What is a Financial Aid Budget?
You can find an up-to-date breakdown of our financial aid budget including tuition, mandatory fees and living expenses on our website.
What are my Financing Options?
Financing options refer to the money to help you pay for your graduate education. Your primary source of funding will be through federal and credit-based education loans. Typically, a CBS financial aid package will include a combination of federal and/or private loans, and if eligible, institutional fellowship and scholarship support.
Fellowships & Scholarships
How are fellowships awarded at CBS?
Fellowships for first-year students are merit-based and awarded on the strength of a candidate's entire application. Fellowships can be awarded at any point after admission with the majority of decisions going out in the Spring. No special application forms are required. Given the rolling nature of our admissions process, financial aid decisions are not made at the time a candidate is admitted.
What are the criteria for fellowship?
It depends on the award. Most criteria are set by the donors. Some specifically target under-represented minorities, women, country of origin, or industry interest.
Is there an income limit for need-based consideration?
There is no set income limit, however, our need assessment includes consideration of all resources (including cash, savings, investments, IRA and retirement accounts, trust funds, real estate equity, G.I. and Social Security benefits, income of both student and spouse, other familial resources, income tax refunds, sponsorships from companies, as well as prior educational debt levels). Decisions are made by committee and based on the available budget as well as certain donor preferences. Lastly, we also take into account merit-based awards made possible by the Admissions office. Additional information might be requested to best assess a candidate's ability to pay and late applications are subject to a different process.
What is the average amount of need-based scholarships?
The grants vary for each student; however the awards are typically in the $10,000-$30,000 range (amounts can sometimes be higher in certain circumstances).
I am hoping to finance my MBA with fellowships and scholarships, is this feasible?
While some fellowships can cover up to full tuition they are few in number and extremely competitive. Need based grants range from $10,000-$30,000 per academic year (amounts can sometimes be higher in certain circumstances), which would not be sufficient to cover tuition and fees. There are federal and private loan options that can assist in financing your program costs.
If I get a scholarship for my first year, will it automatically renew for the second year?
Yes, need-based grants are renewed for the second year, provided students demonstrate receipt of loan funds in their first year. Merit-based awards have a GPA requirement for renewal of 5.5/10.0 if it is a renewable award (some are one-year awards).
If I did not receive a scholarship award in my first year can I be considered in my second year?
Not receiving an award in your first year does not impact your eligibility to apply for your second year. You can complete our four-step scholarship application in the Spring of your first year.
I am an international student in the process of applying for scholarship, the CSS profile requests parental information, can I skip this section?
We request parental information to help us get an idea of your full financial picture, as such parental information is required. Please complete this section to the best of your ability.
I missed the scholarship renewal deadline can I still apply?
We can accept your application after the deadline. However, please be advised that we will review your application after those that were received by the deadline date. Late applications are subject to a different process.
Are grants or scholarships taxable?
Grant assistance is taxable income to the extent that it exceeds tuition, required education fees, and course-related expenses. Course-related expenses are those for books, supplies, and equipment required for your courses. For nonresident aliens, the University is required to withhold federal income tax on grants received in excess of the expenses described above.
The scholarship application requires a copy of my tax return, however I was not required to file a return this year, what should I do?
In this instance we request that you submit an end of year earnings statement from your employer. If you were not employed please send us a statement detailing your income for this tax year.
I noticed that the deadline for need based scholarship is past-due, however I was just admitted a few days ago am I still eligible to apply?
As a student admitted after our initial deadline you have two weeks from your date of admission to apply for scholarship. We recommend that you review your “To Do List” on the admitted students’ website for links and instructions.
I was hoping to apply for a need based scholarship and was wondering if I would be eligible to apply as a sponsored student?
Students that are 100% sponsored are not considered for financial aid other than student loans. If your sponsorship does not meet the full tuition, you are most welcome to apply for scholarship consideration.
I have been admitted to the EMBA program and would like to be considered for fellowships and scholarships, what is the application process?
Financial aid for the EMBA program is limited to loans. We have compiled a list of external scholarships and fellowships that you may find useful, while they are primarily geared toward MBA students a number are open to EMBA students as well.
Are there any other outside sources that I should consider?
Absolutely, our office has compiled a list of external scholarships and fellowships and external resources that you can review. In addition, you should also think of any organizations to which you belong that might have aid funds available such as: religious organizations, fraternal organizations, clubs, athletics, veteran groups, ethnic groups, unions, employers, rotary clubs, etc.
How do outside scholarships affect my Columbia financial aid award?
The scholarships you receive from outside sources will be used to reduce the loan portion of your financial aid package. For example, if you are awarded a $2,000 National Merit Scholarship, your loans will be reduced by the full $2,000. Depending on the award size, your Columbia funding could also be reduced. We will review on a case by case basis.
