Frequently Asked Questions

SCHOLARSHIPS

New students who have been admitted for the following fall term will receive their award letters beginning in mid-March. Students who have been admitted to programs with a rolling admissions deadline will receive their award letters on a rolling basis. Continuing students will begin receiving aid information toward the end of the spring semester. You do not need to file a FASFA for scholarships.

The TC scholarship application is integrated into your application for admission. We recommend that students complete the application by the priority deadline established by the Office of Admission. 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. You will be considered for TC General Scholarship, Minority Scholarship, International Student Scholarship, Supplemental Scholarship, and Endowed Scholarship. For continuing students, the TC scholarship application will remain active throughout the duration of your studies. 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.

No. 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.

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.

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.

You can notify our office that you are receiving an outside scholarship. The check itself should be sent to the Office of the Bursar.

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.

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.

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. While Teachers College considers each student for scholarship awarding based on the TC scholarship application, we cannot guarantee full funding to any student. We also cannot guarantee that if you were to be fully funded upon your initial term of entry that it would continue throughout the entire duration of your program. At the master’s level, it is extremely unlikely that you will receive full funding.

Some scholarships do consider financial need in addition to academic 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.

An award letter is a document that we provide to students detailing their aid offers (scholarships and/or federal aid) for the year. The letter will provide you with terms and conditions of any scholarships you receive, information about the cost of attendance, and directions on how to accept or decline your offers.

Paper award letters will not be sent. If you are a new student, your award letter will be sent to the e-mail address that you used on your initial application to Teachers College. After you accept your offer of admission, you will be given access to your TC G-mail account. After the TC G-mail account is activated, all official correspondence from our office will be sent there and your person e-mail account will be phased out.

TUITIONS, FEES AND ENROLLMENT STATUS

There is no in-state or out-of-state tuition rate. With the exception of a few special cohort programs, every student will pay the same per-credit-hour tuition rate. The tuition rate is also the same for master's and doctoral students. All students, regardless of degree level, will be charged the same per-credit-hour tuition rate. Click here for information on the cost of attendance.

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.

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. To request a COE or to learn more about them, please reach out to the Office of the Registrar and your academic advisor.

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.

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.

No. If you are set to receive financial aid of any kind, we will send it to you via an award letter, regardless of whether or not you have accepted your admission offer. Note that we only create aid packages for admitted students, so if you have not received an admission offer, no financial aid award will be available for you.

A revised award letter is sent when a change is made to your original aid package. This may happen to students who submit their FAFSA to Teachers College early in the year and get packaged with federal aid before a scholarship decision is made. We would first notify you of the federal aid offers. Then, if you are awarded a scholarship, a revised award letter containing all forms of aid will be sent to you. Similarly, if an increase is made to your existing scholarship or if you receive another scholarship in addition to your original one, a revised award will be sent.

 

New admits from select programs will receive a scholarship offer alongside their admission offer. In general, though, our new students will begin receiving award letters via e-mail in mid-March 2018. Because you are able to complete your FAFSA at any time during the year, and also because scholarship decisions are rolling, award letters will continue being sent throughout the spring and summer in anticipation of the upcoming year. Just because you do not receive an award letter in March does not mean that you will not be receiving financial aid at TC.

Continuing students will begin receiving award letters toward the end of the spring semester. Because you are able to complete your FAFSA at any time during the year, and also because scholarship decisions are rolling, award letters will continue being sent throughout the spring and summer in anticipation of the upcoming year. Note that continuing students do not need to complete a new scholarship application; the application will remain active.

When and if international students receive their award letters, it typically only displays scholarship funding. This is because international students are not eligible to complete the FAFSA and are therefore not eligible to receive federal aid. Not receiving an award letter means that you either will not receive a scholarship or that a scholarship decision has yet to be made for you. Scholarship decisions are rolling and can be made at any time. In the event that you do receive a scholarship, we will send an award letter to you via e-mail. Also remember that just because you do not receive an award letter does not mean that you will not be receiving financial aid at TC.

