International Student Financial Aid

We believe cost should not be a barrier to pursuing one’s educational dreams, and a Columbia education is possible for students from families of all sorts of socioeconomic backgrounds. Columbia admits a large number of international students who apply for and receive a substantial amount of financial aid. We guarantee to meet 100% of all admitted first-year students' demonstrated financial need for all four years, regardless of citizenship. 

Admissions and Financial Aid

Columbia’s admissions application process is largely the same for all students regardless of their citizenship or country of residence. For more details, please visit the International Student Admissions webpage.

For admissions and financial aid purposes, students who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States and who do not have refugee visas or asylum status are considered international and their applications are evaluated in a need-aware manner. This means that the admissions committee takes into consideration how much financial aid a student requires when rendering an admissions decision. Undocumented students, including DACA recipients, are evaluated through a need-blind process and are encouraged to visit our Undocumented Students webpage for more details.

To be considered for financial aid, international applicants must indicate their intention to apply for financial aid at the time of their admission application. International students who were admitted with no request for Columbia financial aid may not subsequently change their status to apply for aid, even if their family financial circumstances change. If financial aid is not awarded to an international student at the time of admission, it will not be awarded for any subsequent years.

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.

Cost of Attendance

For the academic year 2020-2021, the breakdown of educational costs is as follows:

Tuition and Fees: $61,671

Room and Board: $15,130

Books and Personal Expenses (not billed by Columbia): $3,538

Estimated total cost of attendance: $80,339

First-year students are additionally assessed one-time orientation and transcript fees of $470. The purchase of medical insurance is also required for all students who do not have comparable coverage.

Types of Aid Available

The average award for international students who apply for and receive financial aid is $66,350. A financial aid package typically includes a Columbia grant, which does not have to be repaid, as well as a student term-time job. Loans are not part of Columbia’s financial aid packages. International/non-domestic students are not eligible for federal financial aid, so we meet financial need with institutional resources. 

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

Contact Us

We understand that navigating the financial aid process is different for each family, and Columbia’s Financial Aid and Educational Financing is ready to assist you along the way. If, after exploring the Financial Aid website, you have questions or need additional assistance, please call us at +1-212-854-3711 or email so that one of our staff members can help you.

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.