How to Apply for Aid

Federal financial aid can give you a way to lower your out-of-pocket costs for graduate school at Teachers College. You could be eligible for federal financial aid that you do not need to pay back, such as wages you earn from the Federal Work-Study job, or money you receive from a federal grant. Federal loans are another form of aid that you may use to pay for graduate school, but you will need to repay the money you borrow, plus interest and fees. 

Federal student aid is for U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens only. If you are an international student, please explore your options for institutional or external aid.

How to Apply for Federal Aid

To complete the FAFSA, visit, and follow these steps:

  1. If you already have an account, log in with your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID. If you do not have an FSA ID, then you will create an account in order to complete the FAFSA.
  2. You will need to consent to share your tax information in the application in order for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to share this information with Federal Student Aid (FSA). Failure to consent will make you ineligible for federal student aid.
  3. Complete the remaining FAFSA sections with information about your income, savings, and other details.
  4. Add the Teachers College School Code: G03979.

When you complete the FAFSA, you will have a chance to review your FAFSA Submission Summary (formerly known as the Student Aid Report or SAR). The FAFSA Submission Summary will provide your eligibility overview, FAFSA Form responses, school information, and next steps. Please review your submission summary carefully in case you are required to make a correction or submit additional documentation to the College.


When to Submit the FAFSA

The FAFSA is updated every year with new calculations. Whether you are a prospective or continuing student, you must submit a FAFSA for each academic year that you want to be considered for federal grants, loans, or Work-Study earnings. 

Typically, the FAFSA for the upcoming academic year is available starting on October 1st. However, the federal government is updating the FAFSA in 2023, and the new FAFSA will open late (by December 31, 2023). We encourage you to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after it becomes available. 

If you wish to qualify for federal aid, then you must submit a FAFSA before the current academic year (or your last term of enrollment) ends. 

  • Use the 2023-2024 FAFSA for Fall 2023, Spring 2024, and Summer 2024 semesters. It is available now through June 30, 2024.
  • Use the 2024-2025 FAFSA for Fall 2024, Spring 2025, and Summer 2025 semesters. It will be available December 31, 2023 through June 30, 2025.

If you are a prospective student, we encourage you to complete your FAFSA application when you complete your Teachers College application. When you complete the FAFSA as part of your TC application process, you should receive your financial aid offer letter shortly after you receive your admission decision. The College begins releasing initial awards for newly admitted students in early February.

If you are a continuing student, we encourage you to complete your FAFSA for the upcoming year in the fall. You will receive your federal aid offer for the upcoming year from our Office of Financial Aid in late May/early June of the current academic year.

Avoid Common FAFSA Mistakes

You must use the Teachers College Federal School Code (G03979) in order to receive federal financial aid at TC. While we are affiliated with Columbia University, TC and Columbia operate independently and have different school codes. If your FAFSA does not include TC's school code, then you will not receive any federal financial aid in your TC offer letter. 

Although the FAFSA treats undergraduate students as dependent on their parents for financial resources, the FAFSA assumes that you are financially independent as a graduate student. When you complete the FAFSA, you should include your financial information only — and your spouse’s information, if you are married.

Did you receive an email from our Office of Financial Aid that asks you to update your tax filing status? This can happen if you complete the FAFSA and provide estimated income for the previous year, along with a "will file" status for your taxes. Our email reminder means that you may not receive certain kinds of need-based financial aid (such as Federal Work-Study) until you update your tax information.

If you do not use your full legal name when you complete the FAFSA, it can cause mismatches with your records at other government agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service or Social Security Administration. In addition, the spelling of your name and other personal information must be a match between the FAFSA and your application materials at Teachers College. If you do not use your legal name and correct information on financial aid forms, your financial aid offer may be delayed or incomplete. 

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