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Office of Financial Aid
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Office of Financial Aid

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Important Information

Official communication will be sent to your student G-mail account (UNI@tc.columbia.edu). You can set it up by logging into your MyTC Portal.

Our summer hours are currently in effect!
Monday through Thursday -- 9 am to 5 pm
Friday -- 9 am to 3 pm
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Important Dates

Students interested in being considered for scholarship for the upcoming academic year should apply for scholarship via their admissions application. The scholarship application is a lifetime application and only needs to be completed once.

The 2014-2015 FAFSA is currently available at www.fafsa.ed.gov. This FAFSA will apply to the Fall 2014 term, the Spring 2015 term, and the Summer 2015 Term. Be sure to use our school code (G03979) on the FAFSA.

General Information > Accepting Your Aid

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General Information

Accepting Your Aid

Please use the directions below to accept your 2014-2015 financial aid.

>>> Timeline
  • Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 students are able to accept their aid on or after July 20, 2014. If you plan to enroll as a new student in Summer 2015, you should accept your aid about two weeks before summer classes are set to begin.
  • Note that your loan requirements (MPN, Loan Entrance Counseling) will not show up as instantly completed in your TC Portal. We update the requirements screen every few days. Your requirements appear under the "Financial Aid Requirements" section of the Courses tab in the TC Portal. A red mark means that the requirement is outstanding, while a green mark means that it is satisfied.
  • Your funds will first disburse to your TC student account and pay the charges that appear on your bill. The first day of disbursement is generally the first day of class for the given term.
  • If you are entitled to a refund check, it will be distributed after the end of the add/drop period for that term. Contact the Office of Student Accounts to learn more. The Office of Financial Aid does not process refund checks.
  • If your loan(s) disburses and you make the decision not to keep it, 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.
>>> Disbursement Schedule
  • Loans always disburse in halves. Half of what you accept will disburse on the first day of fall classes, while the other half of what you accept will disburse on the first day of spring classes.
  • If you are a single-term student (i.e. only attending during the fall), your aid will still disburse in halves. It will first disburse at the beginning of the semester, and again in the middle of the semester.
  • If you plan to attend in the Summer 2015, please visit our office in late April 2015 to complete a 2015 Summer Loan Application. Click here for more information about summer aid.
  • Scholarships will disburse in two halves, unless a Scholarship Redistribution Form is filed to change the award portions.
  • Federal Work-Study (FWS) does not have to be split equally among the terms. The FWS has a yearly limit of $6,000, so you can continue working until you reach that limit, regardless of how much you earn per term.
>>> Loan Information
  • You must be enrolled in at least six credit hours per term to receive your loans. You must also meet all other requirements needed to maintain federal aid eligibility.
  • One Loan Entrance Counseling session will cover you for both the Unsubsidized Stafford Loan and the Graduate PLUS Loan.
  • Be aware that there are origination fees associated with your loans (Stafford, 1.072% off of each disbursement; PLUS, 4.288% off of each disbursement). These funds will already be taken out by the US Department of Education before your aid disburses to your student account. Note that these fees will increase slightly after October 1, 2014.
  • Any increases or decreases that you need to make to your loans after they are accepted must be communicated to our office using a Federal Aid Change Form.

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>>> Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan
The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan is the only form of aid you will be formally accepting via the TC Portal. Scholarships, Federal Work-Study, the TEACH Grant, and other loans will have different acceptance processes. Though the button may say "Accept Full Amount of All Awards," you are still only accepting the Unsubsidized Stafford Loan.

1. Log into your TC Portal. You will need your University Network Identification (UNI) and password to enter this system. If you are a newly admitted student, you cannot access the TC Portal until you submit your $300 tuition deposit. Once the deposit is received, you will be given your UNI.

