bi-weekly schedule. The following link will provide several Payroll Schedules, where the first one pertains to you: TC Portal > TC Bookmarks > Payroll > 2012 Payroll Schedule. If you did all of these things but still do not understand why you have not gotten paid, please e-mail Jannatul Ferdous, our Student Employment Manager, at ferdous@tc.edu.

I was admitted to Teachers College. Am I guaranteed an assistantship?
No. While you will need to be an admitted student to participate in an assistantship, you must apply for assistantships separately.

Enrollment

Can I do two programs at once at TC?
No. You are only permitted to apply to and enroll in one degree program at a time here at TC. This means that you cannot be enrolled in two different master's or doctoral programs at the same time (This does not apply to students who are in doctoral programs but earn their master's degree along the way). If you would like to determine which program is right for you, consider speaking to a representative from the Office of Admission. If you are a currently enrolled student but wish to enroll in a different program, the Office of Admission will be able to provide you with directions. You will need to withdraw from your current program and submit a new admission application for the new program. If you are finishing one degree program and wish to pursue a second degree at TC, a new application for admission will be required.

Why are TC students initially packaged as half-time students?

Some financial aid packages are created as early as March for the upcoming academic year. At that time, we do not know what your enrollment will be. Therefore, all students are given the standard half-time (6-8 credit hours per semester) budget. We allow you to update this by completing a Repackaging Form if you are a three-quarter time (9-11 credit hours per semester) or full-time (12+ credit hours per semester) student.

I need to take more than six credits per semester. Can I get aid for my courses?
Yes. You should let us know your exact enrollment with a Repackaging Form. If you submit the Repackaging Form but end up taking more or less credits in a given semester than what you originally stated, you will need to submit an updated version to us. Your aid must accurately reflect your enrollment. If it does not, you may not be eligible for additional aid at that time and/or you may have to send money to which you are not entitled back to your lender.

I am only going to be here for one semester of an academic year (i.e. only fall or only spring). Will this affect my aid?
Yes, it will affect your aid. You must notify our office using a Repackaging Form so that we can determine your new eligibility and reschedule your disbursements. Students in this situation will receive all of their aid in one semester, though it will still come in two disbursements. In some cases, it will make students eligible for less aid since they will only be here for one semester.

I only need four more credits to graduate, but I need to be in six to get federal aid and/or prevent myself from entering my loan grace period(s). Do I have options?
You may have options. Some students in this situation choose to get Certificates of Equivalency (COE) through the Office of the Registrar. You must discuss this with your academic advisor and get his/her approval on the form before final approval can be granted through the Office of the Registrar. COEs are used to increase the number of credit hours you are enrolled in without taking an additional class that you do not need. You do not pay for COEs; they are used for enrollment purposes only. We do not include them in students’ budgets since you are not required to pay for them. If you are unable to secure COEs and you do not have a scholarship, you may have to fund the remaining credit hours out of pocket or with a private loan.

What is a billable credit hour?
A billable credit hour is a credit hour that you are required to pay for. It would appear as a charge on your student account. A Certificate of Equivalency (COE) is not a billable credit hour because you do not pay for it.

What happens if I drop a class?
You should contact our office if you intend to drop a class. In some cases, it can make you totally ineligible for aid. We will look at your enrollment record and your aid package to give you a concrete answer.  All enrollment changes/updates should be communicated to us using a Repackaging Form.

What happens to my scholarship if I drop a course?
If you are receiving a scholarship and drop a course, your scholarship points that paid for the dropped class will be reversed. You will not be able to enroll in a course, have your scholarship disburse to pay for it, then drop the class and keep the scholarship money.

I am in Dissertation Advisement. What does this mean for my financial aid?
You must let us know that you are in Dissertation Advisement with a Repackaging Form. For enrollment purposes, you will be considered a full-time student, yet you will only be billed for three credit hours per semester. Since you are only paying for three credit hours per semester, your budget will be updated to reflect your actual charges. You can receive federal aid if you are in Dissertation Advisement, however your financial aid budget must be reflective of your enrollment status. To prevent borrowing more aid than is permitted and to reduce the likelihood that you will have to return loan funds to which you are not entitled, you should notify us of your enrollment as soon as possible.  If you are in the final two semesters of dissertation work, you should consider applying for grant-in-aid.

