Parents and Families

Are there other charges or expenses that we should be aware of?

Additional billed costs you might accrue include laboratory and language fees (for certain classes) and laundry service (optional).  Some courses, particularly in the sciences and the languages have fees ranging from $5 to $150.  Laundry service costs begin at $20.  These charges will not appear on the first Student Account Statement, but will appear on subsequent Student Account Statements.

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When and where are bills sent?

At Columbia we call each bill a Student Account Statement.  The student will be sent the first Student Account Statement for the fall term in late July or early August, and the first statement for the spring term in early December.  The payment due date will be approximately 30 days after the first Student Account Statement for the term has been sent.

In addition, the student will receive monthly Student Account Statements when there is a current activity on the account (a new charge or credit), or if a debit or credit balance remains on the account.

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When will we receive the financial aid award letter?

Financial aid award letters for continuing students are mailed at the end of June.

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How do we obtain an IDOC cover sheet?

The College Board will mail the IDOC cover sheets to your home address by mid-March.  If you do not receive your IDOC cover sheet by this time, you can print another one from the IDOC Web site.  You will need the student’s social security number and date of birth in order to access the IDOC cover sheet.

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How and when should we submit the renewal application for financial aid?

The deadline to submit the renewal application for financial aid is early May.  We will contact you in early March with instructions on how to complete the renewal application process.

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What is your policy towards renewing the financial aid award after the first year?

For each year of attendance at Columbia, you will need to submit a new financial aid application which will be evaluated using the same methods and criteria that were used when you were admitted.  Since the cost of attendance increases each year, for the typical family the financial aid package will increase in order to keep up with the cost increase.  However, if your family circumstances have changed (e.g., changes in income, number of people in the household, the number of children who are full-time undergraduate students), then your financial aid award will be adjusted to take

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Can families apply for financial aid in future years if they do not apply the first year?

Yes. A family that experiences a change in circumstances may apply for financial aid at any time. For example, it is not uncommon for a family to suffer a job loss or illness or for a younger sibling to begin attending college. Please note that institutional aid will usually be awarded only in cases that involve an involuntary change in circumstances. Parents who decide to retire early or to invest in a business start-up may not be awarded institutional aid.

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Will the financial aid award change after we have received the original award?

Possibly, but only if the verification process has revealed that certain information you provided during the application process is not accurate.  We realize the financial aid forms are complicated and that our deadlines may require you to provide estimated information.  As a result, initial financial aid awards may be based on inaccurate estimates provided by a family.

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May we appeal a financial aid package if admitted?

YES, if your family’s financial circumstances changed after you submitted your financial aid application. YES, if you have complicated circumstances, and you would like us to take a second look at how we interpreted your family’s financial situation. YES, if another need-based school has provided you a different interpretation of your family’s financial circumstances. NO, if your sole reason for the appeal is that you are asking us to consider merit-based offers from other schools.

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