International Financial Aid

A Columbia education is possible for students from all socioeconomic backgrounds, including international students. Columbia is committed to meeting 100% of the demonstrated need of all admitted first-year students, regardless of citizenship. International students apply for and receive a substantial amount of financial aid every year, with international financial aid totaling over $17 million for the Class of 2025.

International Admissions and Financial Aid

The Columbia admissions process is largely the same for all students, regardless of citizenship and residency, but international students are evaluated in a need-aware manner. For financial aid purposes, students who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States, do not have refugee visas or asylum status, and are not undocumented or DACA recipients are considered international. This means that the admissions committee considers how much financial aid a student requires when evaluating an application. All financial aid at Columbia is need-based, and there are no merit scholarships awarded for academics, athletics or other talents.

fact:

$177 million

awarded in financial aid grants

fact:

$17 million

awarded in international financial aid

fact:

$62,850

average total grants and scholarships in a Columbia financial aid package

fact:

4th

largest international student population of any U.S. university

Need-Based Financial Aid

For admitted international students, Columbia will meet 100% of a family's demonstrated need, based on the information provided in the financial aid application. The average award for international financial aid recipients is $66,350, usually encompassing a Columbia grant, which does not have to be repaid, and a student work-study job. Columbia does not include loans in financial aid packages, and as international students are not eligible for federal student aid, Columbia will meet all international financial aid with institutional resources.

International applicants must indicate their plan to apply for financial aid when submitting their admission application. If admitted without requesting financial aid, international students may not change their status to apply for aid, even if their financial circumstances change. International financial aid cannot be awarded in subsequent years if not awarded at the time of admission. 

Is there a different application for international students?

Columbia’s admissions application process is largely the same for all students regardless of their citizenship or country of residence. Please see our Application Instructions for more information on procedures and requirements, and What Does Columbia Look For for more information about how our office reviews applications and distinguishes candidates.

Please visit the International Student Admissions webpage for more information.

I'm a U.S. citizen studying in a country outside the U.S. Am I considered an international applicant?

Applicants are considered within both the context of their secondary school and the context of their personal experiences, including where they have lived and their cultural background. The admissions committee recognizes that regardless of citizenship, living and/or attending school in a country outside the U.S. provides a student with the opportunity for an international experience. Applicants are not simply placed into international vs. non-international categories based on citizenship or place of schooling.

Are international students allowed to apply Early Decision?

Yes. However, even very competitive foreign candidates who are applying for financial aid and fall out of the “need-blind” category may be deferred to Regular Decision so the Admissions Committee can review the entire global applicant pool.

International Financial Aid Resources

Many Columbia students, including international students, receive financial awards from outside organizations, including merit-based scholarships and tuition benefits through employers, government agencies and other sources. Common search engines for international scholarships include International Education Financial Aid and EduPass.

Columbia's Financial Aid and Educational Financing is ready to assist families through the financial aid process, which looks different for everyone. Please visit the Financial Aid website for further information and resources. The Financial Aid staff is also available at +1-212-854-3711 and ugrad-finaid@columbia.edu for questions not answered by the website.

For more specific guidance and broader information about studying in the United States, please contact your local EducationUSA office, supported by the US Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.