I am a Teachers College student, but I want to take classes at Columbia or Barnard. Can I use my financial aid for this?
If the courses you plan to take at Columbia or Barnard are a required part of your academic program and will be charged to your Teachers College student account, then you can use your financial aid to pay for those courses. However, if they are not required by your academic program, you are unable to use your financial aid to cover them. This is especially true for students utilizing federal aid because you are not permitted to receive federal aid at two different institutions at the same time.

TEACH Grant

What is the TEACH Grant?
The TEACH Grant Program will provide up to $3,712 per year (up to $7,424 total for graduate studies) in grants to master's level students who plan to teach full-time in high-need subject areas at schools that serve students from low-income families. Full-time students (12+ credits/points) may receive up to $3,712 per academic year, while three-quarter time students (9-11 credits/points), half-time students (6-8 credits/points), and less-than-half-time students (1-5 credits/points) may receive lesser amounts that correlate with their enrollment.

How did the federal budget sequestration affect the TEACH Grant?
The federal sequestration caused the TEACH Grant allocations to be reduced. Previously, students were able to receive up to $4,000 per year in TEACH Grant funding, however, that is no longer the case. The most you are able to receive per year is $3,712.

I am in another grant program that has a service component similar to the TEACH Grant. Will I be able to use my service to satisfy that requirement both programs at once?
Yes. For example, if you receive the TEACH Grant and some other form of grant that requires a teaching component, you will be able to use your teaching time to fulfill both of those service components at once.

How do I apply for the TEACH Grant?
Beginning with the 2014-2015 academic year, students in TEACH Grant-eligible programs will automatically see the TEACH Grant offered on their financial aid packages. An institutional TEACH Grant application will not be required. If you do not want to receive the TEACH Grant after seeing it on your aid package, please contact our office in late July to acquire the appropriate form needed to decline it. Declining the TEACH Grant will not affect other aid for which you may be eligible. If you want to receive the TEACH Grant in 2013-2014, you will need to complete the FAFSA, then complete the Teachers College TEACH Grant application, which is available on our website and in our office. If you are awarded, we will e-mail you with directions on how to accept the grant. After the 2013-2014 year closes, institutional TEACH Grant applications will no longer be needed.

How often are TEACH Grant applications reviewed?
The TEACH Grant applications are reviewed every semester.  The award amounts are determined after the add/drop period ends because it is based on your enrollment and your Grade Point Average (GPA). If you are a new student, the GPA from your most recent transcript will be used during the TEACH Grant review process. The TEACH Grant applications will not be reviewed until after the add/drop period. You will be notified of a decision via e-mail.

Where can I learn more about the TEACH Grant?
You can learn more about the TEACH Grant by following this link or by contacting our Associate Director, Ana Lissette Bonilla, at bonilla@tc.edu.

Grant-In-Aid

What is grant-in-aid?
Grant-in-aid is primarily awarded to doctoral students during their last two semesters of graduate work, taking both merit and need into consideration. Grant-in-aid is designed to assist doctoral students with tuition, dissertation advisement, and/or the defense fee during the last two semesters of work.

What are the requirements for grant-in-aid?
Grant-in-aid applicants must demonstrate considerable loan indebtedness incurred while at Teachers College and have previously received little or no scholarship assistance from Teachers College, including tuition exemption. Faculty recommendations in support of grant-in-aid applicants are required.

How do I apply for grant-in-aid?

You apply for grant-in-aid by completing the application.

Who makes the grant-in-aid award decision?

A grant-in-aid committee will review applications. The committee meets during the third week of every month.

I am an international student. Can I be considered for grant-in-aid?

Yes. International students are required to seek approval from the International Student Advisor.

Summer Aid

I heard you can’t get financial aid for the summer sessions. Is that true?
That is not true. Financial aid is available for summer courses as long as you are enrolled in at least six credit hours during the summer.

How do I get financial aid for the summer?
Summer aid applications are available in our office and on our website in April. You can complete this application and tell us how many hours you plan to take during the summer. Visit our office or call us toward the end of the spring semester to discuss your options for summer aid.

