What is Financial Aid?

Columbia College’s school code: 003430.

Financial Aid is support you may qualify for to help pay for college. Aid can come in the form of scholarships and grants from Columbia College, the state of South Carolina, or the federal government as well as other federal assistance like loans, work-study, or veterans benefits. The starting point for all financial aid is to apply to Columbia College and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online.

How do I Apply for Financial Aid?

1. Apply for Admission

Before your financial aid can be processed, you'll have to apply for admissions. Creating an account is easy and will allow you the option to save your application at any time and complete it at a later time.

2. Complete the FAFSA

File the FAFSA online. Undergraduate students, keep in mind that all South Carolina residents must complete the FAFSA no later than June 30th (of the year starting college) to qualify for the South Carolina Tuition Grant. 

The priority deadline for Undergraduate students is June 30th.

Columbia College FAFSA CODE: 003430

3. Receive your official award

If you need to make any changes to your award, you must return a signed copy to the Office of Financial Aid.

NOTE: If you accept private scholarships or grants, you need to send copies of the scholarship notification to the Office of Financial Aid so that those awards can be added to your aid award letter.

Requirements to Maintain Awards

Undergraduate Students

Your financial aid is awarded contingent on your maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress.

  • Undergraduate students must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0.
  • They must have passed sixty-seven percent (67%) of all attempted hours to retain their financial aid eligibility for the following academic term.
  • Additional information can be found in any of our academic bulletins.

Graduate Students

Your financial aid is awarded contingent on your maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress as stated in the appropriate academic bulletin. Graduate students must maintain a 3.0 and have passed sixty-seven percent (67%) of all attempted hours.

Types of Federal Financial Aid 

Students who are U.S. Citizens or permanent residents may receive the following financial aid from the Federal Government, which is determined by information students provide on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 

Be sure to also review your Columbia College and South Carolina scholarships and grant options to maximize your financial support package. 

More on Federal Grants, Loans & Work-Study

Pell Grant 

Students who demonstrate financial need may qualify for a Pell Grant up to $6,095.

Supplementary Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)

Students who are eligible for the Pell Grant and demonstrate financial need which is determined by FAFSA may be eligible for up to $2,500. 

Subsidized Stafford Loan 

Students may receive $3,500 as a Subsidized Stafford Loan. Students are not charged interest on the loan until after leaving college or dropping below full-time status.

Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

Students may receive $2,000 as an unsubsidized Stafford Loan. Students can choose to defer paying interest on the loan while enrolled in college. If so, the interest incurred will be added to the principal amount of the loan. 

Parent PLUS Loan 

Parents or stepparents may be eligible to borrow funds for educational expenses incurred for their student. The maximum amount able to be borrowed is determined by the cost of attendance minus a student’s financial aid.

Federal Work-Study

Students may qualify for up to $1,500 in Federal Work-Study, depending on a student’s overall financial need which is determined by the FAFSA. The Federal Work-Study program provides students part-time jobs on-campus. There are limited jobs on-campus, so students are encouraged to seek work-study employment early. Money earned through work-study positions can be used for educational or other personal expenses.

Financial Aid Forms

The links below will direct you to the respective resources that may be needed to complete the financial aid award process.

2021–2022 Documents & Forms

2020–2021 Documents & Forms

Federal Links

How to create an FSA User ID instructions
Create a FSA User ID
Complete the FAFSA
Entrance Counseling
Master Promissory Note for Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loan
Apply for the Parent Plus Loan
Parent Plus Loan Master Promissory Note

Completed documents may be returned one of the following ways:

  • Email: fa@columbiasc.edu
  • Fax: 803.786.3560
  • Mailed or Dropped Off to: 
    Columbia College - Office of Financial Aid
    1301 Columbia College Drive
    Columbia, SC 29203

The Gramm Leach Bliley Act,

also known as GLBA, is a federal law that protects customer non-public personal information, otherwise known as NPI.

How does GLBA apply to the Columbia College?

GLBA applies due to the College's financial relationship with students. A critical part of GLBA is the Safeguards Rule, requiring administrative, technical, and physical safeguards for NPI.  NPI is any personally-identifiable financial information that a customer provides to obtain a financial service or product from the Columbia College. NPI includes Social Security number, credit card number, account balance, passport information, tax return information, bank account information, driver’s license number, and date of birth. 

The following tips may be useful when dealing with NPI, though these tips alone do not ensure compliance.

  • Access to NPI should be limited to only authorized personnel who require access.
  • NPI computers and systems should not be used for non-work related activities. 
  • If collecting NPI online directly from students, automate the transmission.

For more in-depth information about the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), visit the Federal Trade Commission's GLBA Website.