Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.89
Liaison Allie Schwartz
Submission Date Aug. 29, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Columbia University
PA-7: Affordability and Access

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.88 / 4.00 Kendra Lider-Johnson
Director of Marketing & Communications
Columbia College/SEAS Admissions & Financial Aid
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have policies and programs to make it accessible and affordable to low-income students?:
Yes

A brief description of any policies and programs to minimize the cost of attendance for low-income students:

Columbia College and The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science offer incredibly generous full need financial aid packages to undergraduates admitted as first-year and transfer students, and guarantee to meet the full need for all four years of study. Columbia meets the full demonstrated financial need of families with a combination of grant and work-study aid. Parents with total incomes under $60,000 and with typical assets are not expected to contribute anything to the cost of education of their student. Parents with incomes between $60,000 and $100,000 and with typical assets have a reduced Parent Contribution towards the cost of education. Loans are not part of our financial aid packages. For continuing students at General Studies, Columbia launched a need enhancement program in 2008 designed to assist the students in our undergraduate program with the highest demonstrated need. This program is designed to make the academic program more affordable and reduce the need for outside loans and limit overall borrowing costs.
In addition, Columbia has the Program for Academic Leadership and Services at GS (PALS) that is targeted toward socio-economically disadvantaged students. It’s a full tuition scholarship program and offers significant aid to a segment of the population with the most financial need.


A brief description of any programs to equip the institution’s faculty and staff to better serve students from low-income backgrounds:

The Office of Multicultural Affairs conducts a variety of diversity training programs to prepare for the diverse student population they will encounter at Columbia. Trainings include, but are not limited to, Under One Roof diversity training; Safe Zone training around sexual orientation, and other diversity-related training sessions available for the Columbia community.


A brief description of the institution’s programs to guide and prepare students and families from low-income backgrounds for higher education:

Columbia’s Center for Student Advising (CSA) runs a First-in-Family initiative, designed to support students who are the first generation in their families and/or low-income students to attend college. Recognizing that this population is more likely to struggle academically and less likely to graduate in 4 years, CSA holds workshops on time management and career exploration, specific sessions for first-generation students and families at the New Student Orientation Program and Homecoming and matches first-year students with upperclassmen mentors, all with the goal of ensuring that students achieve academically and graduate on time.
Columbia’s ARISE (Academic Resources in Support of Excellence) program provides tutoring resources in math, statistics, and chemistry, recognizing that these are often subjects where students coming from under-resourced backgrounds and under-served schools sometimes struggle. In 2014, Columbia launched a co-curricular initiative called Mastery Through Academic Coaching (MTAC) where students have the option of attending small-group tutoring sessions for Introductory Biology, a required first-year class for STEM majors. As part of our program, students receive rigorous preparation for the transition to Columbia, including financial counseling and support.
Columbia also runs a program called university studies, and while this program is offered to a broad group of GS students, this program does offer specific transition support for students from all backgrounds, including low-income students.


A brief description of the institution's scholarships for low-income students:

All financial aid is need-based. Columbia does not offer any sort of merit scholarship. See above for information about need-based financial aid program, which is one of the most generous in the nation for low-income students.


A brief description of the institution’s targeted outreach to recruit students from low-income backgrounds:

See above section on our financial aid policies.


A brief description of the institution’s other policies or programs to make the institution accessible and affordable to low-income students:

For decades Columbia University has supported high-achieving, low-income students through the New York State Arthur O. Eve Higher Educational Opportunity Program (HEOP) and Columbia's own National Opportunity Program (NOP). These need-based programs provide enhanced academic and financial assistance for a select group of Columbia College and Columbia Engineering students, including a Summer Bridge program before the first year and specialized advising, mentoring and tutoring resources. Additionally, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions conducts targeted outreach to low-income high school students to inform them about Columbia’s academic opportunities and admissions and financial aid process. This outreach includes mailings, e-mail messages, phone calls and invitations to special online chats and webinars.


Does the institution have policies and programs to support non-traditional students?:
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s scholarships provided specifically for part-time students:

Columbia University has a college dedicated to serving the needs of nontraditional students. The School of General Studies of Columbia University is the finest liberal arts college in the United States created specifically for returning and nontraditional students seeking a rigorous, traditional, Ivy League undergraduate degree full- or part-time.

In addition to aid from federal and state governments or private sources, GS students may apply for institutional aid. Institutional aid for GS students is derived from three sources: endowment returns, annual gifts, and general University funds.

In addition to aid from federal and state governments or private sources, GS students may apply for institutional aid. Institutional aid for GS students is derived from three sources: endowment returns, annual gifts, and general University funds.


A brief description of the institution’s on-site child care facility, partnership with a local facility, and/or subsidies or financial support to help meet the child care needs of students:

Affiliated Child Care Centers: Columbia University has agreements with nine independently run child care centers. Some are on University property, and some are not. Columbia provides financial support to these centers to help support operational costs and financial aid funding in exchange for prioritizing the enrollment of Columbia families.

Child Care Subsidy: The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences provides fully funded Ph.D. or DMA student parents with a $1,000 child care subsidy for each child under the age of 5
Work/Life Website: Provides lists of early education and child care centers near campus and other useful information.

Backup Care: 100 hours of subsidized backup child care and adult/elder care is available to doctoral students


A brief description of the institution’s other policies and programs to support non-traditional students:

Columbia participates in the Army, Air Force, and Naval ROTC programs. Both the New York City Army and Air Force ROTC programs include students from schools throughout the New York City area. The Naval ROTC program is based at Columbia, having been officially recognized by the University


Does the institution wish to pursue Part 2 of this credit (tracking accessibility and affordability)? (If data is not available, select 'No'):
Yes

The percentage of entering students that are low-income (0-100):
17

The graduation/success rate for low-income students (0-100):
96

On average, the percentage of need that was met for students who were awarded any need-based aid (e.g. as reported to the U.S. Common Data Set initiative, item H2) (0-100):
100

The percentage of students graduating with no interest-bearing student loan debt or for whom no out-of-pocket tuition is required (i.e. the percentage of graduates who have not taken out interest-bearing loans) (0-100):
75

Estimated percentage of students that participate in or directly benefit from the institution’s policies and programs to support low-income and non-traditional students (0-100):
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.