What type of aid is available during the summer?

Most students who take summer courses pay for them with federal student loans. The Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan is used most often in the summer. If you have remaining Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan eligibility, you can use it during the summer.

Does it matter how my six credits are distributed during the summer sessions?
No. As long as you are in six total credits during the summer sessions, it does not matter how they are distributed. You could take all six in A, all six in B, or three in A and three in B, or in any other combination.

When do summer loans disburse and when should I expect my refund check?
Disbursements will still occur in two halves as necessary for all federal loans. Students must be enrolled in at least six credit hours before the funds pay out. If you are a Summer A student, your aid will disburse twice in Summer A and your refund will come after the second Summer A disbursement. If you are a Summer B student, your aid will disburse twice in Summer B and your refund will come after the second Summer B disbursement. If you are a Summer A and Summer B student, your aid will disburse once in Summer A and once in Summer B and your refund will come after the Summer B disbursement.

Refund Checks

What is a refund check?
A refund check is created when the aid that you accept exceeds the charges on your student account. It creates a surplus that will appear as a negative balance on your TC student account. The Office of Student Accounts (not the Office of Financial Aid) will generate the refund check. We encourage you to sign up for eRefund through your TC Portal, which allows the refund to be deposited into your bank account. The contact information for the Office of Student Accounts can be found here.

Who processes refund checks?
The Office of Student Accounts processes refund checks.

I see a negative balance on my student account. What does this mean?
Generally, a negative balance on your student account indicates the amount that you will receive in a refund check. That number may change to a zero after the Office of Student Accounts generates your refund check or eRefund.

When will I receive my refund check?
The Office of Student Accounts will not issue refund checks until after the add/drop period is over for the given semester. We recommend that students have themselves financially established for at least one month after classes begin.

Will my enrollment status affect my refund amount?
In some cases, yes. You must ensure that your most recent enrollment status is communicated to our office with a Repackaging Form. Your financial aid budget must reflect your enrollment status. If you receive money to which you are not entitled, you will be required to return that money to the lender. For example, if you submit a Repackaging Form to our office that indicates full-time enrollment (12+ hours per semester or the equivalent) but you only enroll in a half-time (6-8 credits per semester, or the equivalent) course load, you will likely have to return some of your funds. This is because you cannot receive aid based on a full-time course load if you are only enrolled as a half-time student.

What should I do with my refund check?
What you do with your refund check is up to you. Some students will use it to cover their own personal expenses while others choose to return it to the lender. If your refund is because you accepted a loan amount that exceeded your charges and you choose to keep that refund check, you should do so with the knowledge that the money will be accruing interest. If you do not wish to keep the refund, you may return the full or partial amount to the Office of Student Accounts, and then come to the Office of Financial Aid to do a Loan Return Form. The Loan Return Form is located in our office.

Can I get money ahead of time to pay for my books?
Unfortunately, TC does not have any sort of bookstore authorization program. You should be prepared to pay for your books at the beginning of each semester. If you need to be reimbursed for them, make sure you request enough federal aid to receive a refund check to recoup those costs.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

What is Satisfactory Academic Progress?
Beginning July 2011, federal regulations required all institutions to establish, publish, and apply standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for federal financial aid eligibility. The purpose of establishing, publishing, and applying SAP standards is to ensure that recipients of federal financial aid not only demonstrate financial need but also are making satisfactory progress toward degree completion.

What if I haven’t requested financial aid at Teachers College but I still see a SAP flag?
Federal regulations require that Teachers College track the academic progress of financial aid recipients from the first date of enrollment at Teachers College, whether or not financial aid was received. Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for financial aid is evaluated at the end of each term for all students.

I have an outstanding Satisfactory Academic Progress requirement on my account, but I do not want federal financial aid. What should I do?
If you do not want federal loans, Federal Work-Study, or federal grants, you are not required to go through the Satisfactory Academic Progress appeal. Please contact Nicole Siniscalchi at sinisclachi@tc.edu to have her temporarily waive the requirement. Should you want federal aid in the future, you will have to submit an appeal.

Does Satisfactory Academic Progress affect scholarships?
No. Outstanding Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements do not affect scholarships.