LOANS

Scholarships and fellowships are automatically accepted for you. Students who plan to attend in 2017-2018 can accept federal loans now, while students attending in 2018-2019 are unable to accept their loans until late July 2018. Federal Work-Study funds cannot be accepted until you find a position via the TC HR page. Graduate assistantships are not usually awarded automatically, but you can browse the TC HR page to see available openings. Detailed directions on how to accept your aid can be found our Accept Your Aid page.

No. You are not required to accept loans if you do not want them. You may submit a Federal Aid Change Form to our office if you want to decline your loans.

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 and PLUS Loan Exit Counselings are available at www.studentloans.gov while the Perkins Loan Exit Counseling is available at www.mycampusloan.com. To complete TEACH Grant Exit Counseling, please visit www.nslds.ed.gov.

Student loans are disbursed accordingly based on your enrollment periods. Typically, students who are enrolled across Fall and Spring semesters will receive half of their total disbursement after the add/drop period of each term. Students who are single-term students (ie: Fall only) will have two disbursement in a single term, and students who are entering for the Spring or Summer term may have loan disbursement scheduled accordingly with their term(s) of enrollment.

Student loans will only disburse once you accept your loan and complete loan requirements (such as entrance counseling, MPN, and/or Grad PLUS credit check) for the respective loan funding.

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  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.

You can submit a Federal Aid Change Form to our office to increase, decrease or decline your federal aid funding. Please note that increases on your PLUS funding will only be processed if you have a valid credit check on file. If your credit check has expired after 180 days (6 months) of the initial application, you will need to renew it at www.studentloans.gov. Your endorser (if applicable) must also complete an addendum for the increase requested and a new MPN must be completed.

If your loan disbursement has already occured and you wish to decrease your loan funding, you will need to complete a Return of Loan Funds form at the Office of Financial Aid and meet with a counselor.

Please contact our office if you wish to discuss your loan eligibility.

Yes, there is. You are eligible to request an increase on your student loans up until the last day of classes for any given semester in which you are enrolled in. Loan increase requests must be submitted to the Office of Financial Aid before the conclusion of each academic term (Fall, Spring and Summer); loan increase requests submitted after a term has concluded will not be approved. You will be eligible to return your student loans within 120 days post-disbursement. Please visit our office and meet with a counselor should you have the need to return your student loan.

Recently, the US Department of Education has made changes to the Federal Perkins Loan program, and it is no longer available. If you are graduating and used a Perkins Loan in a prior academic year at Teachers College, all Perkins-related questions should be directed to the Office of the Bursar.

Yes. You should log onto the National Student Loan Data System to find the contact information of your servicer. Your servicer will tell you how to start the payments and where to send them. However, 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. There are numerous repayment plans, including ones based on your income. The Federal Student Aid website has a comprehensive list of the plans here.

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. If you need a co-signer on your loan, you should ensure that the co-signer does not have an adverse credit history.

International students are not eligible for federal 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.

FAFSA

The TC Federal School Code is G03979. While we are affiliated with Columbia University, we operate independently and therefore have our own school code. Any FAFSA that does not have TC's school code included will not be downloaded or processed.

You should keep in mind that the summer term is the last term of each academic year. For example, Summer 2018 is the final term of the 2017-2018 academic year. Students who plan to start in the summer should complete two FAFSAs. If you plan to start at Teachers College in Summer 2018 and continue into Fall 2018, Spring 2019, and/or Summer 2019, you will complete the 2017-2018 FAFSA and the 2018-2019 FAFSA. Remember that each fall term marks the beginning of a new academic year.

 

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. 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.

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 2018, you should try to complete your 2018-2019 FAFSA by March 1st, 2018). 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 (G03979) on the FAFSA. In this case, you should wait about two weeks before contacting us to confirm the receipt of the updated FAFSA record.

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.

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

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, make sure that you enter all of your information carefully and correctly to avoid delays.

FEDERAL REQUIREMENTS

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. Click here for more information.

