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Applying for Financial Aid

Step 1: Admissions application

Complete an application for admission to the college and submit it with an application fee to the Admissions Office. (Applies to first-time students only.)

Step 2: Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is accepted after January 1 of the year students plan to attend college. (i.e. FAFSA is available Jan 1, 2016 for those applying for the 2016-2017 academic year, which begins August 2016).


On the FAFSA, include the Columbia College school code: 002456.

If you complete a FAFSA application between January and June, there will be two FAFSA applications available for two different academic years. Be sure to complete the FAFSA application for the timeframe(s) you plan to attend.

Columbia College's priority deadline for the 2016-2017 FAFSA is March 1, 2016.

The application deadline to submit the 2016-2017 FAFSA in order to be considered for Missouri state aid is April 1, 2016.

Step 3: Check the status of your financial aid

Activate your CougarTrack account and monitor your CougarMail on a regular basis. The Financial Aid Office will use your Columbia College e-mail address as a primary communication method to inform you about the status of your financial aid application, upcoming deadlines and important dates.

Correspondence sent through e-mail will not be sent via postal mail.

"My Documents" via CougarTrack, will display which documents have been received and which documents are missing or incomplete. It may take up to 1 or 2 business days for a submitted document to be marked 'received'.

Step 4: Applying for student loans online

Student loan borrowers must complete three items in addition to their FAFSA to be eligible for student loans:

  1. Entrance Counseling 
  2. Master Promissory Note
  3. Accept/decline/modify loans with the Electronic Award Letter, available through CougarTrack.

Students must reapply each year for financial aid. See important dates for application deadlines.



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