I see a warning in my TC Portal related to my Satisfactory Academic Progress standing. What should I do?
If you have a warning, you have one semester to rectify the situation. If it is not resolved after the semester is over, your Satisfactory Academic Progress status will become denied. Students who are denied financial aid because of their Satisfactory Academic Progress status will have to submit an appeal form to our office in an attempt to have their aid reinstated. Please contact our Assistant Director, Nicole Siniscalchi, at siniscalchi@tc.edu to learn about the appeal process.

I have been denied financial aid and I need to submit an appeal. How do I get the appeal form?
You should contact our Assistant Director, Nicole Siniscalchi. She will provide you with the form and directions via e-mail or in the office. E-mail her at siniscalchi@tc.edu.

Who reviews my Satisfactory Academic Progress appeal?
There is a Satisfactory Academic Progress appeals committee that will review your appeal. The committee meets one to two times per month, depending on the volume of appeals. You will receive a decision shortly after the committee meets.

Where can I learn more about Satisfactory Academic Progress?
We have a comprehensive Satisfactory Academic Progress page that will cover the details for both master’s and doctoral level students.

Miscellaneous

How much will my program cost?
You should view our cost of attendance pages to see the tuition and fees associated with attending TC. Click here to view 13-14 information.

If you are in a cohort program, you may have special tuition rates. The cohort program contacts in our office are as follows: Summer Principals Academy, Klingenstein and AEGIS students will contact Nicole Siniscalchi at siniscalchi@tc.edu. INSTEP students will contact Jannatul Ferdous at ferdous@tc.edu. Gates Millennium and TR@TC students will contact Chris Fields at fields@tc.edu.

What is a financial aid "package?"
A financial aid package consists of any aid you are offered here at Teachers College. It may include scholarships, grants, loans, or assistantships, depending on what you have applied for and what you are eligible for.

I am applying to be a student in the _____ program. What will my financial aid package look like?
Teachers College does not have uniform financial aid packages that go to every student who is granted admission to the school. This is true in terms of both scholarship and federal aid. Because every program and every student is different, we cannot provide an exact picture of your financial aid package before you are admitted to the institution.

Does the Office of Financial Aid accept walk-ins?

We do accept walk-ins. However, if you would like to meet with a specific counselor, you should call ahead of time to verify their availability or to make an appointment.

Can I use aid from the next aid year to pay my balance for this year?

No. We cannot disburse aid from the next aid year to cover your balance for the current aid year. We recommend that you routinely check your student account on your TC Portal and thoroughly review all correspondence that comes from our office. Doing so will help keep you up to date on important dates, deadlines, processes, and changes.

How do I find my TC ID number?
Your TC ID number (T########) is assigned to you when you apply for admission to the College. It is also on any official correspondence you receive from campus offices. It can also be located through your TC Portal. When you are logged into your TC Portal, click the TC Services tab. You will see a heading entitled “Personal Information.” Under that heading is a link called “My TC ID Number.” This screen will display your TC ID Number. It is a quick, safe, and easy way to look up your information in our systems. Please have your TC ID number ready when you contact our office.

I know my UNI, but I don’t know the password for it. Does the Office of Financial Aid have access to my password?
No. You must contact the Office of Academic Computing. Their contact information can be found here.

Can my parents, friend, spouse, and/or significant other discuss the specifics of my financial aid?
We are mandated by the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to maintain student record confidentiality. We can only discuss the specifics of your financial aid account with you. However, if you would like to authorize other individuals to have access to your financial aid account details, you can submit a signed FERPA Form to our office letting us know the name(s) of the authorized person(s) and how they are related to you. Please note that this form is for our office only. Other campus offices may have their own required processes/forms needed to release your information to third parties. Contact our office to get a copy of our FERPA Form.

I am in a cohort program (Summer Principals Academy, Klingenstein, AEGIS, INSTEP, Gates, TR@TC). Whom do I contact?
Summer Principals Academy, Klingenstein and AEGIS students will contact Nicole Siniscalchi at siniscalchi@tc.edu. INSTEP students will contact Jannatul Ferdous at ferdous@tc.edu. Gates Millennium and TR@TC students will contact Chris Fields at fields@tc.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

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