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Office hours:

Monday - Thursday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Phone: (573) 875-7504
Toll-free: (800) 231-2391, ext. 7504
Fax: (573) 876-4455


Main Campus address:
1001 Rogers St.,
Columbia, MO 65216 U.S.A.

Net Cost Q&A

The VA defines net cost as the remaining tuition balance after tuition waiver or reduction, scholarships, federal or state aid, employer-based aid (excluding loans and Title IV) and applicable fees are applied to the remaining tuition balance. Columbia College is required to certify the net cost when reporting tuition and any applicable fees for Chapter 33.

What is net cost?

Net cost is defined by the VA as the remaining tuition balance after the application of any waiver of, or reduction in, tuition and fees; any scholarship, or other Federal, State, institutional, or employer-based aid or assistance (excluding loans and Title IV aid) that is provided directly to the institution and specifically designated for the sole purpose of defraying tuition and fees. 

“Title IV aid” refers to: Unsubsidized Federal Stafford loans, Subsidized Federal Stafford loans, Federal Perkins loans, Federal PLUS (Parent) loans, Federal Pell Grants, and Federal SEOG (Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant).

In order for the net cost to be known, all forms of tuition-only funding or financial aid must be applied to a student’s account. These funds are typically applied to student accounts after the week of add/drop.

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I receive Ch 33 benefits. How will the certification of the net cost affect me?

Initially your enrollment will be certified with the VA for only the term dates and number of applicable credit hours. After the week of add/drop your certification will be amended and your total net cost for tuition and fees will be reported to the VA.

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If my net cost is reported to the VA after the week of add/drop when will the VA issue a tuition and fees payment to the college?

The VA processes claims in the order received and processing time does vary. You may notice that your tuition payment is issued to the college later than in past terms. This is because tuition and fees (when applicable) will not be reported to the VA until the net cost is known.

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Will this change affect my housing allowance or book stipend payment?

Reporting the term dates and credit hours first and the tuition and fees second will allow the VA to issue the book stipend and housing allowance to eligible individuals with minimal impact to the VA’s normal processing time.

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I receive Title IV funds in addition to Ch 33 benefits. When will I receive a refund of my Title IV funds?

Typically financial aid refunds are processed during the third week of class. However, in order for your total expected refund to be issued, a Ch 33 payment from the VA must be applied to your account. Reporting the net cost to the VA after the week of add/drop may delay Ch 33 payments from the VA. This may cause a delay in issuing your total financial aid refund. Students expecting a refund of Title IV funds should plan accordingly.

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I receive a tuition-only scholarship which will cover my tuition and fees (if applicable). May I still request Ch 33 certification?

If you receive an institutional or private scholarship which covers all of your tuition and fee charges, no tuition or fee amount will be reported to the VA. If you are eligible for the housing allowance or book stipend, you may request certification to receive these payments.

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