Columbia Financial Aid and Educational Financing

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Congratulations on your admission to Columbia University! We know you may have many questions about financing your educational expenses. Our staff is dedicated to partnering with you in planning how best to finance your education, and we look forward to working with you. We encourage you to explore some important information regarding financial aid at Columbia on the website pages below. Please contact us with any questions you may have.

Check your Financial Aid Application Status
Log in with your Columbia Student ID to view important details and instructions regarding your financial aid eligibility.
Types of Aid
Understand the various types of aid that may be part of the financial aid award.
On-Campus Jobs
Learn more about Federal Work-Study and Student Employment.
Outside Scholarships
Learn about how scholarships from outside organizations may impact your aid.
Plan for your E-Bill
Families are encouraged to explore financing options: both short-term (10-Month Payment Plan) and long-term options (Student Loans, Parent Loans) are available.
Application Instructions
Review the timeline to finalize your financial aid application.

If you have any questions about your financial aid eligibility or would like to discuss financing options with a Financial Aid Officer, please contact our office.

Welcome From a Current Columbia Student

Related FAQs

What is the Net Cost?

The net cost is the amount your family should expect to pay towards your billed and non-billed education expenses for the academic year. It is the combination of the Student Responsibility and the Parent Contribution.

What is the Student Responsibility?

All financial aid recepients are expected to contribute towards the Student Reponsibility, which consists of the Student Contribution and Student Employment.  

All incoming First-Year students have a minimum Student Contribution of $2,400 as part of their financial aid award; a contribution from student assets may be included.  The expectation is that the student will earn this amount in the summer preceding their first academic year. We do not mandate, however, that students work during the summer. Students and their families may cover this amount with outside scholarships, savings, parental assistance, and/or other financing options if they choose to.

Student Employment is also part of the financial aid award.  Students earn this amount during the Fall and Spring semesters.  This amount typically goes towards non-billed expenses, such as books/supplies and other personal expenses.  This expectation is also not required, and may be covered by outside scholarships, savings, parental assistance, and/or other financing options.

In future years, students who obtain unpaid summer or semester internships may apply for additional grant to cover these expectations through the Work Exemption Program.


Will my financial aid eligibility be the same all four years?

Students and families are asked to submit a financial aid application in each year the student attends. In general, if the family’s income and asset levels remain steady, the Parent Contribution (PC) will as well. Some common causes for change in future financial aid awards include:

  • Change in the number of students in the household enrolled in an undergraduate program
  • Changes to household income or assets
Does Columbia match financial aid packages from other schools?

If the student receives a need-based offer with a different interpretation of the family’s financial circumstances, please fax us a copy of the offer, along with any additional pertinent information. Our office will review your request for reconsideration to determine if a change is appropriate.  Please note that we will not review any merit-based awards.

Are there student/parent loans available?

Some students and families choose to finance a portion of their Parent Contribution (PC) or Student Contribution (SC) with educational loans. Information on different financing options is available on the Education Loans portion of our website.