How to Apply for Financial Aid for 2020-2021

Entering First-Year J.D. Students Only: Grant applications are reviewed only after a student has been admitted. If you are an admitted student interested in grant assistance, you must complete your application as early as possible so that it can be evaluated soon after you have been admitted. Students admitted under the Early Decision Plan are reminded that they should not expect to be notified of their financial aid package before the end of March, at the earliest. We strongly recommend that applicants file the applicable forms by no later than February 15, 2020, even if they have not yet received an offer of admission. Admitted students who submit the required application materials after February 15, 2020 may be considered for need-based grant assistance contingent upon availability of funds.

Types of Aid

The first step is to decide which types of aid you are seeking:

  • Columbia Law School need-based grants and loans
  • Loans only

Deciding this will determine which forms you need to submit, and when. If you are uncertain about whether you should apply for a grant, please refer to the Scholarship Grant section.

Please note that students seeking consideration for Law School grants must apply at the time of application to the first-year class of the J.D. program, and that grant decisions are made only after a student has been offered admission. Award letters to recipients of institutional grants will include information about the financial aid package for each of the student’s three years of study at Columbia Law School.

 

Deadline Columbia Law School Grants and Loans
(Entering first-year J.D. students only)

February 15

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to federal processor***

February 15

CSS Profile Application to the College Board

February 15

Columbia Law School Financial Aid Questionnaire* to Financial Aid Office

February 15

2018 Federal Income Tax Forms** for student, spouse, and parent(s) to the College Board using the Institutional Documentation (IDOC) Service

May 15

Federal Loan Application(s) to Federal Direct Loan Program and/or Private Loan Application(s) to Financial Aid Office

Loans Only

(All students planning to register in 2020-2021)

Submit by May 15 to ensure timely processing:

  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to federal processor***
  • Columbia Law School Financial Aid Questionnaire* to Financial Aid Office
  • Federal Loan Application(s) to Federal Direct Loan Program and/or Private Loan Application(s) to Financial Aid Office

Students seeking consideration for Law School grants must complete their application at the time they apply for admission to the entering 1L class. All grant funds for the class (e.g., Class of 2022) are committed for the three years. Therefore, the Law School does not accept grant applications from students in their second or third years. Of course, upperclass J.D. students who are experiencing financial difficulty because of significant adverse changes to their circumstances are encouraged to meet with a Financial Aid Officer to explore their financial aid options.

In their second and third years at Columbia Law School, students who received a three-year grant offer at the time of admission will have their financial aid renewed in accordance with their award notification once they have submitted the following: Financial Aid Questionnaire, Grant Data Sheet, current resume, biographical sketch, loan documents, and loan application(s). They will not need to complete the CSS Profile application, nor to submit tax returns, unless tax data is required for verification of FAFSA data. When significant changes have occurred in a student’s personal circumstances (e.g., student’s marriage or divorce, change of spouse’s status, etc.) or when a student receives grants from other sources, the student is required to notify our office immediately and will be asked to provide additional information since eligibility for certain types of aid may be impacted.


* The Financial Aid Questionnaire (FAQ) may be found on the Admitted Student website. If you are applying for a Law School grant, please submit it by February 15 or immediately after admission. If you are applying only for loans, please submit the FAQ by May 15, along with your loan application materials. Upperclass (second- and third-year students) and Graduate Legal Studies students must pick up the Questionnaire in the Financial Aid Office, or request that it be sent or emailed to them.

** For admitted students, if 2018 tax forms are not available by February 15, please submit (via IDOC) complete 2017 tax forms by February 15, and complete 2018 tax forms (again via IDOC) by the end of April. NOTE: Students will be notified by the College Board to submit tax returns via IDOC shortly after they are admitted AND once the CSS Profile form has been received by Columbia. Tax documents ARE NOT accepted by mail, fax or email. Finally, applicants to the J.D. program DO NOT need to submit tax returns unless they are admitted.

*** International students (those who are not US citizens or eligible noncitizens), are not eligible for federal aid and should disregard the FAFSA requirement.