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Diversity Profile

Founded in 1754, Columbia is one of the oldest and most distinguished institutions of higher learning in the world, offering a renowned liberal arts education within the nation’s most global city.

Our campus is the birthplace of laser technology and modern robotics. Leaders and artists like President Barack Obama, Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, writer Federico Garcia Lorca, and all four members of the band Vampire Weekend attended Columbia.

With a 36-acre campus in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Columbia is a residential university with one of the most diverse, talented student bodies in the world. Our community includes students from all 50 states and more than 90 foreign countries, over half of our students identify as students of color, and 14% of students are the first in their families to attend college.

Columbia also strives to be accessible to students from all socioeconomic backgrounds, awarding over $140 million in financial aid annually. We have one of the highest percentages of Pell Grant recipients in the Ivy League, and we meet 100% of the demonstrated financial need for all first-years and transfers pursuing their first degree, regardless of citizenship.

Admission is need-blind for US citizens and permanent residents and persons granted refugee visas by the United States. Our need-based aid is in the form of grants and student work only. Loans are not a component of financial aid packages. For students from families with calculated incomes of less than $60,000 annually (and typical assets), parents are not expected to contribute to the cost of attendance. For those students coming from families with calculated total incomes between $60,000–$100,000 annually (and typical assets), Columbia offers a significantly reduced parent contribution. Families earning over $100,000 can still qualify for significant financial aid.

Diversity is part of what makes Columbia vibrant, dynamic, and exciting, as evidenced by our legendary Core Curriculum. With an interdisciplinary series of small seminar-style courses taken by students from all majors, including engineers, students make connections across the world of ideas, challenging their thinking and deepening their insights together at every turn. From understanding the forces of globalization to grasping life through the prism of a gene to expressing human yearning through the arts—intellectual vitality is uniquely central to Columbia’s identity.

Outside of the classroom, students can join more than 500 clubs and organizations. Housing is guaranteed for four years, and while your circles of community begin on campus, they extend to the intimate, friendly neighborhood that surrounds us, on to the world-class city we are part of, and into the world itself.

Undergraduates can choose from more than 150 study abroad opportunities and 50 different foreign languages taught on campus. Columbia connects students with thousands of research and internship opportunities in New York City and beyond.

As a citizen of both Columbia and New York, you are granted the freedom to reach for any goal on campus, in a city and a community where shaping society, culture, and the world happens every day.



• 48% women
• 61% students of color
• 22% Asian/Asian American
• 11% African American
• 12% Latino
• 2% Native American
• 18% international
• 16% Pell Grant recipients
• 14% first generation

1st African American advocacy group on a multiracial campus

60 cultural- and identity-based student organizations

$1 billion in sponsored research each year

1st student gay-rights advocacy group on a college campus

$400 million donated by John Kluge (CC ’37), the largest gift ever made to any university for financial aid