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Currently Enrolled Students

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.

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.

How do I get a work study job?

Federal Work Study jobs are listed on the Federal Work Study Office website.

After you find a job that interests you, you must bring an Employment Authorization Form (available from the Federal Work Study Payroll Office in 207 Philosophy Hall) directly to the employer. If you are hired for a work study position, your employer will complete the Employment Authorization Form, which then must be returned to the Federal Work Study Payroll Office.

Are there other charges or expenses that I 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.

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).

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.

What happens if I change dorms or meal plans?

Your financial aid budget includes the cost of a standard residence hall room and the standard meal plan, both of which all first-year students are required to purchase. After your first year, you will no longer be required to sign up for a meal plan, however, your financial aid budget will include a food allowance based on the availability of kitchen facilities in your dorm. For dorms with no kitchen, your food allowance will be equal to the cost of the standard meal plan.

When and where are bills sent?

At Columbia we call each bill a Student Account Statement.  You 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, you will receive monthly Student Account Statements when there is a current activity on your account (a new charge or credit), or if a debit or credit balance remains on your account.

How do outside scholarships affect my Columbia financial aid award?

The scholarships you receive from outside sources will be used to reduce the work study portion of your financial aid package. For example, if you are awarded a $2,000 National Merit Scholarship, your work study expectation will be reduced by the full $2,000. Only after your work study has been completely eliminated will your scholarships begin to reduce any Columbia Grant you may have received.

How do I apply for the New York State TAP?

The first step is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  If you are a New York State resident, the federal processor will automatically send your FAFSA information to New York State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC).  HESC will then send you a personalized TAP application for your signature.  You must sign this form and return it to HESC in order to receive your TAP award.


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