How can I afford to send my child to Columbia?
We know that choosing the right college involves a variety of factors, and the cost of the institution and how you will finance your student’s education are extremely important considerations. A student should never decide not to apply to Columbia because they think the cost exceeds their family’s ability to pay. Need-based aid makes it possible for everyone to afford a Columbia education.
Columbia reviews each admitted student’s family’s financial circumstances, determines your financial need, and awards aid to meet a family’s full demonstrated financial need. For many families, Columbia can be as affordable, if not more affordable, than a state-college or university education.
We make every effort to help meet students’ financial needs. In our quest to make Columbia affordable for all students, especially those from low-income and middle-income families, the University implemented the following financial aid enhancements for all incoming and continuing students:
- Columbia eliminated loans for all students receiving financial aid packages, whatever their family income, and replaced them with University grants.
- In an effort to further assist low-income families, parents with calculated total incomes below $60,000 (and typical assets) are not expected to contribute any of their income or assets to tuition, room, board and mandatory fees.
- Families with calculated incomes between $60,000 and $100,000 (and typical assets) have a significantly reduced parent contribution.
- To support students pursuing study abroad, research, internships and community service opportunities, Columbia offers the opportunity to apply for additional funding and exemptions from academic year and summer work expectations.
These enhancements build on previous financial aid initiatives and a long standing commitment to make Columbia affordable for all admitted students as illustrated by the following facts:
- Columbia meets 100% of the demonstrated financial need for all students admitted as first years who applied for financial aid, including foreign students, and we continue to meet your 100% of your demonstrated financial need for all four years of study.
- Columbia has the highest proportion of undergraduates receiving federal Pell Grants in the Ivy League and among the nation’s most elite private research institutions.
- About half of Columbia undergraduates receive some sort of financial assistance.
- Last year, Columbia committed over $122 million of its resources for grant aid to undergraduate students.
- In 2007 alumnus John Kluge, CC’37, pledged $400 million to Columbia, all designated for financial aid. This marks the largest pledge ever devoted exclusively to student aid to any single institution of higher education in the United States.
How does the QuestBridge College Match work with Columbia?
The QuestBridge website lists all of Columbia's admissions requirements. Please do not submit a Common or Coalition Application. In addition to the materials submitted as part of your QuestBridge application, we require our Columbia QuestBridge Questionnaire. The Columbia QuestBridge Questionnaire can be accessed via your application status page and is due on November 1, 2019.
Columbia will accept the SAT and ACT scores included as part of your QuestBridge application. Self-reported scores are accepted, though please note that our office will verify scores for all enrolling students, and any discrepancies between official and self-reported scores may jeopardize a student's place in the class. Any new or updated scores may be uploaded through the application status page.
Financial Aid Requirements: All students that rank Columbia through the National College Match must submit the following financial aid information by November 1, 2019:
- 2020-2021 FAFSA. Columbia's FAFSA code is 002707.
- 2020-2021 CSS PROFILE online (including Noncustodial PROFILE, if applicable). Columbia's CSS code is 2116.
- 2018 Tax Returns & W2s
- Parent or Guardian's most recent 2018 pay stubs
These documents should be faxed to (212) 854-5353 ATTN: QUESTBRIDGE as soon as possible and no later than November 1, 2019.
Is the QuestBridge Match Process binding?
Yes, the National College Match at Columbia University is binding.
If I become a QuestBridge Finalist and I am not matched, will Columbia consider my QuestBridge application for admission to Columbia during Regular Decision?
If you have submitted a complete application to Columbia as a QuestBridge Finalist through the National College Match, you will automatically be considered for Regular Decision admission unless you contact Columbia and withdraw your application or are matched with a binding college or university.
If I am not named a finalist in the QuestBridge College Match Program, may I apply to Columbia?
Yes. Students who are not selected as Finalists must submit the Common Application or Coalition Application. Columbia does not accept the QuestBridge application in lieu of these applications. Please note that you may submit the essay you composed for the QuestBridge application for your Common Application or Coalition Application if the content is appropriate for the essay prompts.
