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Prospective Students

How do outside scholarships affect my Columbia financial aid award?

The scholarships you receive from outside sources will be used to reduce the work study portion of your financial aid package. For example, if you are awarded a $2,000 National Merit Scholarship, your work study expectation will be reduced by the full $2,000. Only after your work study has been completely eliminated will your scholarships begin to reduce any Columbia Grant you may have received.

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

Yes. A family that experiences a change in circumstances may apply for financial aid at any time. For example, it is not uncommon for a family to suffer a job loss or illness or for a younger sibling to begin attending college. Please note that institutional aid will usually be awarded only in cases that involve an involuntary change in circumstances. Parents who decide to retire early or to invest in a business start-up may not be awarded institutional aid.

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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. However, on occasion possibly due to a lack of understanding of need-based aid (i.e., they were expecting merit-based aid, they did not submit complete information when using a financial aid estimator, etc) families have requested to be released from their Early Decision contract.

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Does Columbia match financial aid packages from other schools?

It is not our policy to automatically match other offers, and we do not negotiate financial aid awards. We will not match offers from institutions that offer merit-based awards. However, if you fax us a copy of another need-based offer, we will review your application to determine if a change is appropriate. We do this because different schools may have different information at the time the application was evaluated. Or perhaps your circumstances are complex and have been interpreted differently by another school.

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May I appeal a financial aid package if admitted?

  1. YES, if your family’s financial circumstances changed after you submitted your financial aid application.

  2. YES, if you have complicated circumstances, and you would like us to take a second look at how we interpreted your family’s financial situation.

  3. YES, if another need-based school has provided you a different interpretation of your family’s financial circumstances.

  4. NO, if your sole reason for the appeal is that you are asking us to consider merit-based offers from other schools.

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Will my chances for admission be affected if I apply for financial aid?

For United States, Mexican and Canadian citizens, permanent residents of the United States and students granted refugee visas by the United States: Admission to Columbia College and to the undergraduate division of The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science is need-blind. This means we will consider your application without regard to your financial need.

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Does Columbia offer merit scholarships?

There are no academic, athletic or talent-based institutional scholarships at Columbia as all of our institutional financial aid is need-based. Our students are often the recipients of merit-based scholarships from outside organizations (state grants/scholarships, local/national merit-based awards, etc.); however, no merit-based aid is offered directly from Columbia University.

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What is the percentage of Columbia students who receive financial aid?

Approximately 50% of Columbia undergraduates receive some sort of financial assistance. In addition, about 80% of first-year students applying for financial aid for the 2007-2008 year received a need-based aid award.

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Is financial aid available for foreign students?

Though Columbia is not need-blind in its admission of foreign students, if you are admitted then we will meet 100% of your demonstrated financial need.  If you plan on applying for financial at any point during your four years of study then you must apply for financial aid at the time you apply for admission.

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How much financial aid is available for transfer students?

Columbia admits transfer students on a need blind basis.  However, Columbia has a limited amount of institutional funds for transfer students.  In order to be considered for financial aid transfer applicants must have a complete financial aid application on file at the time of their admission.

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