Admission and Financial Aid at Teachers College
Applying to Teachers College
For complete information regarding admission to Teachers College, please refer to the Office of Admission website at www.tc.edu/admissions.
About the Application Process
Teachers College is a graduate school of education. To be eligible for admission to any/all programs, applicants must hold, or be in the process of obtaining, a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution as recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. International applicants must hold, or be in the process of obtaining, the equivalent of a 120-credit U.S. baccalaureate degree.
Teachers College admits students for Spring, Summer, and Fall entry. However, not all programs or degree levels are available for all entry terms. The application for degree admission opens each year in early September for the following Spring, Summer, and Fall entry terms. Applicants may apply to only one program per term (Summer, Fall, and Spring).
A complete list of available programs, degrees, and entry terms can be found at www.tc.edu/programs.
All admission decisions are final. Specific details regarding an applicant's admission decision are confidential and not shared with anyone external to the admission committee.
How to Apply
The Teachers College application for admission is available at www.tc.edu/apply.
The complete Teachers College application consists of the application form and supplemental materials, which vary depending on the program and degree.
Admission requirements and application instructions may be found at www.tc.edu/apply.
Only complete applications will be eligible for review. An application is considered complete when all required application materials are received by the Office of Admission by the designated, posted deadline.
Deadlines vary according to degree and program. Deadlines are posted at www.tc.edu/programs.
Please note: Applications for admission received after the posted deadline(s) may be considered on a space-available basis.
Students with Disabilities
The Office of Access and Services for Individuals with Disabilities (OASID) ensures that programs and services at Teachers College are physically, programmatically, and attitudinally accessible to individuals with disabilities. Equal access is achieved through individualized responses addressing the needs of individuals with conditions including, but not limited to, vision, hearing, or mobility impairments; medical conditions; or learning disabilities that affect one or more academic activities. Students who seek accommodations should contact OASID directly. For more information, visit www.tc.columbia.edu/oasid.
Statement of Non-Discrimination
Continuing its long-standing policy to support active equality for all persons, Teachers College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, citizenship status, veteran status, disability, pregnancy, gender expression, or any other criterion specified by federal, state, or local laws, in the administration of its admissions, employment, and educational policies or scholarship, loan, athletic, and other school-administered programs.
Components of a Complete Degree Application
Degree-seeking applicants must submit all pieces of the application to be considered for admission. Only complete applications will be reviewed. These required items are:
- Completed and Signed Application Form
- $65 Non-Refundable Application Fee
- Statement of Purpose
- Official Transcript(s): For current requirements regarding transcript submission, visit the Office of Admission website at www.tc.edu/apply. Students who completed degrees outside of the United States will be required to submit an official course-by-course evaluation. Please see the “International Students” section for further detail.
- Letters of Recommendation: Applicants are required to submit at least two letters of recommendation. Some programs require a third reference or may include specific elements to address. For program-specific requirements, please review the Office of Admission website: www.tc.edu/apply.
- Standardized Tests: Standardized tests are required by some, but not all, Teachers College degree programs. The testing center must report official scores directly to the Office of Admission by the application deadline. Expired scores will not be accepted. For tests administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the assigned institution code for Teachers College is 2905. For more information, visit www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/admission/instructions/degree-programs.
- English Proficiency Tests: All applicants who received a baccalaureate degree from an institution where English is not the sole official language of instruction must take an English proficiency exam. Teachers College accepts official results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam. An English proficiency exam is required regardless of where the applicant received a graduate degree (if any). For more information and score requirements, visit www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/admission/international-students.
- Supplemental Application Requirements: Some programs require additional application materials. For more information, visit www.tc.edu/programs.
International applicants must hold, or be in the process of obtaining, the equivalent of a 120-credit U.S. baccalaureate degree to be eligible for admission to Teachers College.
- Course Evaluation: If an applicant’s credentials are from an institution outside of the United States that is not a regionally accredited institution as recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, the Office of Admission requires an official course-by-course evaluation of all post-secondary credentials (undergraduate and graduate, if applicable). It is the applicant's responsibility to provide the necessary paperwork and payment to an approved evaluation service, and to request that an official copy of the report be sent to the Teachers College Office of Admission. The completed evaluation must be received by the admission deadline. Evaluations will be reviewed by Teachers College administrators. The determination of degree equivalency to U.S. degrees is at the discretion of Teachers College. For more information and a list of approved evaluation agencies, visit www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/admission/international-students.
