Financial Aid

The financial aid process can be daunting but we are here to help guide you through the process.

From completing the FAFSA to learning about available scholarships, grants, loans, and veteran’s benefits our counselors can help you through the process.

Columbia College Office of Financial Aid (FA) Process

Online Student Financial Aid, Independent Students (23 years & older)*

  1. Apply for admission to Columbia College HERE
  2. File the FAFSA at using the Columbia College federal code #003430 for the academic year of enrollment as follows:
    2015-2016 FAFSA for July and after start dates using your 2014 federal tax return information.
  3. AFTER being accepted to Columbia College, a financial aid award is mailed to you based on your academic status and aid eligibility (SEE TABLE A)
  4. Student signs and returns the signed financial aid award letter to the Office of Financial Aid
  5. Student goes to  and completes the following two steps:
    A. Complete Entrance Loan Counseling
    B. Sign the Master Promissory Note

For questions throughout this process, you may contact the Financial Aid office at 803.786.3612 or

*There may be additional steps for dependent students. Your financial aid counselor can assist.  


Academic Status

Subsidized Stafford Loans

0% interest rate while you are enrolled in classes.

Unsubsidized Stafford Loans – Interest  rate of 4.29% (2015-2016) accrues on the loan from the time it is disbursed Maximum Stafford Loans for an independent student enrolled FULL TIME, 15 semester hours in an academic term
1-23 hours freshman $3,500 $6,000 $9,500
24–55 hours  sophomore $4,500 $6,000 $10,500
56- 89 hours junior $5,500 $7,000 $12,500
90+ hours senior $5,500 $7,000 $12,500
PELL GRANT – This grant for undergraduates is based on financial need that is determined by the information filed on the FAFSA and does not have to be repaid. The maximum award for 2015-2016 for a full time student (15 hours per term) is $5,775.


FACTS about Stafford Federal Loans

  1. If you are in default on previous federal financial aid, you are NOT eligible for any federal or state financial aid
  2. You must enroll in at LEAST 9 credit hours per semester to receive Stafford Loans
  3. You are not required to make loan payments while you are enrolled in at least 9 credit hours per semester
  4. If you are currently making a Stafford loan payment, once you are enrolled in Columbia College, you can request to have the loans payment deferred through the Office of the Registrar at 803.786.3672.
  5. There are 2 types of Stafford Loans:
    A. Subsidized Stafford Loans: 0% interest accrues while you are enrolled in classes.
    B. Unsubsidized Stafford Loans –an  interest  rate of 4.29% (2015-2016) accrues on the loan
  6. The amount of loan money you are awarded varies depending on the number of hours enrolled in each term (SEE TABLE B)



$395 per Credit Hour

(Undergraduate Rate)


 Part time:  9 hours   9 hours x $395 = $3,555 per term  Included in cost of tuition
 ¾  time :    12 hours   12 x $395 = $4,740  Included in cost of tuition
 Full time:   15 hours   15 x $395 = $5,925  Included in cost of tuition



$480 per Credit Hour

(Graduate Rate)


Part time: 6 hours Included in cost of tuition
Full time: 9 hours Included in cost of tuition

Other Sources of Financial Assistance

  • Veteran’s benefits – The VA Student Checklist provides you with important information and contact details.
  • Some employers provide tuition reimbursement based on academic performance – check with your Human Resources Department.
  • Students who wish to make payments can do so through our tuition accounts office: 803.786.3616 or