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1 Award Letter Workbook Graduate Programs colum.edu/sfs Award Letter Workbook 1

2 Congratulations! Today, you are one step closer to completing the first stage of financing your Columbia education Create a Plan. After completing the Create a Plan stage, you have just a few more stages to go: Secure Your Funding, Manage Your Account, and Become Money Smart. This is only the beginning, so review this workbook very carefully and remember to ask questions along the way. Sincerely, Student Financial Services colum.edu/sfs Contact SFS No matter your question this is the best place to start. Toll-Free Consultation Line/Chat Services: The Toll-Free Consultation Line and our Chat Services allow students to contact a Student Financial Services Representative at their convenience. Both services are free and are available Mon Fri from 9AM 5PM CST. We will assess your inquiry and determine the next steps and best course of action based on your individual situation. Education Center Consultation For those students who happen to be on-campus and need a quick question answered, you may utilize our Education Center Consultation Services. Student Financial Service Consultants are available Mon Fri from 10AM 4PM. The Student Financial Services Lobby is open 9AM 5PM to submit documents and to utilize work stations at 600 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 303. Financial Planning Consultation From time to time a student may need financial planning consultation with one of our Student Financial Services Consultants. Examples of circumstances may be a sudden loss of income due to job loss or an unexpected interruption of enrollment due to illness. If you find yourself in one of these or any other extraordinary circumstances please call the Toll-Free Consultation Line as soon as possible and one of our Student Financial Services Representatives will assist you in scheduling an appointment. Cover photo by Jacob Boll

3 Guide to Understanding Your Award Letter Section 1: FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) Results The information provided on your FAFSA was used to determine your award eligibility. EFC Is the result of a federal calculation. Housing Status Your housing status affects Schools use the EFC to determine the the estimated costs listed in Section 2 of need based awards students are eligible your Award Letter. to receive. Section 2: Total Cost of Attendance (Estimated Budget) The budgeted costs (direct and indirect) in this section are estimated for the academic year. Budgets are adjusted for enrollment less-than 9 credit hours. Learn more about how these costs are calculated and how to personalize your budget at colum.edu/calculateyourcosts. Section 3: Scholarships and Grant Awards (Gift Aid) The awards in this section are considered gift aid and do not need to be repaid. These awards have requirements to receive and retain. Please refer to your scholarship letter or contact the Office of Graduate Admissions & Services at for more details. Section 4: Net Costs After Gift Aid (Section 2 minus Section 3) The amount calculated in this section indicates the amount you will need to finance with Section 5: Self Help Options. If you will pay the direct portion of these costs in installments see page 6 for our In-School Payment Agreement options and deadlines. Section 5: Self-Help Options Self-Help Options are funds, which are either borrowed with interest or earned through work. Your Award Letter outlines your maximum eligibility. For more detailed information on these options please see pages 4 5. Section 6: Assumptions and Conditions to the Above Awards The awards listed on your Award Letter are subject to change based on: Enrollment Status Awards are based Changes to Your FAFSA If you believe on full-time enrollment and the number you must make changes to your FAFSA, of hours you have earned on file. Visit please contact SFS to discuss your colum.edu/beforeyoudrop for more circumstances. If the changes you wish to information on how changes to your make are related to a change in income enrollment status affect your awards. which were not reflected on your FAFSA visit colum.edu/reevaluatingyourfinancialaid Verification Refer to your Award before contacting SFS. Letter to determine if you are required to complete the Verification process. Satisfactory Academic Progress Failure to Review page 4 or visit colum.edu/ maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress verification for more information. may affect your ability to register for future semesters. Learn more about Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements at colum.edu/sap. Next Steps and Deadlines Use this workbook to help you complete the stages below. Refer to the deadlines in stage 2 and 3 as you complete each stage. Create a Plan Use the CRCW found on the back of this workbook or the interactive calculator online at colum.edu/crcc to help you complete the Create a Plan stage. Refer to your enclosed Award Letter as you re completing the CRCW. After completing the CRCW you will be able to answer the following questions: How much funding will I need to cover my educational costs? Which funding sources will I need to utilize? Will my chosen funding sources cover all my costs? Are personal resources part of my funding sources and, if so, do I need to secure a payment plan? Secure Your Funding Pages 4 5 outline the major steps and information necessary to secure your funding. Manage Your Account Page 6 provides information regarding your Loopmail account, online resources, billing information, and how to purchase books, supplies, and food on campus. Become Money Smart Page 7 provides information regarding loan borrowing basics and resources to help you become money smart. Award Letter Workbook 3