2. Click on the "Courses" tab and scroll down to "Financial Aid Awards."

3. Select the appropriate aid year from the drop-down menu and click “Submit.”

4. Select the "Accept Award Offer" tab. You have three options:
  • You can choose to decline the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan.
  • You can accept the full loan by selecting "Accept Full Amount of All Awards.”
  • You can choose to accept a partial amount of the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan by selecting "Accept" and keying in the amount you wish to accept in the "Accept Partial Amount" box.
NOTE: Once you have accepted an amount of your Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, you will not be able to make additional changes in the TC Portal. All changes must be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid by completing the 2014-2015 Federal Aid Change Form.

5. Complete Loan Entrance Counseling at www.studentloans.gov.
  • The main welcome page that you see after you log in to www.studentloans.gov contains a menu in the center of the page. One of the options will be "Complete Counseling." Click this link, then choose the appropriate counseling.
  • Only one Loan Entrance Counseling session is required for both the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford and the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans. The requirement will renew itself from year to year and does not need to be done more than once. Please ensure that the Teachers College Federal School Code (G03979) is included when you complete Loan Entrance Counseling.
CONTINUING STUDENTS: Loan Entrance Counseling only needs to be done once for the entire duration of your program at TC. If you have previously completed Loan Entrance Counseling for your current program at TC, you do not need to complete it again.

6. Complete the Stafford Electronic Master Promissory Note (E-MPN) at www.studentloans.gov.
  • The main welcome page that you see after you log in to www.studentloans.gov contains a menu in the center of the page. One of the options will be "Complete Master Promissory Note." Click this link, then choose the appropriate MPN.
  • First-time Stafford Loan borrowers at Teachers College will need to complete a Federal Stafford E-MPN. Please ensure that the Teachers College Federal School Code (G03979) is included when you complete your Stafford E-MPN.
CONTINUING STUDENTS: Once completed/satisfied, this requirement will renew itself for up to ten years. If you have previously completed a Stafford E-MPN for Teachers College, you do not need to complete another one.

7. Allow several business days for your loan requirements to show up as completed in your TC Portal.

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>>> Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

If you have been offered the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, you are required to accept it BEFORE you begin the process for the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan. You cannot accept, decline, or make adjustments to your Graduate PLUS Loan in the TC Portal.

If you would like to decline your Graduate PLUS Loan, you must do so by submitting a 2014-2015 Federal Aid Change Form. The form allows you to decline all or part of your PLUS Loan.

1. Complete the Graduate PLUS Loan Request/Credit Check at www.studentloans.gov.
  • The main welcome page that you see after you log in to www.studentloans.gov contains a menu in the center of the page. One of the options will be "Request a Direct PLUS Loan." Click this link. On the next page, select "Graduate PLUS" as the loan type.
  • This page will allow you to enter the year that the PLUS Loan will be used. Choose 2014-2015, check the box by the authorization statement, and select Teachers College as the school. At the bottom of the page, you should indicate the exact amount of Graduate PLUS Loan that you wish to borrow for the year, keeping in mind that it will be split into halves (half fall, half spring). You may also choose to borrow the maximum amount of Graduate PLUS Loan by clicking the button next to the statement, “I want to borrow the maximum Direct PLUS Loan amount for which I am eligible, as determined by the school.” The loan period corresponds with the months in which you are enrolled. For example, a student attending in Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 would use September 2014 to May 2015 as their loan period. Enter your information carefully, then click "Continue."
  • The next step of this process involves you entering personal information such as your address, telephone number, e-mail address, and employer information. If you have completed a Graduate PLUS Loan request in the past, this information may be pre-populated for you. Enter your information carefully, then click "Continue."
  • Review the information that appears on this page. If it is correct, click "Continue."
  • The last step here involves the credit check and final submission. Read the statements in bold and check the box next to each statement. Click "Continue." You should receive a credit decision immediately. Your credit must be approved before we can process your Graduate PLUS Loan request. Additionally, the credit check is required for every new academic year AND for any increases to the PLUS Loan amount during a given academic year if the credit check is expired at the time of the increase. The PLUS Loan credit check expires after 90 days. If you are denied the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, please visit our Graduate PLUS Loan denials page for detailed instructions on how to proceed.
2. Complete the Graduate PLUS Electronic Master Promissory Note (E-MPN) at www.studentloans.gov.
  • The main welcome page that you see after you log in to www.studentloans.gov contains a menu in the center of the page. One of the options will be "Complete Master Promissory Note." Click this link, then choose the appropriate MPN.
  • First-time Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan borrowers at Teachers College will need to complete a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS E-MPN. Please ensure that the Teachers College Federal School Code (G03979) is included when you complete your PLUS E-MPN.
CONTINUING STUDENTS: Once completed/satisfied, this requirement will renew itself for up to ten years. If you have previously completed a PLUS E-MPN for Teachers College, you do not need to complete another one. However, if you have used an endorser in the past, you will need to complete a new E-MPN.

