Financial Aid Disbursement Policy


Columbia College has the following Financial Aid Disbursement Policy to deliver eligible financial aid in the timeliest manner possible in compliance with federal, state, and college regulations.


This policy applies to all students at Columbia College receiving financial aid.


A student’s financial aid (except Federal Work-Study) is credited directly to his/her student account and applied to tuition and fees for each semester/session. For Main Campus students, financial aid is also applied to housing costs each semester. Aid funds are credited for other charges with authorization from the student through the electronic award notification process. Federal Work-Study funds are paid in the form of a biweekly paycheck. Funds are paid for authorized hours worked.

The initial financial aid award is evenly distributed between two 16-week periods or semesters. This distribution is based on the assumption that the recipient is attending courses starting in August and continuing through May. If a student does not attend full-time or does not enroll in one of these semesters, then the remaining aid will be available for the summer sessions.

When a student registers for courses, he/she may deduct the amount of aid that has been awarded (except Federal Work-Study) from what is owed to the College. If a student’s financial aid awards exceed his/her charges, the student will receive a refund. Estimated refund dates are posted on the Enrollment Refunds webpage. Refunds are either mailed to the student at his/her home address or sent electronically to the student’s bank account (for students who elect the direct deposit option through their ePayment account.) A main campus student may use excess financial aid prior to the start of a term to purchase books by using a book voucher. If you are eligible for a book voucher contact the Center for Student Success to obtain information.

To assist with expenses associated with attending Columbia College, students often receive funds from multiple sources that are to be used specifically (exclusively) for tuition. Funding beyond 100 percent of the tuition cost will not be returned to the student or applied to other expenses. These sources include, but are not limited to military/corporate tuition assistance, VA Educational Benefits, MyCAA, institutional aid, endowed aid and Employee Educational Grant (EGG)/ Employee Graduate Educational Grant (GEG). The College will apply the non-institutional tuition-only funding sources first. Any excess funds remaining, after 100 percent of the tuition is paid, will be returned to the funding source and not the student.

For students only enrolled in a TIV eligible certificate program, non-term rules will apply. Direct loans are evenly distributed between two payment periods. The first disbursement will occur when attendance has been confirmed, typically during the third week of class. The second and final disbursement will happen when the student has successfully completed half the number of credits and half the number of weeks of instructional time in the program. The Pell Grant will disburse for a payment period after attendance has been confirmed.

Financial Aid Contact Information

If you have any questions about the College's financial aid program, call the Center for Student Success for assistance at (573) 875-7252.

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