FAQs

If you have come to this page, it's because you have questions that haven't been answered on other parts of our website. Find the answers to some of our most commonly asked questions, whether you want to know more about how Columbia students take advantage of the arts in New York City, what campus dining is like or which application type is right for you. If you are interested in receiving more information about Columbia, we invite you to join our email list.

Photo of the sunset over Manhattan. This photo is taken from high above the city and from uptown. You can see the Freedom Tower, as well as Brooklyn, Queens & New Jersey in the distance.
Displaying 151 - 200 of 218 questions

Financial Aid

Can I be released from my Early Decision contract because of my financial aid package?

It is extremely rare for a family to ask to be released from the Early Decision commitment for financial reasons. If a family determines after discussion with Financial Aid & Educational Financing that they cannot afford to finance a Columbia education, the admitted candidate can be released from the Early Decision agreement. The family must speak with a financial aid officer before the release is granted. Ultimately, it is the family's decision whether or not they feel capable of accepting the need-based Columbia financial aid award.

Those who do opt out of their Early Decision contract are released to pursue other colleges and universities; the admission offer at Columbia University is then cancelled. A candidate who declines Columbia's Early Decision offer will not be allowed to reconsider Columbia's financial aid estimate in the spring Regular Decision cycle and will not be able to reinstate the original offer of admission.

What is the process for being selected through the Higher Education Opportunity Program or the National Opportunity Program?

The Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) was established by the New York State Legislature in 1969 to assist eligible residents in obtaining higher education at New York private institutions. The National Opportunity Program was created by Columbia in 1986 to provide the same kind of academic and financial support to students from all over the United States. Selection for the HEOP/NOP programs at Columbia involves meeting both academic and economic guidelines.

There are no additional application forms for HEOP/NOP; all eligible applicants to Columbia will be considered for these programs, but applicants may be contacted for an interview.

In order to be eligible for HEOP, applicants must:

  • Reside in New York State and be high school graduates.
  • Demonstrate (through academic records) a need for HEOP support services.
  • Meet economic eligibility criteria set by the New York State Education Department.

Economic documentation for HEOP/NOP

HEOP Economic Eligibility: Household income can be at or below the amounts listed for the number of family members, with the exception of the "single head of household" instruction.

Size of Household

Amount

1 household member

$21,590

2 household members

$29,101

3 household members

$36,612

4 household members

$44,123

5 household members

$51,634

6 household members

$59,145

7 household members

$66,656 plus $7,511 for each additional family member thereafter

The primary criterion for admission to NOP is academic; there is no residency requirement and Columbia may select applicants for admission to NOP whose income levels exceed the HEOP criteria.

Although many of our NOP students demonstrate significant financial need, Columbia financial aid is determined on a case by case basis and we meet the full demonstrated financial need of all applicants admitted as first-year students. There are no academic, athletic or talent-based institutional scholarships at Columbia as all of our institutional financial aid is need-based.

Students can estimate their eligibility for need-based financial aid by using the Net Price Calculator.

Please contact the Academic Success Program at 212-854-3514 or asp@columbia.edu with further questions or concerns.

 

Will my financial aid package be any different if I apply for admission under the Early Decision Program?

No. Some families may think that their chances for financial aid might be worse when applying early, or that they should not ask for financial aid in the Early Decision process. Please be reassured that both Early and Regular Decision processes are need-blind and that financial aid packages are not any more or less comprehensive in the Early Decision process. Columbia College and The Fu Foundation of Engineering and Applied Science award need-based financial aid to all admitted first-year students.

We know Early Decision candidates have made Columbia their first choice, and we make every effort to help these families finance a Columbia education. If, after receiving the estimated Early Decision financial aid offer, an admitted student's family has concerns about meeting the expected family contribution, we encourage the family to contact Financial Aid & Educational Financing and speak with one of our counselors.

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 and Undocumented Students

As an undocumented student, can I apply to Columbia?

