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Located in New York City, Columbia University is a larger institution. With the university being located in a large urban center, students are able to find various activities or locations to enjoy close by. Barnard College also isn’t far away; if students want to visit friends at Barnard, they are easily able to do so. Columbia University was founded in 1754, well before the colonies won their independence from England.

Overview of Columbia University in the City of New York (CU)

University buildings are clustered around a central Columbia College setting, making it easier for students to get from one area to another. Museums, the Statue of Liberty, and other sights are all within range of a subway ride.

Columbia University is a not-for-profit, private institution with campus housing available for students. Student faculty ratio is small (6 to 1), giving students plenty of opportunities to meet with professors and get assistance with classes and lectures. Student enrollment sits at 31,077; the undergraduate class consists of 8,200+ students and the graduate class includes 22,800+. Male students make up 53% of the student body, with female students filling out the remaining 47%.

The 6-year graduation rate is 96%, while 87% of students graduate in four years.

General Information

School Type Private not-for-profit
Campus Setting City: Large
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 6:1
Graduation Rate 96%
Year Founded 1754

Student Enrollment

Total Students31,077


Undergraduate Student

Male 4,354
Female 3,862

Graduate Student

Male 12,116
Female 10,745

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CU Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Male 18,360
Female 22,212


Male 1,102
Female 1,333

Acceptance Rate6%

Male  6%
Female  6%

Enrollment 1,509

Male 951
Female 921
Application Fee $85
High School GPA Recommended
High School Rank Recommended
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Program Required
Recommendations Required
SAT/ACT Required
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Recommended
Application Deadline January 1
Common Application Accepted Yes

Columbia University Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

Tuition is costly at Columbia University. Bundled together, tuition and fees for a recent academic year were $61,700+. With financial aid, students whose families are middle- or low-income can more easily afford to attend. The average net price of $21,200 is the remainder of tuition and fees that is left over on average after financial aid has been applied.

Freshmen who received financial aid numbered 833 in a recent year; this was 58% of the student body. Grants and scholarships were awarded to 750 students, or 52%. Institutional grants and scholarships went to 734 or 51% of students.

Average net price 2017-2018
Net Price $21,220
Average Total Aid $53,284
Students Receiving Financial Aid 58%
Room & Board $14,490

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $61,788
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $61,788
  • Books and Supplies - $1,294
  • Room & Board - $14,490
  • Other - $2,180


Students are able to choose from a wide range of majors when they begin college. Depending on the student’s interests, they may choose to major in the humanities, ethnic studies, STEM, biological and biomedical sciences, journalism or communication, or a variety of other science focuses.

Education and business administration programs are popular. Social science majors (sociology, anthropology, economics, and political science) are also some of the more popular majors. Looking closer at business, popular majors for students include business statistics, actuarial science, business administration/management, information resources management, marketing, management sciences, and quantitative methods.

At Columbia University, the retention rate for first-time students is excellent at 98%; this means that nearly 100% of all freshmen return to Columbia in their second academic year.

Students who are older and already working can choose online classes (distance learning) to earn an undergraduate or graduate degree. There are no evening classes or courses offered at Columbia University. However, when students graduate from Columbia, they will have earned a standout degree that will allow them to make a good living and move up in their field.

Student Population Total

Student Population 31,077

Evening Classes : No
Distance Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

All Social Science Majors 606 Total Graduates / 28%
Econometrics and Quantitative Economics 256 Graduates
Political Science and Government, General 215 Graduates
Social Sciences, Other 43 Graduates
Sociology 32 Graduates
Economics, General 21 Graduates
All Engineering Majors 315 Total Graduates / 14%
Operations Research 74 Graduates
Mechanical Engineering 60 Graduates
Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering 47 Graduates
Chemical Engineering 31 Graduates
Electrical and Electronics Engineering 30 Graduates
All Computer Information Science Majors 254 Total Graduates / 12%
Computer Science 250 Graduates
Information Science/Studies 4 Graduates
All Biological & Biomedical Majors 138 Total Graduates / 6%
Neuroscience 63 Graduates
Biology/Biological Sciences, General 58 Graduates
Biochemistry 14 Graduates
Visual and Performing Arts 119 Total Graduates / 5%
Visual and Performing Arts, Other 48 Graduates
Art History, Criticism and Conservation 38 Graduates
Music, General 19 Graduates
Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, General 12 Graduates
Dance, General 2 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 35%

Outcome & Salary

Students who graduate from Columbia University earn an average early-career salary of $73,100. Their average mid-career salary is $138,600 and can increase towards the late-career stage. Their 10-year return on investment estimated to be $745,120; 20-year ROI reaches as high as $2,131,120. With these ROIs, the four-year net price of with financial aid $84,880 can be seen as a very good investment.

High school graduates’ average salary nationally is $38,792. After ten years, their projected income is $387,920; their 20-year projected income is $775,840. While not every high school graduate wants to go to college, it’s clear that those students who do will benefit from their added time in the classroom.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $73,100
College Grads Average Salary $83,000
College Grads Mid Career Salary $138,600
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $830,000
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $2,216,000
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $84,880
10 Year Projected ROI $745,120
20 Year Projected ROI $2,131,120
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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