Awarding Federal Student Aid

The Office of Financial Aid awards federal student aid (FSA) based on the results of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Once a FAFSA has been processed, the institutions listed on the FAFSA will receive an Institutional Student Information Report (ISIR) usually within 3 to 5 business days of application. Students will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) electronically if an email address was provided usually within 3 to 5 days as well. If an email address was not provided on the FAFSA, the student will receive a paper copy of their SAR in approximately 4 weeks from the date of application.

Once an ISIR is received, it is reviewed by a Financial Aid Specialist and the applicant is sent an email notification indicating the institution has received the application and instructions for providing any additional documentation required. Students are awarded federal student aid up to the Cost of Attendance based on full-time attendance unless indicated otherwise by the applicant on the Estimated Financial Assistance Form required in the awarding process.

Students should monitor their email for important updates from the Office of Financial Aid to prevent a delay in the awarding process. All required documentation must be on file prior to a student receiving federal student aid.

Students will automatically be awarded any Federal Pell Grant funds they are eligible to receive based on the results of the FAFSA. Students interested in receiving Federal Student Loans will also need to complete Entrance Counseling and sign a Master Promissory Note online at www.studentloans.gov.

Once a student is awarded federal student aid, they will be sent an email notification prompting them to log into the myCSU Student Portal to review their award. If a student wishes to decline any portion of the award they may do so by contacting the Office of Financial Aid at financialaid@columbiasouthern.edu.

Admission Status

In order to be eligible to receive federal student aid a student must be a regularly admitted student in an eligible degree program. Students admitted Conditionally may receive federal student aid up to 12 credit hours as an Undergraduate and 6 credit hours as a Graduate student.

Attendance Requirement

CSU is a not required to take attendance, however prior to receiving a FSA disbursement CSU will verify participation (census date) in each registered course at the end of week 1 in the term. The discussion board posting or Unit I assessment must be submitted to verify attendance and all Unit I assignments are due by the end of week one to receive credit. Students who choose not to attend the first week will be institutionally dropped from the course and receive a grade of DN for the course. Students will be awarded based on actual scheduled hours in which attendance was verified. As a result, students choosing to attend half-time may have an adjustment made to their federal student aid award at the end of week 1 in the term.

Enrollment Status

Undergraduate students are considered full-time if enrolled in 6 credit hours in the term and half-time if enrolled in 3 credit hours in the term. Graduate students are considered full-time if enrolled in 3 credit hours in the term.

Academic Year Requirements

CSU defines its academic year for undergraduate students as 24 credit hours of completion and 36 weeks of instruction. CSU defines its academic year for graduate students as 12 credit hours of completion and 36 weeks of instruction. 

Award Adjustments

If a financial aid award has to be adjusted for any reason during the academic year, a student will receive an email notification from the Office of Financial Aid prompting them to log into the myCSU Student Portal to review the revised award. If a student wishes to decline any portion of their revised award they may do so by contacting the Office of Financial Aid at financialaid@columbiasouthern.edu.

Remaining Eligible for Federal Student Aid

In order to continue to receive federal student aid to attend Columbia Southern University, it is important students stay eligible. Students will need to continue to meet the basic eligibility requirements, maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress and fill out the FAFSA each year. The Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy is available at http://www.columbiasouthern.edu/Financial/Office-of-Financial-Aid/Policies-Procedures.
You may reapply for federal student aid each year at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

Professional Judgment

The Office of Financial Aid currently reviews students on a case by case basis if they are experiencing unusual circumstances which may not accurately be reflected on their current financial aid application. This process is known as professional judgment. All requests for a professional judgment must be submitted in writing to the Office of Financial Aid at financialaid@columbiasouthern.edu. All outcomes will be communicated to the student/prospect via email within 14 days of receipt of all applicable supporting documentation.

Military Students Applying for Financial Aid

Military Tuition Assistance (TA) is an education benefit paid to eligible members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard. TA provides funding to students up to $250 per semester hour and up to $4,500 per fiscal year. Students using TA may also apply for FSA. FSA eligibility will be dependent upon the student’s cost of attendance and demonstrated financial need.