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

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

Columbia is committed to covering 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 cover their need entirely from Columbia funding.

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

If you are an international student who is admitted without institutional financial aid, you cannot be guaranteed institutional financial aid even if there is a change in your family’s circumstances. Specifically, international students who are admitted with no request for Columbia financial aid may not change their status to apply for aid at any time during their four years at Columbia. An international 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. 

Juilliard

Is there an additional fee for Columbia College students participating in the Columbia-Juilliard Program?

The Columbia-Juilliard Program tuition for the academic year 2021-2022 is $8,250. Financial aid is available to cover the additional tuition expenses for Program participants based on demonstrated need and consistent with Columbia policies.

 

May I apply to both the Columbia-Juilliard Program and Juilliard's Bachelor of Music program?

Yes, candidates will need to check the appropriate boxes when applying to Juilliard. However, successful Early Decision candidates must withdraw their Bachelor of Music candidacy to Juilliard, although they may keep their candidacy open for the Program.

How do I obtain an application for Juilliard?

Please obtain an application and audition information from Juilliard's Office of Admission and submit the Juilliard application directly to Juilliard.

Do Columbia-Juilliard Program participants receive a degree from Juilliard?

No, the Program is a cross-registration program that does not lead to an additional degree. The lessons are for credit at Columbia College. However, Program participants may choose to continue with the Joint Program, which offers the opportunity to earn both a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia College and Master's of Music from Juilliard.

Who may I contact with additional questions about applying to the Columbia-Juilliard Program?

Prospective students with questions beyond those addressed on this webpage may reach out to Maria Gracia Asayag in Undergraduate Admissions, mga2138@columbia.edu. For questions about The Juilliard School, please contact their office directly at admissions@juilliard.edu.

When will I hear from Juilliard?

Columbia notifies all candidates by mid-December for Early Decision or mid-April for Regular Decision. Juilliard notifies all Program candidates regarding admission specifically to the Program by mid-April. Candidates may hear sooner from Juilliard regarding pre-screening results and live audition dates.

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.

May I apply Early Decision if I am interested in the Columbia-Juilliard Program?

Yes, first-year candidates admitted to Columbia College under Early Decision may keep their candidacy open for the Program. However, successful Early Decision candidates must withdraw their Bachelor of Music candidacy to Juilliard along with candidacy to all other institutions as part of the Early Decision binding agreement.

QuestBridge

Are QuestBridge students eligible for interviews?

Interviews are not part of the QuestBridge College Match Process. If you are pursuing admission under the Regular Decision program at Columbia, you can review the full interview policy here.

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 cover 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.

 

May I use the same essay I submitted to QuestBridge for the Common Application or Coalition Application?

QuestBridge Finalists should not submit any additional applications besides their QuestBridge Application. If you are applying through Regular Decision and would prefer to have your Common or Coalition Application be evaluated, please contact us at questbridge@columbia.edu.

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.

I have sent recommendation letters and a secondary school report through the QuestBridge application; do I need to re-submit these forms if I am applying to Columbia?

No. We will accept the materials sent through your QuestBridge Application for our process. However, all school materials must be uploaded by a school official. If you submitted your own transcript to QuestBridge, we cannot accept that submission and request that you have a school official send a copy of your transcript to ugrad-confirm@columbia.edu with your name, high school and date of birth.

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.

Is the QuestBridge Match Process binding?

Yes, the National College Match at Columbia University is binding.

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, 2020.

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, 2020:

  • 2021-2022 FAFSA. Columbia's FAFSA code is 002707.
  • 2021-2022 CSS PROFILE online (including Noncustodial PROFILE, if applicable). Columbia's CSS code is 2116.
  • 2019 Tax Returns & W2s
  • Parent or Guardian's most recent 2019 pay stubs

These documents should be faxed to (212) 854-5353 ATTN: QUESTBRIDGE as soon as possible and no later than November 1, 2020.

 

Do you offer a fly-in program or travel funding for prospective QuestBridge participants or scholars?

