Student Financial Planning for Graduate Engineering

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Primary Deparment Contacts  | Resources  |  Cost of Attendance by Program  |  Student Loans  |  Alternative Loans  |  Scholarships & Grants  |  Columbia Video Network |  FAQ: Graduate Students


The Office of Student Financial Planning is pleased to provide the following financial aid information to Graduate Engineering students in the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. Our office, located in 210 Kent Hall, is the central contact for counseling Master of Science Graduate Engineering students on financial aid.



All MS/PhD Track and all Doctoral Students should continue to work with their departments to discuss department and school based funding. To find your primary department contact, please see tables below:

 Department Administrator Contact Info

Engineering Departments

Administrator Name

Administrator Email

Administrator/Dept. Phone

Applied Physics and Applied MathematicsStella Lau[email protected]212-854-2696 / 212-854-4457
Biomedical Engineering Mindaugas Paunksnis[email protected]212-854-7448 / 212-854-4460
Civil Engineering and Engineering MechanicsGabrielle Werffeli[email protected] 212-854-7980 / 212-854-3143
Chemical EngineeringKathy Marte[email protected]212-854-1558 / 212-854-4453
Computer ScienceRuth Torres[email protected]212-853-8401 / 212-939-7000
Earth and Environmental EngineeringJack Tomaselli[email protected]212-853-8413 / 212-854-2905
Electrical Engineering Muamer Lihic[email protected]212-854-1736 / 212-854-3105
Industrial EngineeringShi Yee Lee[email protected]212-854-1473 / 212-854-2941
Mechanical EngineeringSara McDonald[email protected]212-854-0487 / 212-854-0661
Materials Science and EngineeringStella Lau[email protected]212-854-2696 / 212-854-4457

Students must meet graduate student eligibility requirements for financial aid.



Short Videos: Learn about Key Steps in the Financial Aid Process

Choose one of the following topics to open a short video:



What is iGrad?

Student Financial Services and University Life partnered to provide students at Columbia University access to iGrad; a financial wellness resource that supports developing personal financial well-being. Through its’ web-based financial literacy platform, iGrad provides personalized financial education through a dynamic array of interactive tools and resources, such as video tutorials, live financial wellness webinars, quizzes, articles, and a crowdsourced knowledge base powered by a community of more than 600 colleges and universities nationwide.  Accepted students have unlimited access to this personalized financial education and wellness resource now and after graduation.  We encourage you to engage with this platform as you seek information that supports making well-informed financial decisions.


Find Important Forms:  Find Graduate Engineering forms by visiting our Forms & Documents Library


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Cost of Attendance by Program

The cost of attendance, also known as the "budget" or "COA," represents the student's maximum financial aid eligibility. The budget is determined by the school and consists of tuition and fees plus estimated living expenses.

In determining the budget, the school applies a conservative estimate of living expenses to all students. We recognize, however, that actual living expenses vary from person to person. If the student faces higher actual costs or has extenuating circumstances that warrant a higher cost of attendance, the student may request a budget increase.

2020-2021 Financial Aid Checklist - Graduate Students (PDF)



MS Students (12 Points)*

Academic Calendar2022-2023
Tuition ($2,362 per point/12 points per semester)$56,688
International Student Fee (International Students Only)$270.00
Health Insurance$4,189
Health Service Fee$1,308
Document Fee (1st Semester Charge Only)$105.00
Facilities Fee   $1,108
SEAS Graduate Student Activities Fee $800.00
Books & Supplies


Food and Housing$25,821
Personal Expenses$6,075
Transportation (monthly MetroCard)$1,143
Total Estimated Expenses $100,133



MS Students (12 Points)*

Academic Calendar2022-2023
Tuition ($2,362 per point/12 points per semester)$56,688
International Student Fee (International Students Only)      $270.00      
Health Service Fee$4,189
Document Fee (1st Semester Charge Only)          $105.00         
Facilities Fee       $1,108.00
SEAS Graduate Student Activities Fee  $800.00
Books & Supplies$2,626 
Food and Housing$25,821
Personal Expenses       $6,075.00    
Transportation (monthly MetroCard)          $1,143.00         
Total Estimated Expenses $100,133

Other Fees:

$1,000 Program Fee for M.S. through IEOR Dept. (12+ points)

$500 Program Fee for M.S. through IEOR Dept. (<12 points)

$25 Student Activity Fee, M.S.-PhD track

$150 -$200 Student Activity Fee, M.S. (<12 points)

$300 -$400 Student Activity Fee, M.S. (12+ points)

Ph.D. & CVN students: please check with your department for Residence Unit and other costs.


Types of Aid


Student Loans

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For general information, visit our Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans page.

Aside from the FAFSA, the Office of Student Financial Planning requires the following documents:

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For general information, visit our Federal Direct Graduate Plus Loans page.