3. Once you have completed the steps above for your PLUS Loan, the Office of Financial Aid will receive your credit decision within three to five business days from the US Department of Education. If approved, your Graduate PLUS Loan status will change from "Offered" to "Accepted." If you are denied, the status will change to "Deny." The loan status will be changed by the Office of Financial Aid.

If your credit is denied, please visit our Graduate PLUS Loan denials page to learn of your next steps.

NOTE: If you need to make changes to your Graduate PLUS Loan amount (increase, decrease, or decline), you will need to complete the 2014-2015 Federal Aid Change Form. If your credit check has expired, you will need to restart the Graduate PLUS Loan process by following the directions in Step 1.


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>>> Federal TEACH Grant
Students who qualify for the TEACH Grant will see the award posted in "Offered" status. Please note that you cannot accept the TEACH Grant via the TC Portal.
  • If you choose to decline the TEACH Grant, please complete a 2014-2015 Federal Aid Change Form and submit it to our office.
  • For those wishing to accept the TEACH Grant, you must wait until after the add/drop period for the given term ends. The amount you receive in TEACH funding is contingent upon the credit hours in which you enroll, therefore we must wait until add/drop is over before we can review your record. We also review your GPA to determine TEACH eligibility. If you are a new student, your GPA from your previous institution(s) will be considered; continuing students will have their TC GPAs reviewed. If you are fully eligible to receive the grant, we will notify you via e-mail with next steps. There is nothing that you must do with the TEACH Grant until you receive confirmation from us.

The TEACH Grant has a teaching commitment that you must fulfill after you graduate, so we recommend that you fully understand what acceptance of this grant means. Click here for detailed information.

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>>> Federal Work-Study

If you have Federal Work-Study (FWS) funding in an "Offered" status on your TC Portal, you cannot access those funds until you receive a FWS position. Note that these funds are offered, and cannot be accepted until you find a FWS position. The Office of Financial Aid does not automatically assign FWS positions; it is the student's responsibility to acquire a FWS job. You must visit the TC Human Resources website to view available positions, then come to our office to fulfill your requirements after you have been hired.

The three outstanding/unsatisfied FWS requirements you may see on your Portal will not affect the disbursement of any other aid; you are able to let them remain outstanding/unsatisfied until you secure a position.

You must leave your FWS funds in "Offered" until you find a FWS-eligible position. There is nothing you need to do on the TC Portal to formally accept those funds. Once you are hired, you will come to our office to acquire the paperwork, tax forms, and instructions necessary to commence employment. When we receive your completed documents, the FWS requirements will become satisfied and a member of our office will put your FWS funds into an "Accepted" status.

If you wish to decline your FWS funding, you can complete a 2014-2015 Federal Aid Change Form.

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>>> Scholarships/grants/stipends/fellowships
Scholarship awards are automatically accepted. If you would like to change the distribution of scholarship points for the given terms within an academic year, you will need to submit a 2014-2015 Scholarship Redistribution Form. Please note that you cannot transfer scholarship funds from one aid year to another. Students who received doctoral fellowship awards will receive a specifc set of terms and conditions that will provide details of the fellowship package.

Accepting Your Aid

  • Accepting Your Aid