We do not have fly-in programs for prospective applicants or QuestBridge scholars. You are always welcome to visit our campus for a campus tour or information session as well as any open houses or events we host on or off campus throughout the year. You can find more information on the Visit section of our website.

I am not a US Citizen or Permanent Resident. Can I apply for the QuestBridge National College Match with Columbia?

Yes, Columbia will consider students who are not US Citizens or Permanent Residents for the QuestBridge National College Match. 

Non-citizens and international students are an integral part of the university and Columbia is deeply committed to enrolling a student body that includes students from around the world. We do not have a separate application or process for international students. Please refer to our website for more information.

 

Can I track my QuestBridge application online?

Please use your application status page to make sure your admissions application is complete. In order to access your status page, you will first need to select "Reset Password" and follow the instructions from there. Instructions for tracking your financial aid information will be emailed to you after you have submitted your financial aid documentation.

Applicants should maintain a valid email address during the entire application process, as most of our information is communicated electronically. Please ensure that your email account preferences and security settings permit Columbia University-sent email to be delivered without filtering or junk mail routing. If your email address changes, please notify us immediately on the application status page.

If you have any additional credentials you wish to include in your application, you may submit them directly via the application status page

 

Does Columbia provide fee waivers for the CSS Profile?

The CSS Profile service provides fee waivers to qualifying domestic first-time, first-year students from families with low incomes and limited assets. 

Eligibility for fee waivers is automatically assessed at the time you submit the CSS Profile, and the waiver covers the costs of the registration fee for up to eight school reports.  Please contact the College Board with any additional questions regarding CSS Profile fee waivers.

Columbia does not offer additional fee waivers to domestic students.

If you have additional questions regarding the financial aid process, please contact Financial Aid and Educational Financing at ugrad-finaid@columbia.edu or 212-854-3711.

Transfer

Are transfers required to live on campus?

No, transfers are not required to live on campus.

Will I be able to stay an additional semester or year if I need to complete requirements for graduation?

Students are expected to graduate within eight semesters, including time spent at another college or university. Students are typically not permitted to extend their undergraduate studies unless they are enrolled in one of our Joint Degree programs (e.g. the Combined Plan).

How heavily do my high school record and standardized test scores weigh in the decision-making process?

Due to the timing of the transfer process, we are generally unable to consider grades earned in the second semester of the year of application; thus, high school grades, rigor of program and standardized test scores are all important in the evaluation of transfer credentials, especially for students applying for sophomore standing. If you have applied to Columbia previously, the documents you provided at that time will not roll over; you must resubmit any information requested by this transfer application.

Is housing guaranteed for transfer students?

As a transfer, you will be guaranteed housing during your time at Columbia, unless you choose to move off-campus at any time, at which point the housing guarantee is forfeited.

Are there specific classes that I must take prior to transfer?

There aren't any courses that are strictly required for admission as a transfer. We require a minimum of 24 credits, or the equivalent of one academic year, to transfer.

If you are applying to The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (Columbia Engineering), we would certainly hope to see strong math and science preparation (Calculus, Chemistry, Physics, etc.). Columbia Engineering recommends that prospective transfers follow a course of study similar to our First Year-Sophomore program.

If you are applying to Columbia College, we recommend only that you take courses that are similar in content to courses offered in Columbia College. You should familiarize yourself with the appropriate course bulletin to get a sense of which courses might be appropriate.

 

How do you determine which of my credits will transfer?

Courses may be eligible for transfer credit if they are analogous to undergraduate courses offered in Columbia College and Columbia Engineering, and you have received a grade of C- or better for Columbia College or a B or better for Columbia Engineering.

If I previously applied to Columbia, will my application roll over?

If you have applied to Columbia previously, the documents you provided at that time will not roll over, so you must resubmit any information requested by this transfer application. (Note: Standardized testing previously sent by the College Board or ACT does not need to be resubmitted.)

