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Academic Catalog

Academic Catalog 2018-2019

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Admissions and Applying to 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. 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 US Department of Education. International applicants must hold, or be in the process of obtaining, the equivalent of a 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 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 admissions decisions are final. Specific details regarding an applicant's admission decision are confidential and not shared with anyone external to the admissions 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.

Admissions requirements and application instructions may be found at www.tc.edu/apply.


Application Deadlines

All required application items must be received by the application deadline. Deadlines vary according to degree and program. For complete, updated deadlines, visit www.tc.edu/programs.

Please note:  

  • Only complete applications will be eligible for review. In order for an application to be considered complete, the Office of Admission must receive all required application materials by the designated deadline.  
  • Applications for admission received after the priority deadline may be considered on a space-available basis.

Students with Disabilities

The Office of Access and Services for Individuals with Disabilities (www.tc.columbia.edu/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.  

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 Application

Below is a list of items that must be received by the Office of Admission to ensure a complete application for degree-seeking applicants. Only completed applications will be reviewed.

  • Completed and Signed Application Form
  • $65 Non-Refundable Application Fee
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Résumé
  • Official Transcript(s): For current requirements regarding transcript submission, visit the Office of Admission website at www.tc.edu/apply.

  • Letters of Recommendation: Applicants are required to submit at least two letters of recommendation. Some programs require a third reference. For program-specific requirements, please review the Office of Admissions website: www.tc.edu/apply.

  • Standardized Tests: Standardized tests are required by some, but not all, Teachers College degree programs. The testing centers must report required official scores 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 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

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 and Canada 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 Office of Admission. The completed evaluation must be received by the admission deadline. Evaluations will be reviewed by Teachers College administrators and the determination of degree equivalency to U.S. degrees is at the discretion of Teachers College. For more information, 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. 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 necessary funds to meet the cost of full-time study at Teachers College. Applicants should not submit bank statements or other proof of funds with application materials. 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 (at least 12 points per semester). 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 tcintl@tc.columbia.edu 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 all applicants holding the equivalent of a 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, and either a copy or official transcripts from the applicant’s undergraduate baccalaureate institution(s) showing a degree conferral and all academic courses and grades. 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 credit maximum is met, the non-degree student must either 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 all applicants holding the equivalent to a U.S. baccalaureate degree.   

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, and official transcripts from each college or university attended for academic credit for any period of time, showing all courses, grades 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 and Canada, the Office of Admission requires an official course-by-course evaluation of all post-secondary credentials (undergraduate and graduate, if applicable).

Additional application materials may be required based on the Advanced Certificate program requirements.

Admission to an advanced certificate status 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 https://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.

Financial Aid

The Office of Financial Aid recognizes that identifying and securing financial resources play a significant role in the graduate school planning process. The Financial Aid office is committed to guiding all students through the process and resources available within financial aid in the form of institutional scholarships, federal grants, student loans, and student employment opportunities.

Scholarship funding is only available to degree-seeking applicants. Applicants must apply by the priority deadline to guarantee consideration for scholarships. See www.tc.edu/programs for deadline dates.   

Visit www.tc.edu/financialaid for more information.  

How to Apply

New Applicants
The Teachers College scholarship application is integrated into the application for admission. The Office of Financial Aid recommends that students complete and submit the application(s) by the published application priority deadline.

Continuing Students
The Teachers College scholarship application renews automatically. Generally, returning students do not need to complete a new scholarship application as the one on file will be used for additional consideration of funding.. Continuing students must file the FAFSA for each year that they wish to be considered for federal aid.

How Aid is Awarded

To award need-based funds, Teacher’s College creates an cost of attendance budget that consists of the average costs of tuition, fees, and other expenses. Generally, students are provided a financial aid award package based on half-time (6 billable credits or equivalent) enrollment. The amount of tuition and fees, books, and supplies 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 the aid package.

Scholarships are disbursed to a student’s account on the first day of classes each semester following course registration in a degree program. Federal loans are disbursed after the last day of add/drop, and/or when a student meets the following criteria on that day and thereafter: (1) has registered for at least half-time status each semester; (2) has completed an entrance interview; (3) has completed a Master Promissory Note; and (4) has completed verification of income and identity, if required.

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

Institutional Scholarships

Students who are first-time applicants to a master’s-level program of study are eligible to apply for and be considered for institutional scholarships.

