Financial Aid and Scholarships
The School of Professional Studies is aimed at retaining quality students and assisting them financially to achieve their academic and professional goals during their time in graduate school. At SPS, scholarships are awarded based on several criteria including academic achievement, professional promise, leadership qualities, financial need, or a combination of theses. Awards often reflect the school’s commitment to achieving a diverse and talented student body.
Questions about funding opportunities?
Please contact the Office of Student Support at sps-scholarships [[at]] columbia [[dot]] edu and 212-854-9666. You may also request additional information by contacting your academic advisor.
Student Funding Opportunities
Through active engagement and reflection, experiential learning allows students to gain real world experience, acquire valuable knowledge and skills, and develop meaningful connections with their course materials. By serving as a financial resource, the SPS Academic & Professional Development Grant aims to support students in pursuing tailored, hands-on learning experiences aligned with their academic programs that include, but are not limited to: graduate research, capstone projects, and experiential learning/professional development opportunities (e.g. internships, co-ops, conferences, events, etc.).*
Academic and/or professional development opportunities must be related to the student’s field of study and are required to have faculty and/or academic program approval. Additionally, the experience should demonstrate a strong commitment to the recipient’s developing academic and/or professional aspirations, with ample opportunity to bring back and contribute relevant learnings to the classroom. Funds may be used to cover costs including but not limited to: transportation, lodging, meals, registration fees, and research project materials.
Award Amount Per Person: Awards range from $200 to $3,000 based on the availability of funds and academic program approval. Awards may not be used to cover tuition, university fees, or personal expenses.
Upcoming application cycle: Spring 2022.
The SPS Emergency Fund was created by the Division of Student Affairs to support SPS students who are experiencing a crisis that could adversely impact their academic journey. The goal of the fund is to prevent one small emergency or unexpected expense from derailing a student’s progress towards a degree. The funds are limited and not intended to provide ongoing relief for recurring expenses.
Currently enrolled, degree-seeking students may apply for funds when they have exhausted all other resources, including but not limited to: personal credit, payment plans, additional student aid, assistance from family and friends or other personal resources. Emergency funding is provided in the form of a one-time grant which does not need to be repaid. This funding is not intended to reimburse for expenses that have already been paid or replace or supplement existing financial aid options such as public or private loans.
All requests will require documentation and precedence will be given to students determined to have the most need and how close the student is to degree completion. Interested students must submit documentation attesting to the validity of any claims made or reasons given for the request. Unexpected emergency situations include but are not limited to: accidents, illness, disaster and/or temporary loss of housing. Students must show that they have exhausted all other resources and must have a plan for managing their financial situation after receiving emergency funds.
Students should be aware that emergency funding may create a taxable event that could require reporting to the IRS by the university or recipient of the funds and may affect financial aid eligibility. The committee will work with Student Financial Services to obtain a full understanding of your financial aid options and history.
For questions about the SPS Emergency Fund, students are encouraged to reach out to Danielle Pompili, Associate Director of Student Enrichment & Support at dmp2176 [[at]] columbia [[dot]] edu.
Award Amount Per Person: Awards vary and are contingent on available funds. Average award amounts range from $25 to $5000 per student and are typically only awarded once during a students tenure at SPS. Award types may be offered in the form of emergency housing, food assistance, and/or monetary support depending on the student's situation. Eligibility does not guarantee award approval.
- Facing unanticipated and unforeseeable financial hardship resulting from a legitimate emergency/catastrophic event, including COVID-19;
- Currently enrolled Master of Science students who have completed at least 12 credits towards their degree and a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average;
- Students must be in good academic, administrative and behavioral standing at the time of application and for the duration of the award;
- Students who are US Citizens or Permanent Residents are required to fill out a FAFSA form, or its equivalent;
- Exhausted all other financial resources, including loans;
- The student has demonstrated a good faith effort to explore other funding options (e.g. insurance, free or low-cost services readily available);
- Clear and credible plan for meeting expenses for the remainder of enrollment.
How to Apply:
- Interested applicants are required to submit a completed SPS Emergency Fund Application.
