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Admitted Students

Does Columbia match financial aid packages from other schools?

It is not our policy to automatically match other offers, and we do not negotiate financial aid awards. We will not match offers from institutions that offer merit-based awards. However, if you fax us a copy of another need-based offer, we will review your application to determine if a change is appropriate. We do this because different schools may have different information at the time the application was evaluated. Or perhaps your circumstances are complex and have been interpreted differently by another school.

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How do I waive the medical insurance if I am already covered?

Aetna Student Health manages the medical insurance waiver process for Columbia, which is separate from Health Services. An overview of the Health Insurance information may be found online at There is an online waiver form, which you must complete and return every year during the summer prior to the beginning of the academic year (and no later than September 30 each year).

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Do I have to pay the Health Service fee if I am covered by my parents' medical insurance?

Yes.  The Health Service fee is unrelated to medical insurance.  It is a mandatory fee that gives students access to primary care, counseling, health education programs and other medical services offered by Columbia.  Please consult the Guide to Health and Related Services for detailed information regarding what is covered by this fee.

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Do I have to maintain a minimum GPA?

There is no minimum GPA requirement to qualify for financial aid.  However, the student must be maintaining satisfactory academic progress towards a Columbia degree.

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May I appeal my financial aid package?

  1. YES, if your family’s financial circumstances changed after you submitted your financial aid application.
  2. 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.
  3. YES, if another need-based school has provided you a different interpretation of your family's financial circumstances.
  4. NO, if your sole reason for the appeal is that you are asking us to consider merit-based offers from other schools.

All appeals should be submitted in writing and you may do

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What is your policy towards renewing my financial aid after my 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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Will my financial aid award change after I have received my 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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Are there other charges or expenses that I should be aware of?

Additional billed costs you might accrue include laboratory or language fees (for certain classes) and laundry service (optional).  Some courses, particularly in the sciences and 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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How will I pay for books and other personal expenses?

We include a standard amount of $2,100 in every student’s cost of attendance for books and other personal expenses.  Normally, students use the earnings from their term time job to help cover these expenses.

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How will I receive my earnings? Do my wages get deposited directly to my student account?

Student employees generally receive biweekly paychecks for the hours they worked.  These earnings do not appear as credits on any bill received from Columbia.  Instead, a paycheck will be given to the student and the money earned may be used to purchase books and other personal items.

Wages for work study jobs range from approximately $7 to $12, depending on the job and your qualifications.  Most first-year students earn approximately $7-8 per hour and therefore work about ten to twelve hours a week to fulfill their work study allocation.

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