Founded in 1925, the Association unites student editors and faculty advisers working with them to produce student newspapers, magazines, yearbooks and online media. Students come from public, private and church-related schools and colleges throughout the United States and from overseas schools following an American plan of education. The Association is owned by Columbia University and operated as a program affiliated with its Graduate School of Journalism.
The Columbia Scholastic Press Association serves student journalists as follows:
- to make clear expression the standard for success;
- to maintain the student media for students, by students and containing news of students;
- to conduct contests and offer awards to make student media better than they were; and
- to recognize that journalism can be a means towards broader understanding of society and people.
The Association is a voluntary membership-based organization. Although it publishes standards and gives awards to recognize superior performance by its members, it is neither a testing nor an accreditation agency.