If I am not admitted to Columbia through the QuestBridge Match Process, what kind of financial aid will be offered?
All of Columbia’s financial aid is need-based. All financial aid packages, including those of QuestBridge Finalists participating in the Match process, are based on demonstrated need. Our financial aid packages for those in Regular Decision will be determined in the same way as for those students who were selected through the College Match. Columbia meets 100% of the demonstrated financial need for all students admitted as first-years, regardless of citizenship. Loans are not a component of Columbia financial aid packages and we will continue to meet 100% of your demonstrated financial need for all four years of study. For more information please refer to the Columbia/QuestBridge scholarship package description. For more information, please visit the Financial Aid and Educational Financing website.
Why can’t I apply to the Financial Engineering major?
Financial Engineering is a concentration in the Industrial Engineering & Operations Research department that requires an application after at least one semester of study at Columbia. Entrance in this program is very competitive.
Students interested in the Financial Engineering track should consider Operations Research, Engineering Management Systems or Industrial Engineering as fields of study.
How can I take advantage of everything I want to do in New York City on a student budget?
New York City has something for everyone, which is why it is so often rated as one of the best college towns in the nation. It is full of hidden treasures that offer an inexpensive and yet unique array of food, shopping and entertainment. Some of the most creative culinary experiences are intimate restaurants within a few blocks from campus. Websites such as NYC Visit's Go Local operates as a service for New Yorkers to get the most out of their city. There are also a variety of e-mail lists that help students gain free access to opportunities such as going to a major motion picture premiere. There are yearly bargains such as New York Restaurant Week, which gives students an inexpensive taste at some of the finest establishments in the city. Columbia helps students by providing discounted and free tickets to many events around the city through the CU ARTS Initiative.
Should I apply after three years or after four?
You should speak with the liaison at your school, who can advise you on an appropriate course of study and/or other institutional requirements that may determine when you will apply. While most students apply in their third year, you may apply in your fourth year and still be considered for guaranteed admission. Students may apply only up to one year after they have graduated.
Can I seek off-campus housing?
Housing at Columbia offers a wide variety of living opportunities-from corridor style to apartment style living, from residence halls in the middle of the main quad to those on quiet side streets only five minutes walk to the center of campus. The University-wide Office of Off-Campus Housing Assistance supports all affiliates in seeking non-Columbia owned properties.
How is housing selected for upperclassmen?
Students will enter into a lottery system in order to select their future housing; they may choose to group with friends and live in one of Columbia's suites, or they may decide to enter into the lottery alone and live in one of Columbia's many singles. Over 70% of all undergraduate rooms at Columbia are singles.
What housing options are available for first-years?
First-year students have four distinct housing options, all located on the main quad of Columbia within minutes of every academic building and with easy access to Butler Library, Columbia's main library, and Alfred Lerner Hall, the student center. John Jay Hall and Carman Hall are the only first-year exclusive living options. Hartley and Wallach Halls, collectively the Living and Learning Center, house students from all four classes. Furnald Hall houses first-year students and sophomores. New students are placed in one of the four options based on the preferences they submit in their housing applications.
How do I get Dining Dollars and Flex dollars?
Dining dollars and Flex Dollars can be purchased at the beginning of the term when paying the yearly bill and can be added to the account throughout the year.
Does Columbia have fraternities and sororities?
Yes. Approximately 10-15% of undergraduate students are affiliated with fraternities or sororities. Over 25 chapters exist on campus, and many are housed in the brownstones and row houses that line 113th and 114th Streets.
Can Dining Dollars be used off campus?
No, but Columbia students can have a Flex Account, which allows them to make dollar-for-dollar food purchases at a number of off-campus eateries, including Chipotle, the Heights Grill, and Whole Foods Market. Students can also use their Flex Account at all on-campus locations, including the campus bookstore, as well as off-campus drugstores and shops. Please visit the Accepted Flex Locations for a full list of participating businesses.
What kind of meal plans does Columbia offer?
