Financial Resources

We want to make sure that the cost of your continuing education and professional studies do not stand in the way of your goals.

Most students at the School of Professional Studies use a combination of savings, scholarships, loans, outside grants, sponsors, or employer tuition benefits to cover the cost of attendance. However you choose to finance your education, consider it an investment in your future, and know that we, in conjunction with the Office of Student Financial Planning, are here to help and advise you along the way.

Please contact us with any questions.

Outside Funding Sources

We strongly encourage you to research and apply for scholarship funds from outside sources to help supplement the cost of your education, including those that may be available from philanthropic, fraternal, or nonprofit organizations, or corporations. While not intended to be comprehensive, the list below will give you an idea of the types of funding opportunities available.

We encourage you to research potential scholarship opportunities early in your decision-making process to apply at the School of Professional Studies. Scholarship applications are often taken a year before the date they’re awarded.

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Federal Loans and Work Study

To be considered for federal loans and work study, you must be a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. and plan to enroll on at least a half-time basis – at least six points per term. Other requirements apply for loan eligibility. If you are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you may apply for private/alternate educational loans or find outside funding sources.

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Federal Direct Stafford Loan

If you are enrolled at least half time (a minimum of 6 credits each term), you may be eligible to receive a Federal Direct Stafford Loan in the amount of $20,500.00 an academic year.

For more information on Federal Direct Stafford Loans, please visit Student Financial Services’ Graduate Federal Aid webpage.

The application and review process:

  1. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a federal form required to award federal financial aid. To complete a FAFSA, you will require:

    • a Social Security Number
    • a driver’s license
    • income tax returns
    • bank statements
    • investment records
    Columbia University’s Federal School Code is 002707.

  2. Approximately three to four weeks after filing the FAFSA, you will receive a Federal Student Aid Report. The University will receive the same information directly from the U.S. Department of Education.
  3. Student Financial Planning will then review the FAFSA data, inform you of your eligibility for the loan, and provide information on application procedures.

Federal Work-Study

The Federal Work-Study Program was established by Congress to aid U.S. citizens and permanent residents who need to work in order to meet educational expenses. Eligibility for this program depends on financial need as determined by a federally mandated need analysis, for which the FAFSA is required. Student must be enrolled at least half-time (at least six points per term) in a graduate degree program to be considered.

Each year Columbia students fill many on campus positions, as well as jobs in off-campus public and nonprofit organizations, through funds allocated to this program. Under the Work-Study program, a percentage of students’ earnings is paid through federal funds, and the remainder is paid by the student's employer. Students may earn wages up to the amount listed on their financial aid award notice. Work-Study wages do not appear on the student’s university eBill; rather, the student earns a paycheck.

To begin the application process, students must complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In the school listing section of the form (Step 6), enter 002707 as the University’s Federal School Code.

For more information on the Federal Work-Study program, please visit Student Financial Services’ Work-Study webpage.

Private Loan Programs

All School of Professional Studies students may arrange a private loan to help cover their educational expenses. For information on alternative education loans, please visit Student Financial Services’ Graduate Private Loans webpage.

U.S. Military Veterans

The School of Professional Studies participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, an initiative authorized by the Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 (the Post-9/11 GI Bill®*) in which educational institutions provide eligible student veterans with a tuition waiver or grant matched by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This program supplements the base educational benefits provided by the Post-9/11 GI Bill®.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as state and local government, offers additional educational assistance programs for veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces and their dependents.

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The Yellow Ribbon Program (YRP)

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides significant financial aid opportunities to students who served in the U.S. Armed Forces on or after September 11, 2001, as well as the dependents of these veterans.

Through a new initiative authorized by the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act, higher education institutions can provide eligible student veterans with a tuition waiver or grant that is matched by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This program, known as the Yellow Ribbon Program (YRP), enhances the base tuition benefits provided by the Post-9/11 GI Bill®. More information about the bill’s benefits and eligibility requirements is available at

The YRP application process consists of two steps:

  1. YRP Online Application

    Students who are qualifying veterans, or the qualifying dependents of veterans, and are interested in benefiting from the Yellow Ribbon Program, must complete the online application. As stipulated by the Post-9/11 GI Bill®, eligibility for the Yellow Ribbon Program is determined on a first-come, first-served basis, so it is important to complete the application as early as possible. Students are notified of the status of their application prior to the start of each academic year.

    Students who received Yellow Ribbon Program funding in the prior academic year do not need to submit another YRP online application; however, in order to receive YRP funding for the upcoming semester, students must submit the Veterans Certification Request.

  2. Veterans Certification Request

    In addition to completing the YRP online application, each semester students must submit a Veterans Declaration Form to Columbia’s VA Certifying Official by completing the Veterans Request Certification, in order to receive VA benefits for that semester.

Contact Information:

Columbia University
School of Professional Studies
Office of Student Life and Alumni Relations
203 Lewisohn Hall, MC 4101
2970 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
Tel: 212-854-0419
Fax: 212-854-4101

Columbia University
Attn: VA Certifying Official
(Eric Halperin)
202 Kent Hall, MC 9206
1150 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027

For general information about veteran affairs at Columbia, please visit Columbia’s Military and Veteran Affairs website.

Additional Programs for Veterans

Based on the time and length of service, as well as current status, veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces may be eligible for additional educational assistance programs offered by federal, state, and local government. For more information, please visit Columbia’s Military and Veteran Affairs website.

Innovation Scholarships

We award several Innovation Scholarships every year to students in their final year of a master’s program at the School, based on need and merit. In academic year 2015-2016, SPS awarded 10 Innovation Scholarships of $2,000 each to be applied toward tuition.

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The funding for Innovation Scholarships comes from a generous Class Gift that is funded annually through a campaign by SPS graduates and matched in kind by the School.

Eligible applicants must:

  • be students enrolled in their final year of an M.S. program at SPS
  • have applied for degree conferral by no later than May of the following calendar year
  • be in good academic standing, as demonstrated by a record of superior academic performance in their program
  • show professional promise as a leader in their chosen field
  • exemplify the values and spirit of SPS articulated in its mission statement: To transform knowledge and understanding in service of the greater good: a just, sustainable and compassionate global society.
  • demonstrate financial need; domestic students must submit a completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form and international students must submit the equivalent of a tax return and a currency exchange assessment

Students who are in their final year of an SPS master’s program, who have applied to receive their degree by May of the current academic year, will be sent instructions for submitting an application for an Innovation Scholarship. These Instructions will be sent via email during the spring term. The application is not available prior to the spring term.

Students with questions about the Innovation Scholarships should email

Contact Us

Student Financial Planning
202 Kent
Walk-In Hours: Monday–Friday 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

External websites listed on this page are provided as possible resources. The School of Professional Studies is not responsible for content on external websites and does not endorse products or services. Please note that while the University has suggested lenders, students have the right to borrow from any lender they choose.

*GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).