Columbia Financial Aid and Educational Financing

Financial Need & Your Eligibility

Home / Parents & Families / Planning Ahead / Financial Need & Your Eligibility

There is no official income cut-off for financial aid eligibility. Since eligibility for need-based financial aid is determined by many factors, including the family’s income, assets, family size and number in college, we encourage you to apply if you are concerned about your ability to pay.

Determining Your Financial Need

We evaluate your family’s ability to pay based on the information you provide us. We use this information to calculate your family contribution. Please refer to the How to Apply pages to learn more about the information we ask for.

Once we determine your family contribution, we are able to determine your eligibility for financial aid by using a simple methodology. Every year, we establish a standard cost of education, which includes tuition, mandatory fees, estimated room and board, and projected books and personal expenses. For 2014-2015, these items total $66,604. The formula for determining how much financial aid you are eligible for is:

Cost of Attendance - Family Contribution = Financial Aid Eligibility

Financial aid awards at Columbia are based on meeting 100% of your demonstrated financial need (except for Combined Plan students.) Columbia is committed to meeting 100% of your demonstrated financial need for all four years of undergraduate study.

We understand that the financial aid process may feel daunting, but we make every effort to take your family’s circumstances into account when determining your family contribution. If you have an unusual circumstance please include a letter of explanation with your application.

For an estimate of the financial aid for which you may qualify, visit our Net Price Calculator.