4 Securing your funding is a very important stage in your financial planning and a process you will have to complete each year. Securing your funding has three important steps for all Financial Aid Payers to complete. Verification/Caution Flags Determine if you need to submit any additional documents for Verification of your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Verification and/or Caution Flags are a process by which the Department of Education asks us to validate specific data elements you entered on your FAFSA for you and/or your spouse. The data elements in question impact your student financial aid eligibility and they must be supported by additional documentation prior to the disbursement of any federal or state funding to your account. Please be aware that each time you make changes to your FAFSA, you can be selected for Verification. Verification is a personalized process. If you were selected for Verification or have Caution Flags your Award Letter will have a statement beneath your listing of awards indicating your status. To determine what documents YOU need and how to submit those documents for Verification and/or Caution Flags do the following: Review your Student Aid Report (SAR) provided to you by the Central Processing System. Check your Columbia student Loopmail account* for: Detailed instructions on the specific data elements you entered on your FAFSA which must be verified; documents required; document submission instructions; and deadlines. Check your OASIS online student portal* for a list of required documents and access to electronic forms. This can be found in the missing documents section of the Student Financial Services tab in the OASIS Portal. * For more guidance on accessing these information sources please go to the Managing your Account section of this workbook (p. 6). You will only need to complete this process after you confirm your enrollment and once Student Financial Services notifies you through your Loopmail account of your requirements. The priority deadline for submitting Verfication/Caution Flag documents is June 1, Enrollment is confirmed through the Office of Graduate Admissions & Services. Please contact Graduate Admissions for questions at Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans Determine if you plan to utilize Federal Direct Stafford Loans to assist in financing your education. Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are loans guaranteed by the Federal Government. Graduate students have an annual limit of $20,500 they may borrow and a lifetime limit of $138,000 in Unsubsidzed Stafford Loans. Your amount is also dependent on past borrowing. For more information on Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans please see the next page. If you wish to utilize a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan to assist in covering your educational costs you need to complete the following: Master Promissory Note Agreement with the lender on repayment. Stafford Entrance Counseling Counseling session on loan terms and repayment criteria. Both of these tasks may be completed online at studentloans.gov. The priority deadline for loan completion is July 1, 2015 (if you receive your Award Letter after this date, documents are due 10 days within receipt of your Award Letter). Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan Determine if you plan to utilize a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan to assist in financing your education. Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans are available for application through the Federal Government. Graduate Students who wish to utilize this loan to assist in their educational costs must first apply and be evaluated to be eligible. If approved, students are eligible to borrow up to the amount listed on Award Letter. For more information on Federal Direct PLUS Loans please see the chart on page 5. If you wish to utilize a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan to assist in covering your educational costs you must complete the following: Plus Loan Credit Application Application in which your credit is evaluated and either approved or denied for borrowing. Master Promissory Note Agreement with the lender on repayment. PLUS Entrance Counseling Counseling session on loan terms and repayment criteria. All of these tasks may be completed online at studentloans.gov. The priority deadline for loan completion is July 1, 2015 (if you receive your Award Letter after this date, documents are due 10 days within receipt of your Award Letter). If you wish to adjust or cancel a loan amount you can utilize the Student Loan Adjustment Request found at colum.edu/ resourcecenter. 4 Award Letter Workbook

5 This section of the workbook is meant to help you understand the types of financial aid and scholarships, which appear on your Award Letter. This information is meant to be an introduction. We encourage you to also visit colum.edu/secureyourfunding to find more detailed information. Changes to Your Award Letter There are several circumstances, which may warrant changes to your Award Letter. Some of these changes, like enrollment status and updated FAFSA information, are automatically processed by Columbia s Student Financial Services department, while others, like a reduction in a loan amount by the student, are not. For a complete listing of changes and how they are processed please visit our website at colum.edu/secureyourfunding. Reevaluating Your Financial Aid If you believe your financial aid file should be reevaluated because your FAFSA does not reflect your current situation, please go to: colum.edu/secureyourfunding and read the information regarding Reevaluating Your Financial Aid carefully. Following review, if you believe your situation qualifies for a reevaluation please contact our Toll-Free Consultation Line, listed in the Contact SFS section (p. 2), to discuss your situation and, if necessary, schedule an appointment with one of our Student Financial Services Counselors. Columbia College Chicago Scholarships Graduate Students are notified if they are Columbia College Chicago scholarship recipients through the admissions acceptance letter. This award is also listed on your Award Letter under Section 3: Scholarship and Grant Awards (Gift Aid). If you have any further questions regarding the academic renewal criteria and terms of your scholarship, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions & Services at External Scholarships Some Graduate Students may be recipients of an external scholarship or award from an outside agency. If you have been awarded funds to use toward your education, please submit any and all documentation regarding this award to our office as soon as possible. You may fax or submit this information via our Document Submission link at colum.edu/sfs. Federal Direct Loan Programs Below you will find information regarding these loans and their repayment terms, interest rates, etc.* For more detailed information please visit studentloans.gov or our website at colum.edu/fundingsources. Loan Program Amounts Interest Rates Origination Fees Repayment Information Federal Stafford Unsubsidized $20,500 Annual Maximum 6.21% Fixed Interest is accrued by the borrower from disbursement and can be deferred % Deferred while enrolled minimum of 6 credit hours. Federal Graduate PLUS Loan Maximum is Cost of Attendance minus student aid. 7.21% Fixed Interest is accrued by the borrower from disbursement and can be deferred % Deferred while enrolled minimum of 6 credit hours. * Loan repayment terms, interest rates, etc. are subject to change resulting from additional legislative action. Interest rates may change at any time. Please visit studentloans.gov for current rates. Award Letter Workbook 5

