In an email to Columbia affiliates today, President Bollinger shared that the University has established the Columbia Student Support Initiative and the Columbia Alumni Association Scholars program. The full email is provided at the end of this article.

In a recent email to the Columbia community, President Bollinger announced the Columbia Student Support Initiative—“an effort dedicated to raising $1.4 billion in financial assistance for students by June 2025.” The initiative will provide additional support to various forms of financial assistance for students, allocated in different ways according to the needs of each school.

President Bollinger also claimed that Columbia’s dedication to supporting its students is “instilled in our collective being,” and that the Student Support Initiative will help provide “a Columbia education unconstrained by family wealth.” He also thanked alumni leaders Roy and Diana Vagelos. Board of Trustees Co-Chair Jonathan and Jeannie Lavine, Henry and Marie-Josée Kravis, Trustee Emeritus Armen Avanessians, and Larry Lawrence for their generous contributions over the years. President Bollinger also thanked Keith Goggin for his help in funding the new Columbia Alumni Association Scholars program—an initiative seeking to provide annual financial support to students.

President Bollinger stated that these new developments will give way to “a new era for Columbia” to help remove educational barriers such as financing.

Email from President Bollinger to CU affiliates, sent on April 8, at 1:10 pm:

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

I am writing today to announce the Columbia Student Support Initiative, a new effort dedicated to raising $1.4 billion in financial assistance for students by June 2025 and involving all 16 of our schools. This special campaign will add to our existing resources for undergraduate scholarships, graduate fellowships, and other forms of assistance that are critical to student success and wellbeing. Because the needs of students at each of our schools differ to some degree, each school will, accordingly, set its own goals and chart its own path. But the spirit animating the campaign will be shared across the institution.

I know I do not need to make an elaborate case for this significant institutional effort. Columbia’s commitment to the support of its students is already deeply instilled in our collective being. It begins with our longstanding policies of need-blind undergraduate admissions and full-need financial aid. This commitment to ensure access to a Columbia education unconstrained by family wealth carries on through every school and program at the University. And in many of our professional schools, we do our very best to support student career choices that serve the public good but are not sufficiently remunerative.

I am very pleased to say that we launch this initiative with tangible momentum. In addition to the thousands of alumni and parents who give generously each year, we are inspired by extraordinary alumni leaders. Among them are Roy and Diana Vagelos, who ensured that generations of Columbia medical students can graduate debt free; Board of Trustees Co-Chair Jonathan and Jeannie Lavine, whose inspirational gift endows scholarships for Columbia College students; Henry and Marie-Josée Kravis, who furthered their sustained generosity with a recent transformative financial aid gift for Business School students; Trustee Emeritus Armen Avanessians, who endowed fellowships for engineering PhD students focusing on data science; and Larry Lawrence, who recently endowed scholarships for the remarkably diverse students at the Columbia School of General Studies. Through a new Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) Scholars program established with a leadership gift from Keith Goggin, CAA leaders will fund support for students from every school each year.

A Columbia education is transformative for our students and financial need should not be a barrier to accessing it. We have for many years made financial aid a priority and have dedicated our resources accordingly, but there is more to do. This campaign, and the resulting support for our students, will begin a new era for Columbia.  


Lee C. Bollinger

Low Library via Bwog Archives