Am I eligible for loans?
Domestic students (citizens and permanent residents) are eligible to apply for federal and private loans or a combination of the two; international students are eligible to apply for private loans with a US cosigner, or a no-cosigner loan options are available through Prodigy Finance or MPower Financing. Loan applications are subject to credit approval and are not guaranteed.
In preparing to enter the MBA program I am considering alternative loans, is there anything that I can do in advance to facilitate this process?
Reviewing your credit report prior to applying for loans is certainly a good idea. You can review your credit report via any of the three main credit bureaus.
When do I apply for loans and scholarships?
You should apply for loans and scholarships after you are admitted. Based on your admit date you will have a specific deadline as to when your applications are due. In order to expedite the application process, we encourage you to prepare your tax return early and complete the FAFSA as soon as possible.
What is the FAFSA used for?
The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is a supporting document for the scholarship application as well as Federal Unsubsidized and Grad PLUS loan applications. Once we receive your FAFSA results our office will create and send you a Finaid Aid package.
What is Columbia Business School's FAFSA code?
We do not use a Columbia Business School specific code. The school code for Columbia University is 002707.
Do I need to apply for the loans I accept?
Yes, you need to apply for all of the loans you accept on the award letter. Please review the Document Tracking tab, on your award letter. This will provide links to the required documents.
What is meant by federal verification and why might I have been selected?
Students are randomly selected by the federal government for “verification.” Our office will reach out to those students required to complete the Verification process. Selected students are required to submit a Federal Verification Worksheet to our office.
There are so many lenders out there and I am overwhelmed, how should I pick?
You should certainly research your alternative loan options. You can do an independent search for lenders; all lenders offer our students their national products. We have also compiled a Suggested Lender List for both domestic and international students that you may find useful in you research. You should also feel free to book an appointment with our office to discuss your options in detail.
What's the cheapest loan for me?
When trying to figure out how expensive a loan program is, there are three criteria to look at: (1) interest rates, (2) fees charged for guarantee/origination, and (3) frequency of interest capitalization.
How do I understand what these interest rates mean?
Instead of a fixed interest rate, such as 5% or 8%, private loan programs generally have interest rates that are variable (i.e they change periodically). Most are based on either the "Prime Rate", LIBOR, or a "Treasury Bill" rate, such as the "91-day T-Bill", the "13-week T-Bill" or the "52-week T-Bill" rate. Usually, the interest rate on a private loan is based on one of these variable “index” rates plus a set percentage (or "points"), such as "Prime + 3.1 percent." Sometimes the points are referred to as your “margin”. The margin will remain the same for the life of the loan. As all of these indices fluctuate with the market, the interest rates on the loans go up or down. Usually the interest rates on your loans are adjusted quarterly by the lender, although some may adjust more or less frequently. There also may be a different number of points added to the index rate when you are in school versus when you are in repayment.
What kinds of fees are there, and when do I get charged for them?
Guarantee fees are the lender's insurance against your defaulting on the loan, and origination fees are charged for processing the loan. Fees that are charged up front usually come right out of your loan disbursements, so you will net less money than you applied for. Some lenders also add on an additional guarantee fee right at the time you go into repayment. When looking at how much a loan program charges in fees, make sure that you add up both the fees charged initially at disbursement, and any fees charged at the time you go into repayment, so that you know the total amount of fees you can be charged.
Are there many differences between federal loans and private loans?
Yes, students are advised to carefully review the terms and conditions of each loan type. Additional information be found on our website.
Federal Direct Loan
Maximum of $20,500 per academic year.
Loans disbursed between 7/1/2022-6/30/2023 fixed 6.54% interest rate.
1.057% Origination Fee.
Recommended for eligible students.
Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
Can borrow the amount remaining in your student budget above the Federal Direct loan, and any other aid or sponsorship.
Loans disbursed between 7/1/2022-6/30.2023 fixed 7.54% interest rate.
4.228% Origination Fee.
Can borrow the amount remaining in your student budget above the Federal Direct loan, and any other aid or sponsorship.
Offer fixed and variable rate loans based on your credit score.
Should I borrow a private loan or a federal loan?
This is a personal decision and while we cannot recommend one loan type over another it is best to consider your personal risk tolerance when making this choice.
Does Columbia have a private loan option for international students that does not require a cosigner?
Yes, no-cosigner loan options are available through Prodigy Finance or MPower Financing. To apply, please visit their website. Many international students also rely on family funds, personal savings, government or company sponsorships, and/or loans secured in their home countries. International students should review our additional resources page, separated by country, for additional external assistance.