6 Now that you have chosen a plan, determined your costs, and secured your funding you can now move to the third Stage. In Managing Your Account you will learn how to review your online resources, how to make online payments, and sign up for direct deposit of refunds. Managing Your Account is an ongoing process for the entire time you are a Columbia student and we have designed tools with this in mind, in order to help you access information quickly and conveniently. Columbia Loopmail Student Account Columbia creates a student account for all students who have Confirmed enrollment for a future semester. Account and financial aid information; requests for documents; registration status information; and other important notifications, specific to only you, are sent to your Loopmail address. Check your Loopmail account often to ensure your financial plan is on track and avoid any potential obstacles in securing your aid or registering for future semesters. All student accounts can be accessed at: colum.edu/loopmail. OASIS Student Portal Resources The Student OASIS Portal is an online information resource available to students 24/7. Students may access the portal with their OASIS ID number (listed on your Award Letter) after you have Confirmed enrollment. You may obtain your temporary password by contacting OASIS Support at The OASIS Portal provides access to all of your student account information such as: Student Account Summary Summary of all charges and credits for the current semester. Financial Aid Awards and Missing Documents Electronic Award Letter and listing of needed documents to process aid. CCCPay Online Billing and Payment System E-Bill and payment system. D2U Direct Deposit Electronic disbursement of student account refunds. Book Charge Authorization Form Access to adding funds to your Campus Card in order to purchase books and supplies. CCCPay Billing and Payment System/D2U CCCPay Billing and Payment System is Columbia s electronic billing and payment system. Here you can sign up and also sign up others to receive electronic billing statements and make credit card or e-check payments to your account. You may also sign up for D2U Direct Deposit Refund. D2U is the fastest and most secure way to receive, if you are eligible, a student account refund. It is recommended that you review and sign up for these services no later than July 15 (if you receive your Award Letter after this date, sign up within 10 days of receipt of your Award Letter). Third Party Billing Student s whose semester will be paid in full or in part by a thirdparty (i.e. Employer, 529 Plan, Government Agency) are required to complete a Third Party Benefit Release Form prior to the start of each semester. Visit colum.edu/payeridentity for additional information. Billing Dates FALL 2015 AUGUST 1, 2015 SPRING 2016 JANUARY 1, 2016 SUMMER 2016 MAY 1, 2016 In-School Payment Agreement Students who are using financial aid as their primary funding resource, but also wish to use personal resources (cash), are eligible to apply for an In-School Payment Agreement. Eligibility requirements for the In-School Payment Agreement are as follows: 1. Student must secure all chosen Financial Aid Resources. 2. The balance of the agreement may not exceed $10,000 annually. Students using this option must apply for an In-School Payment Agreement between August 1 September 30 for Fall enrollment and January 1 February 28 for Spring enrollment. Purchasing Books, Supplies, and Food on Campus Columbia s Campus Card and Columbia Cash program allows students to conveniently buy such items as books, supplies, and food on campus through the Campus Card (Student Identification Card). Students can either add their own value to the card online or they can add book and supply funds to their student accounts through the Book Charge Program on the OASIS Portal. For more information on this and other Campus Card services please visit: colum.edu/campuscard. Using Public Transportation Full-time students receive a Ventra U-Pass which offers unlimited rides on any CTA busses or trains during a single semester. Visit colum.edu/upass for more details.. Health Insurance Options Learn about your eligibility to participate in a student accident and sickness insurance plan at colum.edu/healthinsurance. 6 Award Letter Workbook