- English Proficiency: Students who have earned a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent from a college or university where English is not the sole official language of instruction must take an exam to establish English language proficiency. Refer to the “English Proficiency Tests” section above for more information.
- Visa Information: Documents necessary to obtain a student visa (I-20 or DS-2019) should be sent to the Office of International Services only after an applicant has been officially admitted to Teachers College. Applicants should not submit bank statements or other proof of funds with application materials.
Admitted applicants must submit the Application for Visa Certificate (AVC) (available online at www.tc.columbia.edu/international) and supporting documents certifying that the applicant has the necessary funds to meet the cost of full-time study at Teachers College. Any form not issued in English must be accompanied by a notarized English translation. Holders of student visas (F-1 or J-1) are required to study full time. Individuals holding B-1 or B-2 status, or who entered the United States on a visa waiver, may be in violation of their status if they enroll in classes. Contact International Services at email@example.com with any questions related to visas, or visit www.tc.columbia.edu/international.
Non-Degree, Advanced Certificate, and Non-Credit Applications
Admission as a Non-Degree Student
Non-degree status is available to applicants holding the equivalent of a 120-credit U.S. baccalaureate degree.
The non-degree application is available online at www.tc.columbia.edu/apply. The components of a non-degree application include:
- The online non-degree application form
- $65 non-refundable application fee
- Official transcripts from the applicant’s undergraduate baccalaureate institution(s) showing a degree conferral and all academic courses and grades. Students who completed degrees outside of the United States will be required to submit an official course-by-course evaluation. Please see the “International Students” section for further detail.
Additional application materials may be required based on the non-degree program.
A non-degree student may take up to 16 points as long as the academic standards of the College are met. Once the 16 point maximum is met, the non-degree student must either:
- Apply to and be admitted to a Teachers College degree program, or
- Obtain approval from the Registrar for continued registration under non-degree status
Admission to non-degree status implies no commitment for admission to a degree, Advanced Certificate, or non-credit program. Should a non-degree student become a degree candidate, a maximum of 16 points (8 in the major field) taken in non-degree status may be applied toward a degree program, if approved by the program.
Admission as an Advanced Certificate Student
Advanced Certificate status is available to applicants holding the equivalent to a 120-credit U.S. baccalaureate degree. Some Advanced Certificate programs require coursework or degree completion beyond the baccalaureate degree; for specific information, visit www.tc.edu/programs.
The Advanced Certificate application is available online at www.tc.columbia.edu/apply. The components of an Advanced Certificate application include:
- The online application form
- $65 non-refundable application fee
- Official transcripts from each college or university attended for academic credit for any period of time, showing all courses, grades, course credits, and degrees received (if any). Advanced Certificate applicants with U.S. degrees may submit an unofficial transcript upon application and follow up with an official transcript upon enrollment. Teachers College reserves the right to withdraw an application or an admission offer if there is a discrepancy between unofficial transcripts/documents used for application review and the official original transcript(s).
If an applicant’s credentials are from an institution outside of the United States, the Office of Admission requires an official course-by-course evaluation of all post-secondary credentials (undergraduate and graduate, if applicable). Please see the International Applicants page at www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/admission/international-students for further information.
Additional application materials may be required based on the Advanced Certificate program requirements.
Admission to an Advanced Certificate implies no commitment for admission to a degree, non-degree, or non-credit program.
For more information about applying to an Advanced Certificate program, visit www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/admission/instructions/advanced-certificate-programs.
Admission as a Non-Credit Student
Refer to the Continuing Professional Studies website at www.tc.columbia.edu/continuing-professional-studies for more information about non-credit options at Teachers College.
Admission to a non-credit program implies no commitment for admission to a degree, non-degree, or Advanced Certificate program.
Degree-seeking students may be considered for a variety of financial aid options including scholarships, fellowships, grants, federal aid, and student employment. Aid is not guaranteed.
The Office of Financial Aid is committed to guiding students through the process of identifying and securing the financial resources necessary to attend Teachers College. Visit www.tc.edu/financialaid for more information.
How to Apply
The Teachers College scholarship application is embedded in the application for admission. Applicants who wish to be considered for scholarship aid should complete and submit the application for admission by the published deadline(s). See www.tc.edu/programs for deadline dates. The scholarship application is a one-time application that does not need to be renewed or resubmitted each year of a student’s matriculation.
Applicants who wish to be considered for federal financial aid must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Continuing students are not required to complete a new scholarship application each year, as the one on file will be used-if necessary. However, continuing students seeking federal aid must file the FAFSA for each year that they wish to be considered for federal loans or work study funds.
