Founded in 1925, the Association unites student editors and faculty advisers working with them who 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 and operated by Columbia University.
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.