Endowed 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 many programs. For more information about endowed scholarships, visit www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/financial-aid/financial-aid-sources/scholarships/.

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/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 6 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/.

Federal Financial Aid

Eligibility

To be eligible for federal financial aid, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a U.S. Citizen or Eligible Non-Citizen
  • Be enrolled in at least 6 points in an approved degree program.
  • Make satisfactory academic progress toward a degree.
  • Not have been convicted of any offense under federal or state law involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance.
  • Register with selective service administration, 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 2018-2019 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), regardless of eligibility for Federal Aid. Students can also find and file the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Teachers College’s institutional code is G03979. For those who require a printed version, please contact the Office of Financial Aid.

After filing the FAFSA, students will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) which must be reviewed for accuracy, and necessary corrections made. 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. However, the Office of Financial Aid may recalculate family contribution if the student’s financial circumstances change significantly during the academic year. Students requesting recalculation based on academic year information should provide a written explanation of the circumstances and consult a financial aid counselor to determine the supporting documentation that will be needed.

Federal Loans

Federal student loans are available to Teachers College students. To qualify for any of the federal education loan programs, an applicant must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen and must be enrolled at least half time (6 points or the equivalent) in a degree program. International students may qualify for credit-worthy loans from a bank by securing a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Applicants are encouraged to consult with a financial aid counselor for more information.

For periods of study that are less than an academic year, the amounts students can borrow may be less than the annual maximum. The exact amount of loan eligibility will be listed in the award letter. Generally, graduate students can borrow up to $20,500 in unsubsidized loans each academic year. Students may receive less than the yearly maximum if they receive other financial aid that is used to cover a portion of the cost of attendance.

Federal student loans require a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), a Master Promissory Note, and Entrance interview. In order for these loans to be processed in time for the beginning of the Fall semester, applicants are encouraged to file the FAFSA before April 15th.

  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan: Students accrue interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. If the interest is not paid in full before repayment begins, the amount of outstanding interest will be capitalized (it will be added to the principal amount of the loan), and additional interest will be based upon the higher amount.
  • Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan: Students can borrow up to the cost of attendance minus other financial aid received. In order to qualify, students must file a FAFSA and meet all federal guidelines to receive student aid and not have an adverse credit history. Repayment begins on the date of the last disbursement of the loan.

For more information about federal student loans, visit www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/financial-aid/financial-aid-sources/federal-student-loans.

Loan Cancellation and/or Deferment

There are several incentive programs offered by various federal, state, and local government agencies that will defer and/or cancel a portion of a student’s federal education loan debt, usually Federal Perkins Loans but sometimes Federal Direct Stafford Loans as well.

The most common cancellations are Federal Perkins Loans and qualifying Federal Stafford Loans for teachers working full-time in “federally designated” teacher shortage areas. These federally designated schools are located in school districts that qualify for funds under Chapter 1 of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. However, not all Chapter 1-funded schools are on the “federally designated” list.

For more information regarding loan cancellation and/or deferment, visit www.studentloans.gov.

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 by March 1 of the year they plan to attend in order to ensure consideration for a work-study award.

FWS jobs allow awardees to earn wages that help them to cover education-related expenses. The amount of FWS which appears on the Financial Aid Award Letter is not a guarantee of 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.

Additional Steps and Conditions Prior to Release of Funds

Prior Default: Students in default on a federal loan, or who owe a repayment on a Pell, SEOG, or SSIG grant, cannot receive federal need-based aid until the status is cleared.

Verification: Some students are randomly selected by the federal government for a process called verification. If a student is selected, they will have to provide a copy of her/his federal income tax return and other documents to the Office of Financial Aid. An award letter will not be generated until all documents are submitted to the Office of Financial Aid. Students interested in work-study employment cannot begin employment until they have been awarded Federal Work Study for the academic year, and have completed the necessary documents.

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
  • Must meet enrollment status requirements
  • Must 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 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 doesn’t 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 5 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

Private Loans

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 https://www.tc.columbia.edu/admissions/financial-aid/financial-aid-sources/private-loans.

Student Employment

Opportunities for student employment are available at Teachers College. Students should inquire at the Teachers College Human Resources Office or visit the website at www.tc.edu/hr for any job vacancies. In some instances, positions may be eligible for tuition exemption or scholarship points.