Funding your education at SIPA – part 3

Applying for Financial Aid – Spring 2013 Applicants

Applying for financial aid doesn’t involve too many steps.  If you are applying for Spring 2013 admission, you will need to complete the 2012/13 Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly known as the FAFSA.  To do so, go to www.fafsa.gov.  This universal aid application is used at just about every college in the United States and even some in other countries where American students can receive aid.  The information collected on the FAFSA will be used by the SIPA Financial Aid Office to determine your eligibility for student loans available from the federal government and possible work study jobs.

When you complete the FAFSA, you designate the recipient school by using a 6-digit code number specific to the school.  Columbia’s school code is 002707.

If you completed the FAFSA as an undergraduate, you’ll be familiar with the process, although as a graduate student, no parental information is necessary.  All graduate students are automatically considered to be financially independent.  If you have a PIN number that you used as an undergraduate, use the same one.  If have never completed a FAFSA before, you will need a PIN in order to complete the FAFSA; you must go to www.pin.ed.gov, which is linked from www.fafsa.gov.

Do not wait until you have received an admission decision to complete your FAFSA.  While there is no absolute deadline approaching, you should complete the FAFSA as soon as possible; we recommend that you do so by November 1 for a timely review.  Also be aware that this is an annual form, and you will need to complete the 2013/14 FAFSA for the following fall and spring semesters; you should do that after completing your 2012 federal income tax return next April.

And please…especially if you are completing the FAFSA for the first time, it can be confusing.  If you have any questions or need any assistance, contact us at 212-854-6216 or email us at sipa_finaid@columbia.edu.

 

Note: Don’t complete a FAFSA if you are an international student; it is only used to determine eligibility for student loans and Work Study available to US citizens, permanent residents and political refugees.

If you are applying for Fall 2013 admission, complete the FAFSA for the 2013/14 academic year after January 1; we recommend that you do so by March 1.  We will post a reminder for Fall 2013 applicants as the time to complete your FAFSA approaches.