How Aid is Awarded
New students who completed the scholarship application and submitted their application for admission by the posted deadline will be considered for scholarship funding upon admission to Teachers College. Students who are recipients of the Teachers College Scholarship will be notified of the award shortly after admission via email directing them to their official award letter in the student portal.
Other sources of funding, such as endowed scholarships, fellowships, and grants, may be awarded on a rolling basis. Students who receive additional funding will receive a revised financial aid award notification.
New students will be notified of their federal aid eligibility within two weeks of submitting their FAFSA, or upon admission to Teachers College if they submitted their FAFSA prior more than two weeks prior to admission.
Financial Aid award notifications for continuing students will be released beginning in May prior to the upcoming academic year. Students may view their financial aid award in their student portal.
The Office of Financial Aid may make changes on a student’s existing financial aid award package throughout the academic year (due to enrollment changes, withdrawals, etc.). If a change occurs, the student will be notified promptly via email.
Scholarship funding will be applied to the student account at the beginning of each term, while federal financial aid will be applied following the end of the add/drop period. For more information about federal loan eligibility and disbursement, see the Federal Financial Aid Programs section below.
Tuition, fees, account charges, and refunds are processed by the Office of the Bursar. For more information, visit www.tc.columbia.edu/bursar.
Scholarships, Fellowships, and Grants
Students who are first-time applicants to a master’s-level program of study may be considered for institutional scholarships based on the TC scholarship application. Continuing students may also be considered for other institutional scholarships.
Teachers College also offers special scholarships for new applicants to master’s programs. For more information, visit www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/financial-aid/financial-aid-sources/scholarships.
Endowed scholarships are provided through the generosity of donors’ contributions. Some of these funds are in support of students in particular programs, while others are available to students across a variety of programs.
Fellowships and Grants
Fellowship awards are based on scholastic ability and potential for academic and professional achievement. Grants may be merit- and/or need-based according to each program’s specific requirements. For more information, visit www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/financial-aid/financial-aid-sources/fellowships-and-grants.
Graduate Research/Teaching Assistantships
Students who are employed as graduate research/teaching assistants earn salary plus a tuition scholarship. Students may be awarded up to 3 points per semester, with a maximum of 9 points per academic year (Fall, Spring, Summer). Points may only be used during the semester in which a graduate research/teaching assistantship is awarded. For more information, visit www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/financial-aid/financial-aid-sources/assistantships.
Terms and Conditions
There are terms and conditions associated with scholarships awarded by Teachers College. For details, visit www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/financial-aid/financial-aid-sources/scholarships/terms-and-conditions.
Fellowships, grants, and graduate research/teaching assistantships may have separate criteria that students need to meet in order to gain and maintain eligibility. For more information, visit www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/financial-aid/financial-aid-sources.
Federal Financial Aid Programs
Teachers College offers the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan and the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan. Please note that the Federal Perkins Loan is no longer offered at the graduate student level.
As per federal regulations, students who seek federal aid are provided a Cost of Attendance (COA) budget that consists of estimated tuition, fees, and other expenses. The COA budget can be adjusted based on full-time, three-quarter time, and half-time enrollment. If enrollment plans change during the academic year, students should notify the Office of Financial Aid to adjust their Cost of Attendance and federal aid award package. Students who will be enrolled in less than an academic year (i.e., single-term student) will have loan eligibility reflective of their period of enrollment.
Students may be offered federal loan aid less than the annual COA budget if they receive other forms of financial aid (scholarships, grants, etc.) that are being used to cover a portion of the COA budget. For more information about federal student loans at Teachers College, visit www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/financial-aid/financial-aid-sources/federal-student-loans.
Students who wish to accept and utilize their federal loan offer must complete a Master Promissory Note and entrance interview. Students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA as soon as it is available through www.fafsa.ed.gov. In order for federal aid to be processed in a timely manner, students should begin the loan acceptance process three to four weeks in advance of the beginning of the semester.
For students who are enrolled in the Fall and Spring semesters, federal loans are disbursed after the last day of add/drop. During the Summer term, federal loans have a different disbursement schedule depending on the student’s registered summer session(s). In order for the student to receive federal aid disbursements, they must meet the following criteria on the scheduled disbursement date(s) and thereafter:
- Registered for at least half-time status each semester
- Completed an entrance interview
- Completed a Master Promissory Note
- Completed verification of income and identity, if required
For more information about federal student loans, visit https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa.
