Columbia Financial Aid and Educational Financing

How Aid Works

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Our mission is to help all students admitted to Columbia College and The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, regardless of individual financial circumstances, achieve their goal of pursuing a world class education at Columbia University.  We are here to assist you with your plan to pay for college.

Our expert staff of advisors can help your family with the financial aid application process, developing a student budget, and creating a financing plan for your time at Columbia.

Our Approach

  • Need-Based

    Financial aid at Columbia is need-based; there are no academic, athletic or talent-based institutional scholarships. Instead, we evaluate your family’s ability to pay based on the information you provide us in your financial aid application. We conduct a thorough financial analysis for each student every academic year in order to determine financial aid eligibility.  

  • Need-Blind

    Admission to Columbia is need-blind for US Citizens and Eligible Noncitizens, meaning the Office of Undergraduate Admissions considers your application without regard to your financial need. International applicants, please see International Financial Aid information.

  • Full Need

    Columbia meets 100% of the demonstrated financial need for all students admitted as first-years and transfers pursuing their first degree. And we continue to meet 100% of your demonstrated financial need for all four years of study. For an estimate of the need-based financial aid for which you may qualify, visit our Net Price Calculator. Combined Plan applicants, please see Combined Plan information.

Our Program

  • No Loans

    Our need-based aid is in the form of grants and student work only.  Loans are not used to meet financial need or included in initial financial aid awards.

  • $0 Parent Contribution for Total Incomes under $60,000

    For students coming from families with calculated total incomes of less than $60,000 annually (and typical assets), parents are not expected to contribute to the cost of attendance.

  • Broad Aid Eligibility

    Our financial aid analysis considers many factors in determining eligibility; there are no income or asset cutoffs. For those students coming from families with calculated total incomes between $60,000 and $100,000 annually (and typical assets), Columbia offers a reduced parent contribution. Families earning upwards of $100,000 can also qualify for need-based financial aid from Columbia.

  • Additional Funding Opportunities

    Columbia offers enhanced financial aid to support students studying abroad during the academic year.  We also offer additional funding to allow students to pursue unpaid research, internship, and community service opportunities.

  • International Aid

    While Columbia is need-aware for international students, Columbia admits a large number of international students who apply for and receive a substantial amount of financial aid. Columbia meets 100% of the demonstrated financial need for international students admitted as first-years and transfers pursuing their first degree. International applicants must apply for and demonstrate financial need at the time of admission. 

  • Guidance for All

    We offer all enrolled students and their families one-on-one guidance about the financial aid application process, student and parent loans, payment options, budgeting and more.


Calculated Incomes: A family’s calculated total income includes taxed income, and any untaxed income (i.e., tax-deferred pension contributions, flexible spending account contributions, social security benefits, child support received, and tax exempt interest). In cases of divorced or separated families, both parents’ incomes are considered to determine the total family income.

Typical Assets: Parents’ assets include cash, savings, investments, home equity, other real estate equity, and business equity. Retirement assets are excluded from the financial aid analysis. For families with total calculated income up to $100,000, we consider typical assets are those up to approximately $250,000.