Financial Aid And Scholarships At Columbia University For International Students

Do you dream of applying to an Ivy League school but shy away when you see the high costs? Well, keep reading to step closer to your dream.

The biggest deterrents for international students applying abroad are the scary tuition costs involved. Columbia University is an Ivy League school that offers some of the world’s best programs. However, an average of $84,000 is incurred per academic year.

International students incur more expenses than local students due to the process of relocation from across the world. Naturally, a relief in tuition costs goes a long way.

Approaching banks and financial institutions is daunting and intimidating for most students. We, at FundRight, realize that. 

You must be aware of some of the most sought-after scholarships for Indian students. For instance:

  • Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowship
  • The KC Mahindra Education Trust Scholarship

However, in this article, you will find a list of Undergraduate Scholarships, Graduate Scholarships, and External Scholarships offered to international students. We have also included the application process for each scholarship scheme.

Columbia University offers up to 100% financial aid to international students, regardless of citizenship. All financial aid offered by Columbia University is need-based, and merit-based or talent-based scholarships are not provided.


Who is considered an International Student by Columbia University?

  • Students who are not permanent citizens of the United States.
  • Students who are not citizens of the United States.
  • Students who do not have refugee visas.
  • Students who do not have asylum status.
  • Students who are not DACA recipients.
  • Students who are not undocumented.

Undergraduate Scholarships for International Students at Columbia University

Grant Type

Average Amount Offered


Need Based

$ 66,350

Meeting 100% financial requirements of first-year and transfer students

The Undergraduate international students do not receive merit-based or athletic-based scholarships. Columbia University only provides need-based scholarships to undergraduate students.

Naturally, the exact scholarship amount will depend on the financial need demonstrated in your application. Find out more about the application process later in the blog.

Education at Columbia University is possible for students hailing from all socio-economic backgrounds. The class of 2025 received a total of $17 million in financial aid for international students alone.

Most importantly, the University is committed to ensuring that international students do not face trouble in affording their education. Hence, the University guarantees that 100% of the student financial needs will be met for first-year and transfer students.

Other than merely offering financial aid packages, the University also offers students part-time work such as part-time work-study programs, internships, fellowships, and jobs. These opportunities are meant to assist you in enduring general living expenses.

Application Process for Undergraduate Scholarships

The first step in the process is to intimate your requirement for financial help in your  admissions application. You must note that once submitted, this requirement cannot be modified. You cannot change the requirement after the submission of your acceptance.

The Undergraduate Scholarship program is strictly need-based. Click here to find out how much financial aid you may qualify for.

The first step is filling out the College Scholarship Service (CSS) application online. Click here to access the CSS portal.

The process of filling the CSS profile is simple, and you only need the following documents:

  • Tax Returns
  • W-2 Form/ records of current income
  • Records of untaxed income and benefits
  • Assets and bank statements

Any errors in your application may cause it to be rejected.

CSS profiles are required for both adoptive and biological parents. If a student’s parents are separated ( divorced, unmarried, or living separately), each parent will have to complete the CSS profile separately.

Click here to find out your the exact process for your scholarship application at Columbia University, based on:

  • Applicant Type
  • Citizenship Status
  • Academic year you’re applying for

Graduate Scholarships for International Students at Columbia University

Graduate Scholarships is of a more restricted nature than Undergraduate scholarships. As a graduate student, you may be eligible for a few departmental scholarships. These are primarily directed towards tuition fees and do not provide other perks such as jobs, etc.

Regardless, they provide immense relief to international students.

Grant Type

Average Amount Offered


Need Based

$ 1000 to $ 20,000

Partial tuition-fee coverage

1.Northwest IB Scholarship

The Northwest IB Scholarship is an international award for students graduating from an international Baccalaureate high school. It is awarded on a first-come-first-served basis, for IB standard high-level courses.


This scholarship is awarded to the first 20 IB school graduates who apply. You must be studying in the United States.


A total of $1000  are awarded.


1st May


2.Business Studies Scholarship

The Columbia Business School offers partial-tuition coverage to international as well as domestic students. Most business school scholarships are need-based. However, merit components may be available in certain instances. You will receive such details after finishing the application process.

August Entry Scholarships

Applications due by mid-January or two weeks from the date of admission

January Entry Scholarships

Applications due by mid-October or two weeks from the date of admission


The following information is assessed to establish eligibility of a student:

  • Savings
  • Investments
  • Money Market
  • IRA
  • Retirement accounts
  • Trust Funds
  • Real Estate Equity
  • GI and Social Security Benefits
  • Income of Student and Spouse
  • Familial Resources
  • Income Tax Refunds
  • Sponsorships from companies
  • Prior educational debt


The award ranges from $1000 to $20,000, based on the funds available.