All first-year students are required to be on a meal plan that they will select over the summer before their arrival. In all succeeding years they may choose to continue a meal plan or utilize the various grocery stores and restaurants in the neighborhood. Meal plans at Columbia consist of a varying number of meals at John Jay Dining Hall, Ferris Booth Commons, JJ's Place, or Barnard College's Hewitt Dining Hall, and dining dollars that can be used at any of Columbia's 13 different on-campus dining locations.
Will I get the same financial aid package from Columbia as I received from my affiliate school?
As Columbia awards only need-based financial aid, your aid package may change. Please see the financial aid section on our website for more information.
Will I be able to take non-technical liberal arts electives at Columbia?
Depending on your department and schedule, you may be able to take non-technical elective courses.
Will any courses I’ve taken elsewhere (at non-affiliate institutions and/or study abroad programs) fulfill Columbia's prerequisite courses?
Please speak with the liaison at your school, who should be familiar with your school’s policies. If the course appears on your home institution's transcript and if your liaison approves by noting this in his/her recommendation letter, we will accept credit taken at other institutions as fulfillment of the prerequisite course. Official transcripts from all institutions attended are required. Please note that additional information about your school's credit policies may be required as part of your application.
Will any advanced credits I earned in high school (e.g., AP or IB courses) transfer?
Please speak with your liaison. If the course appears on your home institution’s transcript and if your liaison approves by noting this in the recommendation letter, we will accept credit taken at other institutions. Official transcripts from all institutions attended are required. Please note that additional information on your school’s credit policies may be required as part of your application.
Which classes count towards Columbia’s prerequisite courses?
Please speak with the liaison at your school in order to determine which classes fulfill Columbia pre-engineering and major course requirements. Our Pre-Curriculum Course Descriptions describe the topics covered through our prerequisite courses, which may help you guide you and your school liaison.
When are financial aid forms due for Combined Plan applicants?
Forms should be completed as soon as possible, and no later than March 1, 2019.
What kind of housing do Combined Plan students receive?
Combined Plan students are guaranteed housing in their first year.
While Columbia will do its best to accommodate students’ requests to live on campus after the first year, there is no guarantee that Combined Plan students will be offered a room on campus beyond the first year. Off-Campus Housing Assistance (OCHA) assists Columbia students and affiliates in their search for housing in non-Columbia owned buildings in the metropolitan area. OCHA maintains a website and regular office hours to provide advice, resources and an online database of available housing.
What if a prerequisite class is not offered at my affiliate school?
Please speak with the liaison at your school to determine how the prerequisite class may be taken. Depending on the course, you may be able to take the class at another institution or through independent study.
What courses are used to calculate my GPA?
Your pre-engineering GPA includes all of the science and mathematics prerequisite Foundation Courses and Major-Specific Courses, as listed in our Curriculum Guide. Your overall GPA includes all courses you have completed towards your home institution's degree, up through the spring semester of application.
What assistance is available to help Combined Plan students with their post-Columbia plans?
Combined Plan students have full access to The Center for Career Education, the Office of Preprofessional Advising, and the Office of Fellowships, which provide individual advising, programming and rich resources to help students explore and prepare for internships and jobs, graduate school and fellowship programs. Graduating student survey results demonstrate that Columbia engineering students are equipped to pursue a variety of paths upon graduation.
Are students required to live on campus?
Columbia is first and foremost a residential college; first-year students are required to live on campus. Upper-class students may choose to live off campus if they wish, but nearly all of the student body chooses to reside on campus all four years.
May I be admitted to both Columbia College and Juilliard for the Bachelor of Music program but not be admitted to Juilliard specifically for the Program?
Yes, due to highly selective admissions for the Program, it is possible that applicants may only be admitted to Juilliard's Bachelor of Music degree and not admitted to the Program, regardless of admission status at Columbia.
May I reapply to the Program as a Columbia College student if I was not initially admitted to as an incoming student?
Yes, a small number of current Columbia College students apply (or reapply) to the Columbia-Juilliard Program each academic year and occasionally students are admitted to participate for the following academic year. Once admitted into the Program, Columbia College students may continue each eligible academic year pending performance during annual juries.