- Upload proof of financial hardship resulting from an emergency outside of your control;
- Upload documentation demonstrating you have exhausted all other resources of funding and/or a budget template;
- Please upload a copy of your FAFSA form, or its equivalent, if applicable.
*Please note that incomplete applications will not be reviewed
What expenses can be covered through the Student Emergency Fund?
- Emergency housing assistance which could include rent, security deposit, short-term hotel costs incurred to relocate, quarantine or isolate, for personal safety, etc.
- Unexpected medical, mental health or dental costs not covered by insurance.
- Unplanned travel expenses to receive medical care, to self-quarantine or isolate. Examples could include airfare, car rental, bus or train fare, etc.
- Costs of additional equipment, software or services to complete educational requirements via remote learning.
- Temporary assistance with food insecurity.
- Emergency personal or “incidental” expenses such as clothing, hygiene items, etc.
- Safety-related needs such as change of locks
What expenses are typically not covered by the Student Emergency Fund?
- Credit card debts;
- Penalties, fines, parking or other tickets;
- Non-essential expenses;
- Expenses due to a lack of planning or overspending;
- Legal fees
- For students receiving financial aid, any expenses included in the standard cost of attendance will not typically be considered, although unexpected increases beyond those expenses will be considered, as outlined in the previous section.
Offered on a rolling basis until funds are exhausted.
All applicants should note references pertaining to discrimination; harassment; sexual misconduct or intimate partner abuse and stalking, disclosed in this application or accompanying documentation may be required to be disclosed to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmitive Action.
Columbia COVID-19 Resource Guide: The University provides information regarding the impact of COVID on campus life, services and facilities, along with healthcare information.
The Food Pantry at Columbia: Any student who has any level of food insecurity can reach out to The Food Pantry to get a disbursement containing non-perishable food such as canned-meat, canned vegetables, canned fruit, cold and hot cereal, and vegetarian options. Any information shared with The Food Pantry will remain in strict confidence.
Additional Food Resources:
- NYC Free Meals
- The New York City Department of Education is committed to making free meals available daily for any New Yorker. Any New Yorker who wants one can get free meals at more than 400 Meal Hubs across the city.
Additional Health-Related Resources:
- Get Covered NYC: Speak to a dedicated specialist to learn about available low cost or no cost health insurance options for New Yorkers.
- NYC Well: Provides connection to free, confidential mental health support. Speak to a counselor via phone, text, or chat and get access to mental health and substance use services, in more than 200 languages, 24/7/365.
Columbia's Off-Campus Housing Assistance (OCHA): Assists Columbia students and affiliates in their search for rental housing in the metropolitan area. OCHA manages a database known as the Housing Registry which includes available rooms and apartments in non-Columbia-owned buildings and sublets of units in Columbia-managed housing.
Student Financial Planning: Provides financial counseling to students by discussing your individual needs and current financial options. You may call them at 212-854-7040 or email at sfp [[at]] columbia [[dot]] edu ().
NYC 311: Provides quick, easy access to all New York City government services and information while offering the best customer service.
NYC Know Your Rights: Provides information related to Unemployment, Mortgage/Rent payments, Student Loans and Utilities for New Yorkers.
The School of Professional Studies seeks to provide students with the resources to support their success while enrolled at Columbia University. During a student’s course of study, the School aims to keep students engaged and focused on maximizing their educational experience, advancing theory and practice in partnership with faculty, and expanding their professional acumen and network. This scholarship handbook provides an extensive list of tailored external funding opportunities that SPS students may be eligible to apply for in order to financially support their studies. The list was carefully curated, taking into account the diverse experiences and interests of the student community, and we hope it proves valuable in your studies.
Please visit External Funding Opportunities to view the curated list.
Please note that these are external funding opportunities that are not affiliated with the School of Professional Studies or Columbia University, and therefore unable to guarantee the accuracy of the information on the related website. Any questions or concerns specific to the opportunity should be sent directly to the sponsoring organization.
Any general questions or suggestions can be sent to sps-scholarships [[at]] columbia [[dot]] edu.