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The Washington Post reported that Kidd is a computer engineering major at the Ivy League school.
She was last seen leaving a dorm and may have taken the subway to her apartment.
"Our community is deeply concerned whenever a student is missing," Columbia University said in a statement. "The University is in contact with Nayla Kidd's family and is cooperating with the New York Police Department. We are working together to locate Nayla and urge anyone with any information that would be helpful to contact Columbia Public Safety at 212-854-5555 or the NYPD 26th Precinct Detective Squad at 212-678-1351."
Kidd missed her final exams, something her mother, LaCreis Kidd, said is unusual for her.
"This is not Nayla. She prides herself on doing her very best in school," LaCreis, who flew in from Louisville, Kentucky, told WCBS.
Family friend Alesha Wood had similar sentiments.
"Nayla had published scientific research," Wood said. "Her grades are very important to her -- to have her not show up to her finals is very troubling. That is not like Nayla. She loves to go to school."
WCBS reported that, according to police, Nayla's Facebook has been deactivated, her credit cards have been canceled and her cellphone has been shut off.
Flyers have been posted around the university and surrounding areas. Kidd is 5'9", weighs 120 pounds and has brown eyes.
A Facebook page, called Finding Nayla, has been created to help spread awareness of her disappearance.