Completing the FAFSA

Students applying for or receiving financial aid must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for every year they expect to receive federal aid. 

Contact your school for preferred deadline dates.

  • A FAFSA can be completed online at the Federal Student Aid website.
  • To complete your FAFSA, you will need Columbia University's School Code: 002707
  • To request a paper copy, call the U.S. Department of Education at 800-4FED-AID.


To determine whether you are considered “dependent” or “independent,” please see this dependency fact sheet from the Department of Education.


If you opt out or are ineligible, you may need to submit to the University a federal tax return transcript. There are three methods for obtaining a federal tax return transcript:

  1. Online request with the IRS
    • On the main page under Tools, Click “Order a Tax Return or Account Transcript”
    • Click “Tax Return Transcript” in Section 1
    • Click “Order a Transcript”
    • Provide the tax filer’s SSN, DOB, Street Address, and Zip Code (these must exactly match the data provided on your tax return).
    • Click “Continue”
    • In the “Type of Transcript” field, select “Return Transcript” and appropriate year requested in the “Tax Year” field.
    • If successfully linked, tax filers can expect a paper IRS Tax Return Transcript to be mailed to the specified address within 5‐10 days.
  2. Telephone request
    • Automated attendant – 1‐800‐908‐9946
    • Live person – 1‐800‐829‐1040 – (Hold times vary and can be significant.) You may be able to request that the transcript be faxed to you rather than be mailed.
  3. Paper Request – IRS Form 4506T – must be used if you have moved since filing your taxes