Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program

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Scholars Program
Director/Head {{{Head}}}
Location Advising Office, 4th Floor Lerner Hall
Phone 212-854-6378
Hours M-F 9-5
Website Click Here

The Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program (CUSP) oversees the John W. Kluge Scholars, John Jay Scholars, C. Prescott Davis Scholars, and Global Scholars programs. The Rabi Scholars program is not part of CUSP, having been founded in the 1980s.

Approximately 400 undergraduates are members of one of these groups at any given time. No one can apply to become a Scholar; rather, it is a designation conferred upon accepted students. The program is also tied to financial aid. Before Columbia moved to a no-loan policy, those scholars on financial aid may have had some loans replaced with grants. However, now that only grants are awarded, many of the money is branded under a scholar name. For example, a John Jay Scholar may receive a "John Jay Grant," even though the award does not exceed their demonstrated financial need.

Types of Scholars

Every year, about 100 incoming freshmen are part of one of the following groups of "scholars". All awards are based on outstanding achievement in high school, C. Prescott Davis Scholars are limited to SEAS students, and John Jay Scholars are CC students.

  • John W. Kluge Scholars: Awarded to minority students.
  • C. Prescott Davis Scholars: Awarded to students at SEAS.
  • Global Scholars: Awarded to international students.
  • John Jay Scholars: Awarded to students at Columbia College.


The Scholars website says, "While participating in the Program may help you with your financial aid needs, all Scholars' aid packages are determined on a case-by-case basis" [1]. For John Jay Scholars, at least, this means that loans may be replaced with grants. C. P. Davis Scholars have also reported [2] some of their loans being replaced with grants. Otherwise, the programs' perks include a series of events focusing primarily on guest speakers, occasional opportunities for free or discounted tickets to events in the City, and a separate academic advising office.

There is also a "governing board" that holds meetings, forms committees, and sometimes plans events. It is called the CUSP Alliance.