Must I have a minimum number of credits in order to transfer?

To be eligible to enroll at Columbia, you must have completed, or be in the process of completing, the equivalent of one full academic year, typically a minimum of 24 credits. Please review the Academic Credit for Transfer Students guide for more information.

I’m not sure if transferring is the right option for me. Can I attend Columbia as a Visiting Student and then transfer?

Visiting Students may not subsequently apply for transfer admission. Also, you may not apply simultaneously as a transfer and as a visitor. However, Visiting Students may subsequently apply for admission to the Combined Plan Program.

I have taken some time off from school. May I still apply as a transfer?

Potential applicants to Columbia College who have taken a break of more than one full academic year in their education (with the exception of those who must complete national military service) should consider instead Columbia’s School of General Studies; the same is true for students who wish to attend a part-time program. Applicants to The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science should proceed with this transfer application regardless of any break in schooling.

May I transfer for the spring semester?

No. We do not accept applications for January/spring enrollment from transfer candidates.

Do you cover 100% of demonstrated financial need for transfers?

All transfer applicants who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States or students granted refugee visas by the United States are read in a need-blind manner. Foreign students applying for aid must understand that such aid is awarded on an extremely limited basis. Columbia meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for admitted transfer students, and Columbia does not give any scholarships for academic, athletic or artistic merit.

Please visit the Financial Aid website for more information on financial aid for transfer students, including all required forms.

Where do transfer students live?

All transfer students are housed with their class in upperclass residence halls. Assignment is based on seniority and building preference with applications processed on a rolling basis. Students are notified by email when rooms are assigned.

May I study part-time?

You cannot study part-time in either Columbia College or Columbia Engineering. If you wish to study part-time, you must apply to the School of General Studies.

Do I have to take the Core Curriculum, even if I’ve already taken similar courses at my current college/university?

The Core is the cornerstone of undergraduate academic life at Columbia. Even those transferring in with advanced credit should expect to take elements of the Core, if not all of it. Students are very rarely exempt from Core classes like Literature Humanities, Contemporary Civilization, Art Humanities and Music Humanities.

I have attended more than one college. Can I just submit a transcript from the school I am currently attending?

No. You must submit transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended.

I currently attend a community college. Should I wait until I receive my Associates degree to transfer, or can I transfer without it?

You may certainly apply to transfer without having received an Associates degree.

Will I know how many of my credits have transferred before I have to deposit?

If admitted, you will receive a Transfer Credit Evaluation (TCE), informing you of how many credits you have (tentatively) been awarded. Final credit approval will not be granted until all final official transcripts from previous institutions have been received and been reviewed by your advising dean and/or academic department.

Does Columbia admit students who have not completed high school?

Prior to enrollment, students admitted to Columbia College or Columbia Engineering must submit documentation of completion of their high/secondary school requirements, which includes the final high school transcript with date of graduation. If applicable, International Baccalaureate, GCE Advanced Level or nationally recognized high school graduation examination results must also be provided. Transcripts should be sent directly from the high/secondary school. Alternatively, a GED or TASC credential with a passing score may be submitted.

How can I get a paper application for transfer admissions?

Paper applications are not available. Transfers must apply online using The Coalition Application. We do not accept the Common Application for transfer candidates.

 

If I am accepted, may I defer for a year?

Yes. A candidate who has been offered first-year admission may ask to defer enrollment for a year to work, travel, complete mandatory military service or pursue a special opportunity. A first-year student may not defer admission in order to enroll full-time at another college or university. A second year of deferral may be granted upon request. Students must request a deferral in writing by May 15 after submitting their first-year response form and deposit. Transfer students are not permitted to defer their admission. Visiting Students are permitted to defer their admission to a future term through the submission of the Visiting Student response form.

 

I am interested in your HEOP program. As a transfer, am I eligible for the program?

In order to be eligible for the Higher Education Opportunity Program as a transfer, you must currently be enrolled at a similar program in New York State.