Around the Quads

Financial Aid Policy Adjusted for Undocumented Students

Undocumented students applying to Columbia College and Engineering will be eligible for the same need-blind admissions and financial aid policies as U.S. citizens and permanent residents, beginning with the Fall 2017 semester.

Columbia provides full-need financial aid to all first-year and transfer students pursuing their first degree and has provided need-blind admissions for U.S. citizens, permanent residents and eligible non-citizens for many years. With this change, Columbia becomes one of the few schools that will offer need-blind admissions and full-need financial aid to undocumented applicants. “We hope this landmark change will make it clear that the voices, experiences and contributions of undocumented students are welcomed and valued here at Columbia,” says Jessica Marinaccio, dean of undergraduate admissions and financial aid. “Undocumented students are already making an impact in our community in countless ways, and we are pleased to be lifting the barrier of need-aware admission for future undocumented students.”

Prior to this change, undocumented students had been considered international applicants, meaning they received full-need financial aid, but how much financial aid a student required was taken into consideration when rendering an admissions decision.

Approximately half of Columbia’s undergraduates receive need-based financial aid, including approximately 30 percent of international students. Columbia financial aid is offered in the form of grants and student work, rather than loans. More than $140 million in grants and scholarships are awarded annually to undergraduates at the College and at Engineering.