I am accessing the Grad Plus loan application on studentaid.gov and received a message stating that you do not participate, why?
Columbia Business School has elected to use a Columbia Business School specific Graduate PLUS Loan Request Form. The form can only be accessed online a link can also be found in your award letter.
I borrowed up to my financial aid budget but I am running out of funds, is it possible to increase my loans?
In determining the budget, the University applies a conservative and modest estimate of living expenses to all students. Students who face higher costs due to extenuating circumstances may request a budget increase by submitting a formal appeal along with appropriate documentation. If approved, the budget increase would allow students to borrow additional loan funds, subject to lender or Department of Education approval.
If I take a leave of absence, do I have to start repaying my loans?
This may depend on the type of loans and the grace periods of these loans. If you take a leave of absence, you should make an appointment to see us for individual counseling. You may need to complete paperwork and consider your options based on the length of your leave.
If I do not borrow in first year, can I borrow later?
Absolutely, borrowing loans in your second year is not contingent upon borrowing in your first year. Loan application instructions will be sent to the rising second years in the late Spring.
I see an Institutional loan is part of my financial aid package, what is this?
Columbia’s institutional loan programs are awarded as part of the need-based financial aid package prepared when students apply for scholarships. Institutional loans are low interest rate loans that do not accrue interest while in school.
I am entering the MBA program and my intention is to return to the nonprofit sector. Are there any programs in place to assist with my grad school debt?
Yes, the Social Enterprise and the Financial Aid Office jointly administer the Loan Forgiveness Program. The program is designed to help alleviate the financial burden associated with repaying education loans while pursuing a career in these sectors.
What is the maximum amount available through the Loan Assistance Program?
Loan Assistance grants are capped at $10,000 per year.
I am an entering EMBA student; I am fully sponsored by my employer but would like to borrow for travel expenses, is this possible?
Absolutely, students are eligible to apply for loans to cover the financial aid budget minus any sponsorship. Our financial aid budget includes an allocation for living and travel expenses.
I have undergraduate loans that I would like to defer while in school, what should I do?
The University works with the National Student Loan Clearinghouse to feed enrollment information to lenders. The enrollment feed is sent shortly after the add/drop period at the start of each term. If your lender does not work with the National Student Loan Clearinghouse or if you prefer to manage this process on your own you can request a Certificate of enrollment from the Registrar’s Office via Student Services Online, which you can forward to your lender.
Should I consolidate my loans?
A Federal Consolidation loan allows the borrower to combine one or more of their eligible federal education loans into one new loan – and can extend the repayment term (up to 30 years), allowing lower monthly payments. Loan consolidation is a financial management strategy that may benefit student borrowers, although it may not be the best strategy for everyone. Direct loans first disbursed on or after 7/1/06 already have a fixed rate of 6.8% and do not necessarily need to be consolidated. Students must consolidate pre-2006 federal loan debt under the Federal Direct Loan program if they want to take advantage of Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
I’m graduating next month, is there anything that I need to do for Financial Aid?
How should I go about repaying my loans?
There are multiple strategies for loan repayment. We suggest that students schedule an appointment with one of our advisors to discuss options in depth.
There is a hold on my account, will this impact my graduation?
A HOLD on your account will not impact your ability to walk at commencement and recognition; however your diploma will only be released when the HOLD has been cleared.
As a Dual Degree student what is my financial aid budget?
As a Dual Degree Student who should I expect to bill me for the cost of the program?
Each school will charge you for the terms you are enrolled in each.
Exchange Students, Veterans
As an exchange student may I be considered for grants from Columbia Business School?
No, during your time at Columbia Business School your aid should come from your home institution, as you will not be billed by Columbia Business School.
I am a veteran, how do I go about setting up my aid?
Your first step would be to get in touch with our University Veterans Affairs, As a veteran, you must complete the Veterans Request for Certification http://veteranaffairs.columbia.edu/content/veterans-request-certification for each term you anticipate receiving benefits. We then recommend that you schedule a meeting with our office to discuss your individual financial aid options.
Do you offer the Yellow Ribbon program? If so how much can I expect to receive?
Yes, we do participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program. The current Yellow Ribbon Program provides $20,000 per academic year with a VA match of the same amount for all who are eligible.
I'm a veteran using the Post 9/11 GI Bill and I'd like to get a feel for how much of the program that would cover.
For the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you may receive one payout at the start of each academic year from the VA. The current cap is $26,381.37 per year. If you have 36 months of benefits, you may be able to tap those benefits through the entire program. Your percentage of eligibility will determine if you qualify for Yellow Ribbon.
I am receiving aid from the post 9/11 GI Bill, does that preclude me from receiving additional aid?
No, you can certainly apply for need based scholarship and be considered for merit based fellowship.