The final deadline for August Entry Scholarships for 2023 is April 5, 2023.

The final deadline for January Entry Scholarships for 2023 is September 28, 2023.


3.International Merit Scholarship

The International Merit Scholarship is awarded at the beginning of any master’s program at Columbia University


All students applying for a master’s program at Columbia University are eligible.


Up to 3000 $ are awarded.


The scholarship application must be sent into the University at the time of application for the program.


4.Helen Lansdowne Resor Scholarship

The Helen Lansdowne Resor Scholarship is aimed at providing recognition to female and non-binary students in the creative industry.

The scholarship awards four students $10,000 along with a paid internship at the Wunderman Thompson office. The eligible student also receives a mentor from the Wunderman Thompson office, along with a “first look” placement consideration from the office.


  • Only female or non-binary students are eligible for this opportunity.
  • The student must be beginning a Post-Graduate program in Architecture, Business, Communications, Design, or such art-related industry.
  • Only four students are awarded each year.




The scholarship application must be sent into the University at the time of application for the program.

Additional Assistance by Columbia University

Teaching Assistance-ship is offered to international students. Students can earn $12,000 from this opportunity.

Student Assistance-ship can also offer $3000 to students.

External Scholarships for International Students at Columbia University

Other than the financial aid offered by the University, international students can avail a lot of different external scholarships as well. This is essential for graduate students as the aid received by them from the University is more limited.

Following are the external scholarship options for International students.

1.The KC Mahindra Education Trust Scholarship

The KC Mahindra Education Trust Scholarships provides relief to students planning to pursue education abroad in the form of an interest-free loan.


  • Post-Graduate international students are judged on merit as well as need. Meritorious students with financially weak backgrounds are offered this scholarship.
  • The student must have achieved over 65% in their undergraduate program.


Interest-free loans ranging from $5000 to $9000.


The month of March every academic year.


2.Inlaks Shivdasani Foundations Scholarships

The Inlaks Shivdasani Foundations Scholarships are aimed at assisting students planning to study in the UK, the US, or European Countries. The scholarship is offered for University courses as well as Specific courses.

If shortlisted, the candidates are expected to attend two rounds of interviews.


  • The student must have scored above 70% in a bachelor’s program.
  • The student must be below 30 years of age.


Not more than $100,000.


The month of March every academic year.


3.Narotam Shekhsaria Foundation Scholarships

The Narotam Shekhsaria Foundation is a Non-Governmental program. The award offered by them is 100% merit-based and is awarded for brilliant academic performance. The scholarship is in the form of a loan awarded without interest.


  • Only Indian residents may apply.
  • The student must be below the age of 30.
  • Consistently good academic performance.


Up to 24,000 $ based on the course opted for.


March and April every academic year.



4.Debesh-Kamal Scholarships for Higher Studies

This scholarship is applicable for undergraduate, graduate, and doctor’s programs. The scholarship is applicable in all universities across the world and only covers tuition fees. The scholarship is provided on a need-based and merit-based basis.


  • The student must be below 30 years of age.
  • The student should preferably be pursuing a degree in the social sciences field.
  • Research applicants should have acquired approval for their research project.
  • The student must have a good academic record.


Up to 1200 $ is awarded to each student.


April of every academic year.

5.JN Tata Endowment for Higher Education of Indians

The JN Tata Endowment for higher education is awarded only to Indian students pursuing Post Graduate programs abroad. The scholarship is given out in a one-time loan format. The process comprises three steps, initial screening, an online test, and an interview session.


  • Only Indian students are eligible for this program.
  • The student must have obtained at least 60% in the bachelor’s program.
  • The student must be below 45 years of age.
  • The student must be enrolling in a 2-year degree.


The award ranges from $1200 to $12000.


The registration for the scholarship closes in March every academic year.

6.Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowship

The Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowship is awarded to students based on their academic performance, leadership qualities, and work experience. It is a purely merit-based award.

Apart from the tuition fee, the scholarship also covers partial living expenses and healthcare expenses. Moreover, the student will also receive

  • Economic class flight fares for a round trip from the student’s hometown to the University.
  • J-1 USA student visa support.


  • Good academic performance.
  • Relevant work experience of 3 years or more.
  • Community service experience.
  • The student must have obtained a minimum of 55% in a bachelor’s program.


The total amount awarded varies for each student. It is based on the tuition fee for the University and the eligibility of the student.


The month of May every academic year.

If you do your research right, affording higher education abroad is easy. With the right set of financial aid options, you can attend your dream university.

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