Frequently Asked Questions

International and Undocumented Students

How does the admissions committee evaluate transcripts and applications from different countries?

Applications are reviewed by region and members of the admissions office have read and evaluated applications from all over the world and are familiar with a variety of school systems and transcripts. Included with the secondary school report is a "school profile," which includes a description of the school, grading system, curricular and extracurricular resources. If we need more information to make an informed decision or have any questions, we have the option to contact an applicant's school and to do our own research.

Any documents that are part of your application file and not in English, such as transcripts or recommendations, need to be officially translated into English and submitted along with the original documents.

For more information, please visit the International Student Admission page.

Can international families apply for financial aid in future years if they do not apply the first year?

If you are a foreign student who is admitted without institutional financial aid, you cannot be guaranteed institutional financial aid even if there is a change in circumstances. A foreign student whose family experiences a severe and unforeseen change in circumstances may apply for financial aid at any time, and such requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.  

Do I need to hold DACA status to apply to Columbia?

No, students do not need to hold DACA status to apply to Columbia. Columbia admits students without regard to citizenship status and meets 100% of demonstrated need for all first-year and transfer students pursuing their first degrees. For admissions purposes, undocumented students are evaluated in a need-blind manner, which means we evaluate admissions applications without regard to financial need.

As an undocumented student, am I eligible for financial aid?

Yes, Columbia is committed to meeting 100% of the demonstrated financial need of all students admitted as first-years or transfer students pursuing their first degree, regardless of citizenship status.

For admissions purposes, undocumented students are evaluated in a need-blind manner, which means we evaluate admissions applications without regard to financial need.

Undocumented students are not eligible to receive federal and state financial aid, so we meet their need entirely from Columbia funding

What is the international population at Columbia?

Including the entire University, Columbia has the fourth largest number of international students of any college or university in the U.S.

Among the undergraduate students in the latest entering class:

  • Percentage of foreign citizens in the class: 16%
  • Number of countries represented in the class, by citizenship and places of schooling: 74
  • Top countries represented include: China, United Kingdom, South Korea, India, Brazil, Turkey, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan and Greece

Among all undergraduates:

  • Number of countries represented in the entire student body, by citizenship and places of schooling: over 90

For more information on international programs and services, please visit International @ Columbia and the International Students and Scholars website.

Can students who are undocumented apply to Columbia through QuestBridge?

Yes, Columbia considers all interested finalists to the QuestBridge National College Match program, regardless of citizenship status.

Where do students come from?

Students come from all 50 states and over 110 countries. The states sending the greatest number of students are New York, California, New Jersey, Florida and Texas. The highest sending international countries are China, United Kingdom, South Korea, India and Brazil. Visit our Admissions Statistics page for more detail.

What is the percentage of international students on campus?

21% of the undergraduate student body brings an international perspective to campus. For more information on international programs and services, please visit the A Global Community section of our website.

I hold DACA status. What types of financial aid can I receive?

Columbia is committed to meeting 100% of the demonstrated financial need of all students admitted as first-years or transfer students pursuing their first degree, regardless of citizenship status. Undocumented students, regardless of DACA status, are not eligible to receive federal and state financial aid, so we meet their need entirely from Columbia funding.

How does Columbia support international students?

Columbia University is one of the most international institutions of higher education in the United States. In order to best support the myriad international communities in the student bodies of Columbia College and Columbia Engineering, Multicultural Affairs sponsors the office of International @ Columbia.

International @ Columbia is committed to providing a caring and supportive atmosphere for international students through a variety of academic and student life resources. International @ Columbia aims to infuse international perspectives into the support services offered to students, enable individuals to represent their international background with their own story, advocate for the importance of a diverse international population in academic and social life and stimulate conversation about international issues.

As an undocumented student, can I apply to Columbia?

Yes, Columbia admits students without regard to citizenship status and meets 100% of demonstrated need for all first-year and transfer students pursuing their first degrees. For admissions purposes, undocumented students are evaluated in a need-blind manner, which means we evaluate admissions applications without regard to financial need.