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Alternative Loan Programs (Additional Educational Loans)



For general information, visit our Private Loans page. 

Please use the following school code for your private loan application: 002707-20

If you apply for a private student loan, please also submit the 2020-2021 Planned Enrollment form to the Office of Student Financial Planning.

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Scholarships and Grants



Columbia University offers need-based interschool fellowships for students in any Columbia school or college. More information about these awards can be found on Student Financial Services' website.



Graduate Engineering students may choose to search for external funding opportunities outside of Columbia University to support their education and research costs.  Students may visit our Outside Awards page for additional options. 


Graduate students who obtain any type of external funding should report this amount to our office as it may impact loan eligibility.



Institutional aid is administered by academic departments and includes funding from institutional grants, fellowships, teaching and research assistantships, readerships, and preceptorships. All of these types of aid are considered institutional aid and can be awarded individually or in some combination, upon admission or to continuing students, by the academic department.


All prospective students may apply for admission to graduate programs in engineering with institutional aid consideration. There is no separate application for institutional aid.


Yellow Ribbon Program

The Yellow Ribbon Program supplements the base benefits of The Post-9/11 GI Bill® by allowing educational institutions to enter into dollar-for-dollar matching agreements with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Participation in this supplementary program is determined by Columbia’s participating schools on a first-come, first-serve basis and is available only to students who meet the 100% eligibility level for the Post-9/11 GI Bill®. For more information, please visit the Columbia University Veteran Affairs website.


CVN - Columbia Video Network

CVN students are eligible for both federal and private student loans, depending on the student's citizenship status, number of credits taken, and degree status. If you are unsure if your program is a degree program or a certificate program, please reference the CVN website. If you have questions about your loan eligibility, please contact the Office of Student Financial Planning to discuss your options. 


Masters/Ph.D. Degree-Seeking Students

US Citizens and eligible noncitizens who are enrolled in at least 6 credits may apply for Federal Student Loans (Federal Direct Stafford Loan or Federal Graduate PLUS Loan). More information on these loans can be found here and here.

Non-US Citizens or students enrolled in less than 6 credits may secure private educational loans from an outside lender. Columbia University offers a suggested lender list for students to reference during their search. Students do not have to borrow from a lender on this list.


Non-Degree/Certificate Students

CVN students enrolled in a certificate program are not eligible for federal student aid. Students may borrow private educational loans from an outside lender. Columbia University offers a suggested lender list for students to reference during their search. Students do not have to borrow from a lender on this list.

If at any point a student changes their enrollment (either by dropping a class or changing to auditing a class mid-semester), they should notify our office immediately as we may have to adjust loan amounts accordingly.


FAQ: Graduate Students


What if I change the number of credits I am taking?

Loan eligibility is directly tied to the number of credits you are enrolled in each semester. If you add or drop a class after your loans have been processed, our office will make adjustments as appropriate based on your new loan eligibility. Students who drop below half-time will no longer be eligible for federal student loans.

Should I borrow Federal Loans or Private Loans?

Federal loans have a variety of repayment options, low fees and fixed interest rates for the life of the loan. Private loans may have lower interest rates, but these rates are often not fixed, and fees can vary. It is up to each borrower to choose the loan that makes the most sense for their individual needs. We recommend speaking with a Financial Aid Officer if you have questions prior to borrowing.

How much should I borrow?

Students may borrow up to the full cost of attendance in student loans. However, we recommend only borrowing what you need: this may be only to cover billed expenses or it may be to cover both billed and non-billed expenses. If you have questions about your borrowing need, please contact our office to speak with a Financial Aid Officer. Additionally if students receive any type of other funding, please note your loan eligibility will change.

Are there loans for international students?

International students may seek private lenders for available education loans. Some lenders may require a U.S. co-signer. Columbia offers a suggested lender list online, but students may choose a lender not on that list as well.

Where can I see my bill?

Students may view their bill online through their SSOL account.

Can I borrow loans to cover non-billed items like rent, books and personal expenses?

Yes, students may borrow up to the full cost of attendance if you are enrolled at least hafl time (6 credits). This includes both billed and non-billed expenses. All loans will first disburse to the student account. Once all charges are paid, any excess loan funds will be refunded to the student via direct deposit or paper check.

How do I meet with a Financial Aid Officer?

You can contact our office by phone at 212-854-7040, by email at [email protected], or in person at 202 Kent Hall. 

How do I defer my undergraduate loan repayment?

Columbia University will send your enrollment status to the National Student Loan Clearinghouse after the add/drop period each semester. If you have loans from lenders who do not work with this clearinghouse, you may request a certificate of enrollment online through SSOL to submit to your lender.

Are there any other funding opportunities?

Students may be funded by their academic department. Any students who receive these funds are notified at the time of admission. There is no separate application process. Students may also search for available scholarships and fellowships online by using the Global Programs & Fellowship database or by visiting our Outside Awards page for additional options. 

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