7 Once you have created a plan, secured your funding, and learned how to manage your account you can now use your time to educate yourself on Becoming Money Smart. We are not only concerned with you successfully managing your account here at Columbia, we also want you to learn and develop money management skills, which will last you a lifetime. Loan Borrowing Basics The debt you incur today is an investment in yourself. The choices one family makes may be completely different to the next depending on their financial outlook, goals, and priorities. The key to becoming money smart when borrowing loans is to fully understand your options and responsibilities before agreeing to the terms of a loan. For a detailed description of each tip including FAQs, charts, calculators, and examples, visit colum.edu/ becomemoneysmart Loan Borrowing Basics. It costs you money to borrow money. Lenders charge borrowers an interest rate to borrow money. Other fees such as origination fees and repayment fees may also be assessed depending on your lender and loan type. The money the lender makes from the interest and additional fees is considered a profit to them. It s important to be aware of your loan interest rate, all the fees associated with borrowing a loan, and the repayment responsibilities so you can understand the true cost of borrowing the money you are requesting. Paying a little now will save you a lot later. All unpaid interest you have accrued at the time of repayment will be added to your loan balance. This process is called capitalization. When deciding to borrow consider the difference between paying interest as it accrues and choosing to wait until repayment. Consumer Information Disclosures For additional information to assist you in making an informed decision about your enrollment, funding, and student account visit Consumer Information Disclosures at colum.edu/ consumerinformation. Tax Incentives You and your family may be eligible for higher education tax benefits because you re attending college. Visit the Tax Incentive Information page found at colum.edu/becomemoneysmart for additional information. Money Smart Programs Our Money Smart programs include workshops and information on: Budgeting Loan Repayment Options Credit Scores Educational Tax Incentives Please go to colum.edu/becomemoneysmart for detailed information. Website Our website is designed to address all stages of financing your education from Creating a Plan to Securing your Funding to Managing your Account, and finally Becoming Money Smart. If you have trouble finding the answer, simply type your question into our Virtual Advisor who will help you search our website. Keep track of debt today and increase your ability to make money tomorrow. For many borrowers it s easy to think of debt as something to take care of in the future. Keeping track of borrowing loan limits, rights and responsibilities, and repayment plans today will give you the peace of mind to plan for the future. Award Letter Workbook 7

8 CRCW Cost and Resource Comparison Worksheet Visit colum.edu/crcc to use the Interactive Cost and Resource Comparison Calculator. Step A: Estimate Your Direct Educational Costs Direct costs are costs you will be billed for by Columbia. Please note that these costs are billed by semester. Refer to Section 2 of your Award Letter for your Estimated Direct Costs. Semester (X)2= Annual (Fall/Spring) Tuition: $ $ Fees: +$ +$ On-campus Housing/Meal Plan (if applicable): +$ +$ Total Estimated Direct Costs: =$ (A) =$ (A) Step B: Estimate Your Indirect Educational Costs Indirect Educational Costs are not directly billed by Columbia but are considered additional expenses you may incur as a student. Costs can not exceed the amounts stated in Section 2 of your Award Letter. Books and Supplies/Computer Requirements: $ $ Room and Board (Living off-campus only): +$ +$ Personal Expenses: +$ +$ Transportation: +$ +$ Total Estimated Indirect Educational Costs: =$ (B) =$ (B) Step C: Review Your Anticipated* Financial Aid Resources Please refer to your enclosed Award Letter to determine your anticipated awards. Amounts must fit within the Budget reflected on Section 2 of your Award Letter. Gift Aid/Grants and Scholarships Total: +$ +$ Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan Total (Minus 1.072% Origination Fee): +$ +$ PLUS Loan Total (Minus 4.288% Origination Fee): +$ +$ Total Anticipated Financial Aid Resources: =$ (C) =$ (C) * Aid resources require additional steps to secure. See pages 4 5. Step D: Determine Your Estimated Amount Due to Columbia Total Estimated Direct Costs: $ (A) $ (A) Total Anticipated Financial Aid Resources: $ (C) $ (C) Total Estimated amount due to Columbia/or Refunded:** =$ (D) =$ (D) Please note that if your balance on line D is a credit you may be issued a refund which can be used to cover indirect costs. (Please refer to page 6 to learn more about the refund process.) Step E: Determine if You Need to Borrow More to Cover Your Total Costs or if You Need a Payment Plan Total Estimated Indirect Educational Costs: $ (B) $ (B) Total Estimated amount due to Columbia/or Refunded: +$ (D) +$ (D) Equals how much you will need to finance your Total Costs:** =$ (E) =$ (E) **If you cannot finance these costs with personal resources, you may need to increase the amount of loans you plan to borrow in Step C. Please note that the loan amounts requested cannot exceed the Cost of Attendance Estimated Budget reflected in Section 2 of your Award Letter. If you would like to use personal resources to finance your direct costs you may utilize Columbia s In-School Payment Agreement. For more information please see page 6 of this workbook. S15

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