Affordability & Aid

Having broad representation of perspectives—in our residence halls, our labs and classrooms, and across our campus—is critical to Columbia’s culture. The more voices we hear, the more we learn and the better we understand. So we seek out intellectually curious minds from all walks of life and socioeconomic backgrounds—across the country and around the world—who will contribute to, and profit from the Core Curriculum and the total Columbia experience.

Columbia campus lion statue
students at a classroom table having a discussion

It's your ability that matters, not your ability to pay.

What matters most to us is your ability to thrive at Columbia,not your ability to pay for it. We are committed to making Columbia’s opportunities accessible for all our students. If cost is a concern for your family, we encourage you to apply for financial aid. Learn more about the Types of Aid you may receive in your financial aid award.


$177 million in aid. No loans.

Columbia typically awards over $177 million in scholarships and grants. In fact, we offer some of the most generous financial aid of any college in the United States, and students are often surprised by how much they receive. In many instances, Columbia is actually more affordable than public colleges and universities.

Financial aid packages consist of work study, as well as grants, which are need-based scholarships that do not have to be paid back. There are no loans included in your financial aid package, and you can graduate debt-free.

Estimate your net cost


students sitting outside in front of Low
Student dorm room bed with photos on the wall

Need-Blind admissions

We are need-blind for US citizens, eligible non-citizens and undocumented students, which means you are considered for admission without regard for your ability to pay for your education. Foreign citizens applying for aid are reviewed in a more need-aware process, but many of our foreign citizens receive significant financial aid.

Explore cost & aid



of Columbia undergraduates receive financial aid



of Columbia students are the first generation in their families to go to college



average total grants and scholarships in a Columbia financial aid package



students to date have participated in our Funding Programs or Work Exemption Program

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100% of need covered. $0 parent contribution.

If you’re a first-year student or a transfer student pursuing your first degree, Columbia covers 100 percent of your demonstrated need for all four years that you are here.

If your family’s annual income is $60,000 a year or less, your parents are not expected to contribute to the cost of attendance. Almost 40 percent of financial aid recipients have a parent contribution under $5,000.


Leveraging Columbia's free Passport to Museums program has quite literally opened doors to several museums I never knew I could visit.

Danvers, MA
Mechanical Engineering and Energy Systems
people under trees on College Walk in daytime
students outside looking happy

Affordability that doesn’t end with your aid letter.

Cost shouldn't be a barrier to making the most of Columbia's opportunities—on campus, in New York or around the globe. From your residence hall to the Center for Career Education, there are resources on campus to allow you to take advantage of everything Columbia has to offer. 

  • 95% of students have at least 1 internship during their time at Columbia
  • Free laundry in Columbia residence halls
  • The Work Exemption Program offers students a grant to support their pursuit of unpaid or low-paid internships, research projects and community outreach
  • There are hundreds of work opportunities available on campus—you could be a research assistant, assist with web development for the university, support an athletics team on game day and much more! 
  • Free entry to 30+ museums with the Arts Initiative, just one of the ways Columbia opens doors to New York

Over 200 study abroad programs—and your financial aid travels with you during the academic year