We want to make sure that the cost of your education doesn’t 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.
These databases are maintained by other institutions but are publicly searchable.
- Cornell University: Fellowships Database
- Duke University: Funding Opportunities
- Harvard University: The Graduate Guide to Grants
- H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Academic Funding Announcements
- UCLA: Graduate & Postdoctoral Extramural Support (GRAPES) Database
Columbia students have access to these funding-opportunity databases through subscriptions from the University.
- InfoEd SPIN: World’s Largest Database of Sponsored Funding Opportunities
- Foundation Center: Global Database of Grantmakers and Grants
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.
Federal Direct Stafford Loan
If you are enrolled at least half time in an approved degree-granting program, you may be eligible to receive a Federal Direct Stafford Loan in the amount of $20,500.00 an academic year. If you are enrolled at least half time in an approved certification program, and your coursework is comprised of courses that are prerequisites required for admission to a graduate program, you may be eligible to receive a Federal Direct Stafford Loan in the amount of $12,500.00 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:
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
- 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.
- Student Financial Planning will then review the FAFSA data, inform you of your eligibility for the loan, and provide information on application procedures.
Federal Perkins Loan
The Federal Perkins Loan is a low-interest loan for graduate students with financial need at the School of Professional Studies. The U.S. Department of Education provides a limited amount of funding for Perkins Loans to the School each year, and the School distributes the loans among students with the greatest need. The University acts as the lender for the loans and collects loan payments from students according to federal regulations.
Students must be enrolled at least half-time (at least six points per term) in a graduate degree program to be considered.
To begin the application process, 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 Perkins Loan and the application process, please visit Student Financial Services’ Perkins Loan webpage.
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.
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 http://www.gibill.va.gov/.
The YRP application process consists of two steps:
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.
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.
School of Professional Studies
Office of Student Affairs
203 Lewisohn Hall, MC 4101
New York, NY 10027
Attn: VA Certifying Official
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.
We award several Innovation Scholarships every year to students in their final year of a master’s program at the School. In academic year 2013-2014, SPS awarded 10 Innovation Scholarships of $2,000 each to be applied toward tuition.
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.
In early December, students in their final year of an SPS master’s program who have applied to receive their degree by the coming May will be emailed the guidelines and application form for the Scholarships. Application is not available prior to December.
Students with questions about the Innovation Scholarships should email email@example.com.
Select School of Professional Studies programs offer funding opportunities.
Earth Institute Sustainability Management Fellows Program
The Earth Institute and the M.S. in Sustainability Management program (MSSM) launched the Earth Institute Sustainability Management (EISM) Fellows program in fall 2013, providing a total of $50,000 in fellowship funding for use toward the cost of tuition for MSSM program for current and admitted students. Read more on the Earth Institute website.
The Elizabeth and Leon Daniels Scholarship
The Elizabeth and Leon Daniels Scholarships will be awarded to one new and one continuing M.S. student in Construction Administration who has superior academic performance and shows professional promise in the field of construction administration. The two awards, based on merit and need, will be given in the amount of $5,000 each. Funding for these scholarships comes from the generous gift of Jaime Daniels, Lecturer in Continuing Education. For details, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Student Financial Planning
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).