Federal Work Study
Federal Work Study (FWS) is a need-based federal financial aid program that provides job opportunities to eligible Teachers College students. Applicants are encouraged to submit the FAFSA as early as possible in order to ensure consideration for a work study award.
FWS allow awardees to earn hourly wages that help cover education-related expenses. The amount of FWS that appears on the Financial Aid Award Letter is not a guarantee of total wages to be earned. Rather, it is a maximum limit on the amount of FWS funds a student may earn should they choose to participate in the program. Students are paid only for actual hours worked.
Placement in an FWS position is contingent upon the availability of jobs and funding, as well as on a student’s skills, experience, and schedule. For more rules and regulations, visit www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/financial-aid/financial-aid-sources/federal-work-study.
To be eligible for federal financial aid, applicants must meet each of the following criteria:
- Be a U.S. Citizen or Eligible Non-Citizen
- Be enrolled in at least 6 points per semester in a degree program
- Make Satisfactory Academic Progress toward their degree
- Not have been convicted of any offense under federal or state law involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance
- Register with the Selective Service System, if they are male
- Not be in default on a loan or owe a payment of federal funds
All applicants are encouraged to file a FAFSA, regardless of eligibility for Federal Aid. Students can find and file the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The Teachers College institutional code is G03979.
After filing the FAFSA, students will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR), which must be reviewed for accuracy and corrected if necessary. If there are questions, contact the Office of Financial Aid. Students may also be required to submit copies of their federal tax returns and other supporting documents to verify the information on the FAFSA.
The information provided on the FAFSA is applied to a federally designed formula which calculates the “Estimated Family Contribution”—the theoretical amount the student should have available for educational costs. The cost of education minus the family contribution is “need.” The total amount of need-based aid cannot exceed this figure.
Normally, the need calculations are based on data from the prior calendar year. Students who wish to inquire about the effect of a change in their financial circumstances on their federal financial aid should contact the Office of Financial Aid.
Maintaining Federal Student Aid Eligibility
All students requesting and receiving federal student aid must meet and maintain the following criteria:
- Be enrolled as a matriculated student in an eligible program
- Make Satisfactory Academic Progress*
- Meet enrollment status requirements
- Have resolved any drug conviction issue
Failure to meet the above requirements may result in the loss of federal student aid eligibility. Students will need to present proof of resolution to the Office of Financial Aid before aid can be offered or disbursed. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information.
*Satisfactory Academic Progress: In order to maintain eligibility for aid, students must make satisfactory progress toward their degree. In addition to meeting all standards of academic performance required in the program, students must maintain a minimum of points per semester in order to remain eligible for student aid. For more details about this policy, see www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/financial-aid/sap-policy.
Return of Title IV Funds
This policy applies to students who complete 60% or less of the enrollment period (i.e., Fall, Spring, or Summer session) for which they received Federal Title IV aid. A student who drops a class but still completes one or more classes does not qualify for the Return of Title IV Funds policy. The term “Title IV aid” refers to the following federal financial aid programs: Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford loans, Federal Perkins loans, Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loans, and the Federal TEACH Grant.
To conform with the policy, Teachers College must determine the student’s withdrawal date. The withdrawal date is defined as: 1. the date the student began the withdrawal process or officially notified Teachers College of their intent to withdraw; or 2. the last date of attendance at an academically-related activity by a student who does not notify Teachers College.
The calculation required determines a student’s earned and unearned Title IV aid based on the percentage of the enrollment period completed by the student. The percentage of the period that the student remained enrolled is derived by dividing the number of days the student attended by the number of days in the period. Calendar days (including weekends) are used, but breaks of at least five days are excluded from both the numerator and denominator.
Until a student has passed the 60% point of an enrollment period, only a portion of the student’s aid has been earned. A student who remains enrolled beyond the 60% point is considered to have earned all awarded aid for the enrollment period.
Other Sources of Aid
There are several student loan programs administered by private institutions that provide funds to students who do not qualify for federal or need-based loans, or who may need additional funding. They are often available from banks, require a credit check, and in some cases, a co-signer and processing fee. Securing a co-signer may result in lower interest on the loan. For information on private loans, visit www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/financial-aid/financial-aid-sources/private-loans.
Opportunities for student employment are available at Teachers College, including the Federal Work Study program and different types of graduate assistantships. Students should visit the Teachers College Human Resources website at www.tc.edu/hr to review job vacancies. In some instances, positions may be eligible for tuition exemption or scholarship points.