Columbia University Scholarships for International Students

Known for being a reputed member of the prestigious Ivy League universities, Columbia University is another private university that is based in the city of New York. Founded in 1854, it is the oldest university in the megacity and was also one of the original colleges founded after the United States Declaration of Independence. The university has further been consecutively ranked among the top ten universities in the world according to several ranking charts.

Currently, Columbia University provides academic courses for more than 33,400 students and has one of the highest enrolments for a private Ivy League college. Its reputation for studies spread across a range of different fields of study and the university has a history of being responsible for some of the greatest breakthroughs in history. In this article, we detail the numerous funding and scholarships at Columbia University.

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Does Columbia University offer full scholarships to international students?

International students studying at Columbia University are not eligible for federal aid from the government, as is the case with most universities. Nevertheless, the university offers several financial aid opportunities for international students that are not in line with the government. These applications are additionally considered from a need-based perspective.

How much does it cost to study at Columbia University?

Based on the most current academic year, the cost for attendance is estimated to be $80,394, which combines the tuition fees of $61,850 as well as the room and boarding fees of around $14,500. Additionally, students are expected to pay around $3,700 for living expenses. However, most students are eligible for financial aid and will end up paying a significantly smaller amount than this.

How competitive is the admissions and funding system for Columbia University?

The university has an acceptance rate of 6.1% based on the results of the current admissions cycle, which makes it the third most selective university in the country (after Harvard and Stanford Universities). In terms of funding, around half of the accepted undergraduates (50%) receive financial grants and funding packages for their studies.

Columbia University Scholarships for International Students

Undergraduate Scholarships

Columbia University confirms that studies are extremely affordable for all undergraduates and that education should never be a barrier for students in pursuit of a world-class education. The university offers need-based scholarships and the majority of options do not include any kind of loan scheme and this is further guaranteed for students of all socioeconomic backgrounds. Students are considered for financial aid irrespective of academic, athletic, or extracurricular talent-related premises.

The Columbia University scholarship amounts are confirmed to include on-campus housing, personal expenses, books, and other minor stipends for the duration of four years of study. The university evaluates the applicant’s family background in terms of their income and economic factors and decides the net amount of financial aid allocated to each student based on this. The maximum amount of Columbia University scholarships is full tuition, room, and board for undergraduate students.

If students are interested in having an idea or estimating what their allocated financial amount would be, the Net Price Calculator offers a close idea of what is to be expected. This package offered is known as the Columbia Grant and is offered to eligible students upon assessment of their background.

External grants and scholarships are also other types of aid provided to eligible students. These include merit-based scholarships and other benefits that international applicants need to research during their application process. It is also important for students to note that if they are successful in receiving these financial awards, this will affect and be incorporated into the Columbia Grant (if they have applied for this) so students need to directly contact the university regarding this for further information.

All University of Columbia scholarship recipients also take part in student employment and student contribution. In terms of student employment, students take upon and off-campus jobs to meet term time expectations. Numerous job opportunities are offered by the university and students can access these directly from the employment office. The student contribution is further described as the contributed amount from the student’s earned expenses by working during the summer.

Finally, while the university does not confer loans as part of their financial aid scheme, students’ families may borrow loans through private loan schemes. Further information is provided in the Loans page.

Masters and Ph.D. Scholarships

Graduate Scholarships for Columbia University are overseen by the Columbia Graduate Financial Aid offices. As opposed to undergraduate applications for funding, the university’s various graduate and professional schools each operate their own funding schemes, and therefore, students are required to visit this link, scroll down to ‘Graduate Financial Aid Offices’ and identify the respective department or school they are applying to. As is the case with most Ph.D. programs, funding is typically guaranteed for the first 5 years in the case of all Ph.D. students, consisting of full tuition and a living stipend. Prospective Masters’s students have limited options and should enquire directly from their departments. Master’s Scholarships at Columbia University can consist of research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and fellowships which can cover full tuition and living stipend.

Graduate students may also be eligible for certain external awards that are connected to the university. These include prospective employers, special interest groups, and professional organizations. Further information can be gathered from this link.

Private loans are an alternative (and final resort) option for international students, owing due to the lack of federal loans. These loans are offered by private organizations and lenders. These loans tend to come with high-interest rates and should only be considered as the final option by students who are keen on getting financial help. Further information offered by the university with regards to this is available on this page.

Application Process of Scholarships

Undergraduate Funding

In the case of undergraduate admissions, financial aid applications are required to be submitted depending on 3 specific deadlines. These are due to be specified and change for each academic year but typically, the deadlines for the current application period are as follows:

  • Early decision – November
  • Regular decision – January

To be eligible for Columbia University scholarships, students are required to submit the CSS profile, as is the case with financial applications for the majority of US universities. Documentation to assist the funding decisions are also required, which includes income tax files, business records, bank statements, and anything that will confirm family income/tax payments. All prospective international students are also required to submit the Outside Scholarship and External Payment form. Further information can be found at this link.

Postgraduate Funding

As the case for graduate funding is more complex and differs across departments, prospective postgraduate students are encouraged to approach the university’s department and look at the information provided for applying to Columbia University scholarships.

Certain Fellowships exclusive to international students are also available such as the Shardashish Fellowship so students should be sure to browse through the Financial Aid page in order to understand the relevant application procedure for these fellowships.


I hope that this article was helpful. If you are interested, visit the USA Scholarships Page!