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
New Financial Aid Enhancements

On March 30, 2023, Columbia University announced that first-year students at Columbia College and Columbia Engineering who come from families with incomes below $66,000 (and with typical assets) will have their first-year summer earnings contribution requirement waived to ease the financial burden of transition to undergraduate study. This is in addition to the $2,000 start-up grant program in place for these students.



Start-up grant to ease the transition to college for first-year students from low-income families


Free tuition

for students coming from families with annual incomes of less than $150,000 (and typical assets)



expected parent contribution for students coming from families with annual incomes of less than $66,000 (and typical assets)


No loans

Loans are not used to meet financial need or included in initial financial aid awards

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.


Free tuition. $215 million in aid. No loans.

If your family’s annual income is less than $150,000 (with typical assets), you will be able to attend Columbia tuition-free.

Columbia typically awards over $200 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

biking in city in front of a skyline
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 first-year students receive financial aid



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



average financial aid grants and scholarships for first-year students



students have participated in internship funding programs or the Work Exemption Program

students sitting outside in front of Low

100% of need covered. $0 parent contribution. Start-up grants.

Columbia covers 100% of your demonstrated need for all four years that you are here.

If your family’s annual income is less than $66,000 a year (and typical assets), your parents are not expected to contribute to the cost of attendance. And incoming first-year students from low-income families will receive a start-up grant to ease their transition to college.


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
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 more than 2 dozen museums with the Arts Initiative, just one of the ways Columbia opens doors to New York
  • Over 150 study abroad programs—and your financial aid travels with you during the academic year