Cost & Aid

The cost of a Columbia education will vary depending on your particular circumstances, and we encourage you to use our cost estimator tools to plan for your educational expenses with the most accurate information available to you. Still, it’s helpful to have some baseline facts and figures to start with as a frame of reference. Below, you’ll find the average total cost of attendance for academic year 2020-2021, as well as insights on scholarships and grants the University provides to make sure that Columbia truly is affordable for everyone.


I come from a first-generation, low-income, single-parent household, so finding a school that was able to support me and my family was really important. Columbia offers so many great opportunities and resources, but support is phenomenal as well. I truly feel that all of the faculty staff want to see students succeed, and will do what they can to help make this possible.

Los Angles, CA
Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Earth and Environmental Engineering

Grants & aid

  • Columbia awards more than $177 million annually in scholarships and grants from all sources.
  • 50% of Columbia students receive grants from Columbia and the average amount awarded is $68,250.
  • 19% of Columbia’s incoming undergraduates receive the Pell Grant, a Federal Grant reserved for the students with the highest need in the country.
  • John Kluge’s gift of $400 million for Columbia’s financial aid programs is one of the single largest gifts made to any university financial aid program.
  • Students are expected to borrow $0 to attend Columbia. 

In Financial Aid and Educational Financing, our primary goal is to work with you and your family in developing a plan to pay for your education. We are here to help you understand the costs and explore your financing options, and we will be here to assist you throughout your entire time at Columbia. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of any assistance in your planning. We understand that financing your education can be among the most daunting parts of the college journey. But with dedicated staff and one of the most generous financial aid programs in the country, we want to assure you that we’re here to help—and that cost should never be a barrier to attending Columbia. 


I worked as a Teaching Fellow with Breakthrough Houston and the Center for Career Education's Summer Funding Program's support for living and personal expenses helped make it such a memorable experience.

Houston, TX
Theatre and Education Studies

Cost of attendance

  • Tuition and fees: $63,530
  • Room and board: $15,450
  • Books and personal: $3,605
  • Total cost of attendance: $82,585

These figures are the basis for determining financial aid eligibility, although individual student expenses may vary.

The Room and Board figure represents a first-year student living on campus for the full year. Room and Board for non-first year students is based on the standard room charge and Meal Plan B. Students not living on campus will instead have a $4,000 per semester off-campus living allowance to help with living and technology expenses.

First-year and incoming transfer/combined plan students are also charged one-time transcript and orientation fees totaling $470.

Visit Student Financial Services for more details on cost of attendance.