Understanding financial aid videos

Financial aid helps pay for your college education. Federal aid includes grants, which do not have to be repaid, and loans, which must be repaid with interest. Institutional and private scholarships may also be awarded and do not require repayment.

Applying for financial aid starts with completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. 

Financial aid overview

Need a better understanding of financial aid? Start here. Get an overview of the types of federal financial aid available to students.

Applying for federal aid

Applying for financial aid doesn't have to be overwhelming. Learn how to apply for federal student aid and how the FAFSA process works.


The federal government asks some students who file FAFSA to verify their information. Learn more about the verification process. 


Loans can bridge the gap between grants and scholarships and what you can afford to pay for college. Learn more about federal loans.


Federal grants include Pell Grants, which provide money for your education that does not have to be repaid. Learn more about federal grants. 

Information for parents

Students should complete the FAFSA with information from parents if they are considered dependents. See more information for parents. 


Scholarships provide money for college that does not have to be repaid. Learn more about applying for free scholarships. 

Satisfactory academic progress

Those who receive federal aid must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress, which includes maintaining a certain GPA. Learn more about SAP.


Financial aid puts college within reach

A private education is more affordable than you think. Take the first step by applying to Columbia College.

Apply to Columbia College today
Apply with the Common Application