Transfer and Visiting Students

Transfer Students

Students admitted to the J.D. program with advanced standing (transfer students) are not considered for Columbia Law School grant assistance. Therefore, the Law School does not accept grant applications from students admitted with advanced standing in their second or third years.

  • Because most transfer students usually are not admitted until late in the summer, it is important that they begin the financial aid application process as soon as possible [filing the FAFSA, obtaining the appropriate federal loan (Direct Unsubsidized, Direct Graduate PLUS) Master Promissory Note/MPN, applying for approval on private educational loans].
  • We ask that you complete your application for loan assistance only after accepting Columbia’s offer of admission, by submitting to our office the Financial Aid Questionnaire, applicable MPN(s) and/or private loan applications, and all required supporting documents (e.g., Verification form, taxes, etc.).
  • The Financial Aid Office will make every effort to expedite your loan applications so that you may have your funds early in the semester and, if possible, by the start of classes.

U.S. Citizens and Eligible Noncitizens

U.S. citizens and eligible noncitizens who plan on borrowing from the federal loan programs (Direct Unsubsidized, Direct Graduate PLUS) or hope to qualify for federal Work-Study funding, should file their FAFSA application by no later than the date they submit their admission application to the Law School.

Please refer to the Loans & Credit Website describing the federal loan programs and the Loan Application Webpage for the current loan procedures. Loan funds may also be available from private educational loan programs; please refer to the Private Loans section for more information.

International Students

International students (not U.S. citizens and not eligible noncitizens) are not eligible for federally guaranteed assistance programs.  In addition, they need to provide a U.S. cosigner in order to apply for most private educational loan programs.

Please refer to the Private Loans section and the Columbia University Student Financial Services Website for additional information.  We strongly advise all international students seeking educational loans to secure an eligible cosigner as early as possible. 

Other Lenders for International Students

Based solely upon historical borrowing data over the past two academic years, some international students may have been able to secure alternative private loans without a U.S. co-signer from the financial institutions listed on the Student Financial Services (SFS) Website.

Visiting Students

Columbia Law School J.D. students who are granted permission to study at another U.S. law school for credit toward satisfaction of the J.D. requirements, and who will be borrowing educational loans to meet their cost of education, must notify the Columbia Law School Financial Aid Office (FAO) as early as possible of their decision to register at their host school. Ideally, such notification should be made before the FAO has certified the student’s loan application(s).

For each semester that you will be enrolled as a visiting student at another law school, Columbia Law School will register you in the category of "student on leave for study at another U.S. law school." Students in this registration category are charged a University fee equivalent to one point of Law School tuition each semester. This fee is adjusted annually in mid-June for the following academic year. For the 2023-2024 academic year, the per-semester fee is $3,924.

The FAO will ask the host school to complete a Consortium Agreement that will document which school will process the student’s educational loans. Columbia Law School continues to process loan applications for students receiving its degree during their study at another U.S. law school. The host school will be asked to provide us with information regarding the student’s cost of attendance, dates of attendance, and enrollment status for the period of study at the host school. The host institution will not process any financial aid for the Columbia Law School student.

If the student is applying for federal educational loans (Unsubsidized and/or Graduate PLUS) or private educational loans, the loan funds will be disbursed to the Columbia University student account each semester, the Columbia University semester fee will be deducted from these proceeds, and the balance will be refunded to the student. To avoid delays in receiving a refund, students need to make sure they are signed up for direct deposit with Columbia University so that the funds can be automatically deposited into the U.S. bank account designated by the student. It is then the student's responsibility to ensure that these funds are used to pay the tuition and other charges for the period(s) of study at the host school. 

Columbia Law School grants are not available for semesters of study at other schools.

All students who borrowed educational loans certified by Columbia Law School's Financial Aid Office will need to complete an Exit Interview prior to graduation, even if they are not borrowing to pay for their studies at their host school. The Exit Interview materials will be sent to the student several weeks before the student's anticipated graduation date.

Students from other U.S. law schools who have been accepted to take upperclass courses at Columbia Law School as non-matriculants (receiving their J.D. degree from their home institution), and who need financial aid to meet their educational costs, must arrange with their home institution for the processing of their financial aid. The home institution must forward a Consortium Agreement form to the Columbia Law School Financial Aid Office (FAO), confirming that the home institution will process all financial aid for its student. The Columbia Law School FAO will complete the Consortium Agreement and will verify the student’s cost of attendance, dates of attendance, and enrollment status for the period of study at Columbia Law School. Columbia Law School will not process any financial aid for the visiting non-matriculating student.

Generally, the student’s home institution will forward the financial aid proceeds to our Financial Aid Office to be applied toward the student’s Columbia University tuition and fee charges.  In some cases, the home institution will send the loan proceeds directly to the student, who then will need to apply them toward payment of the Columbia University charges.