No. You must be enrolled in a degree-seeking program to be considered for federal aid. To apply for a degree program, contact the Teachers College Office of Admission. Most certificate programs (including the coaching certificate) are not eligible for federal aid.

 

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.

No. While we recommend that you complete Financial Awareness Counseling, you are not required to do so. It will not satisfy the Loan Entrance Counseling requirement.

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. FWS jobs pay $15-$16 per hour and you cannot work more than 20 hours per week during the academic session, or 30 hours per week during breaks. The money you earn is to be used at your discretion. You will typically receive up to $7,000 per year (not per semester) in FWS funds.

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 begin earning from your FWS funds until you find a Federal Work-Study position. Locating a position is an independent process.

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 off-campus sites.

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.

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.

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 $7,000 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 $3,500 to be used for the spring and/or summer term(s). 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.

The funds will come to you in the form of a taxed, 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.

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. Students can hold a maximum of 2 positions under work study.

 

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.

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 PageUp onboarding offer and complete the I-9 employment authorization process with the Office of Human Resources. Continuing employees (had a previous job in any capacity at TC) may need to complete rehire PageUp paperwork. Please note that all onboarding steps must be complete prior to your job start date - otherwise, your position will be terminated and your check payments will be delayed.

ASSISTANTS & FELLOWSHIPS

There are four types of assistantships/fellowships here at TC: Research Assistantship (RA), Teaching Assistantship (TA), Administrative Fellowship (AF) and Doctoral Research Fellowships (DRF). 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. Doctoral Research Fellowships are typically appointed positions and may not have an open application process.

All assistantships will pay with scholarship points (up to nine per year for Fall, Spring and Summer) based on semester(s) of appointment. Some assistantships will also provide you with a stipend.

Yes, as long as the total weekly hours worked for all jobs combined does not exceed 27 hours. You cannot hold another position in such a case.

You are not able to hold two graduate assistantships at the same time.

No. While you will need to be an admitted student to participate in an assistantship, you must apply for assistantships separately.

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. The application can be found here.

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

SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS (SAP)

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.

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.

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. Contact Ellaine Ho (ho7@tc.columbia.edu) to temporarily waive the requirement. Should you want federal aid in the future, you will have to submit an appeal.

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

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. Contact Ellaine Ho (ho7@tc.columbia.edu) to learn about the appeal process.

You will need to contact our office - we will provide you with the appeal form and instructions to complete it.

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.

 

We have a comprehensive Satisfactory Academic Progress page that will cover the details for both master’s and doctoral level students.

SUMMER AID

Yes. Financial aid is available for summer courses as long as you are enrolled in at least six credit hours during the summer. It does not matter how the six total credit hours are distributed among the Summer A and B terms as long as the total number of credit hours for the whole summer comes to six. You may do all six in A, all six in B, or have them split between the two summer sessions.

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. 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.

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

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 the Bursar (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 the Bursar can be found here.

The Office of the Bursar processes refund checks. The Office of the Bursar 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.

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 the Bursar generates your refund check or eRefund.

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 the Bursar, and then come to the Office of Financial Aid to do a Loan Return Form. The Loan Return Form is located in our office. Borrowers have 120 days from the time of disbursement to return money to their loan lender via our office. After 120 days, the borrower will have to contact the lender directly to discuss how to return the money.

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.

MISCELLANEOUS

View our Tuition and Fees page for cost of attendance and to see the tuition and fees associated with attending TC. If you are in a cohort program, you may have special tuition rates. You may contact your Financial Aid liaison or our office at financialaid@tc.edu should you have any questions regarding special cohort programs.

 

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.

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.

We do accept walk-in visits. 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.

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.

Your TC ID number 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. Have your TC ID number ready when you contact our office.

 

No. You must contact the Office of Academic Computing. Their contact information can be found here.

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. 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.

Sign Up to Receive More Information

Sign Up to Receive More Information

Sign up to receive more information about Teachers College & receive:

  • Information Session Invitations
  • Academic Program Updates
  • Scholarship Information
  • And More
Loading...