Archive for Paying for SIPA

Upcoming External Fellowship Opportunities

The SIPA Financial Aid Office maintains a database of external funding opportunities, and we wanted to alert students to some with upcoming application deadlines. For more external scholarship awards, go to our External Fellowships and Funding Sources page.

Please be aware that some organizations may have changed policies for this upcoming year. We check regularly to keep our listing up to date, but would appreciate feedback if you come across an outdated posting.

Upcoming Fellowships

Bush Foundation Fellowship

Requirements: Applicants must be at least 24 years old at the time of the application deadline and lived for one continuous year immediately prior to the application deadline in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, or one of the 23 Native nations that shares the same geographic area with these states.
Deadline: September 17, 2020

Soros Fellowships for New Americans

Requirements: Applicants must be immigrants or children of immigrants —who are poised to make significant contributions to US society, culture, or their academic field.
Deadline: October 29, 2020

Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) Trust Scholarship
RequirementsApplicants must identify as female and be currently enrolled at an accredited U.S. university or college, either full-time or part-time.  Applicants must be Juniors or Seniors in undergraduate or enrolled in graduate studies.
Deadline: November 1, 2020

Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship Program
: Applicants must be U.S. citizens, have a cumulative grade point average of 3.2 or higher on a 4.0 scale at the time of application, and pursuing a career in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Deadline: November 1, 2020

Harvey Fellows Program
Requirements: Applicants must be Christian graduate students who possess a unique vision to impact society through their fields and who are pursuing graduate studies at premier institutions (top five) in their disciplines in the United States or abroad.
Deadline: November 1, 2020

American Association of University Women International Fellowship
Requirements: Applicants must be women pursuing full-time graduate or postdoctoral study in the U.S. who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
Deadline: November 15, 2020

Navajo Nation Scholarship
Requirements: Navajo students attending graduate school.
Deadline: November 25, 2020

Yellow Ribbon Program Scholarship for U.S. Veterans

The Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs is pleased to announce the application for the Yellow Ribbon Program Scholarship, available to eligible veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces, for the 2020/21 academic year.

About the Yellow Ribbon Program and Eligibility

The Yellow Ribbon Program is 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 partial tuition waiver or grant matched by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. This program supplements the base educational benefits provided by the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

To be eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program, you must be a U.S. veteran eligible for the maximum level (100%) of benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill according to your VA Certificate of Eligibility. If you are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces and would like to learn more about eligibility for these benefits, please click here.

The Scholarship Application

SIPA is committed to honoring those who have served our country by participating in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

An application is required and will be available on Friday May 15, at noon, Eastern Daylight Time at this link. No other documentation is required.

Please complete the application no later than close of business, June 1, 2020, at which time the application will be taken down.

Additional Notes

If you received a Yellow Ribbon scholarship in the 2019/20 academic year, you need not reapply — your award will be renewed as long as you are enrolled full-time and meeting academic standards and VA eligibility requirements.

SIPA will make every attempt to fund every eligible candidate but cannot guarantee that, so funding will be on a first come, first served basis.

SIPA thanks those who have served our country and we look forward to working with you. Please email SIPA Financial Aid at sipa_finaid (at) if you have any questions.

Beware of student loan scams

From time to time, we see some bad actors preying on confusion or spreading misinformation to try to coax student loan borrowers into paying for services they are entitled to at no cost. The economic stimulus bill recently passed by Congress provides relief for borrowers by suspending payments and the accumulation of interest on most student loans in the U.S. from March 13 until September 30.

Unfortunately, some have taken advantage of this provision to start up new scams.

If you currently have a federally held student loan, all payments are suspended, and no action is necessary on your part. If you get any communication from an entity requesting payment to help you take advantage of this payment relief, it is a scam. Note that not all student loans are federally held, and if you have any questions or are experiencing economic hardships, reach out your loan servicer (the company to whom you make payments). Some private student loan lenders are offering similar relief for borrowers of privately held student loans, but that was not included in Congress’ stimulus bill. If you are an international student with student debt from outside the U.S., contact your lender or your country’s student loan agency for further instructions.

Some resources you may find helpful include this Federal Student Aid information and this post from

Know your rights as a student loan borrower! For more information, visit SIPA’s loans and federal aid page or contact the SIPA Office of Financial Aid — we will be happy to help you navigate this process.

Upcoming Fellowship Opportunities, and Next Steps for Admits

The SIPA Financial Aid Office maintains a database of external funding opportunities, and we wanted to alert students to some with upcoming application deadlines. We’ve also included some next steps for admitted students regarding financial aid. For more external scholarship awards, go to our External Fellowships and Funding Sources page.

Upcoming Scholarships

Islamic Scholarship Fund
Requirements: US citizens and permanent residents attending graduate school who have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and are Muslim or an active member of the Muslim community.
Deadline: April 9, 2020

John R. Mott Scholarship Foundation
Requirements: Graduate students native to the region of Calabria, Italy.
Deadline: April 15, 2020

Peggy Howard Fellowship in Economics
Requirements: Wellesley alumnae continuing their study of economics.
Deadline: April 15, 2020

Qalaa Holdings Scholarship Fund
Requirements: Egyptian nationals under the age of 35 who have a minimum of two years of work experience post-graduation and committed to returning to work in Egypt for two years after completing their degree program.
Deadline: April 15, 2020

Savoy Orders Piggot Scholarship
Requirements: Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, have proven financial need, strong academic performance, and have a minimum GPA of 3.00 or its equivalent. For the International Studies Scholarship, enrollment at a university within reasonable proximity of the United Nations is also required because recipients will be required to attend and report on periodic NGO briefings at sessions relating to the Economic and Social Council of the UN.
Deadline: May 15, 2020

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) Scholarship
Requirements: CHCI’s scholarship opportunities are afforded to Latino students in the United States who have a history of performing public service-oriented activities in their communities and who demonstrate a desire to continue their civic engagement in the future.
Deadline: May 22, 2020

R.D. Sethna Scholarship
Requirements: Loan scholarships to students who are citizens of India, regardless of community, caste or creed. Loan scholarships are granted to enable students to undertake scientific, technical, industrial or commercial studies in India and overseas on the condition that they are repayable with interest in terms of the agreement and other documents required to be entered into and executed by applicants and their guarantors. Only those applicants who have passed at least the Secondary School Certificate examination or other equivalent examination and who have secured not less than 50% of the total marks in the last examination given by them prior to the making of the applications are eligible to apply for a loan scholarship.
Deadline: May 31, 2020

Houtan Scholarship Foundation
Requirements: Students from all origins – Iranian and non-Iranian – who have high academic performance and proven interest in promoting Iran’s great culture, heritage, language and civilization. The candidates for the award must demonstrate leadership ability and the desire to make a difference in the society where they reside.  Applicants should have a working knowledge of Parsi.
Deadline: June 1, 2020

For Admitted Domestic SIPA Applicants: Financial Aid To-Do List

All admitted applicants who were offered direct funding by SIPA were notified at the time of admission. In addition, all domestic admitted applicants who submitted a FAFSA have been notified of additional student loan and/or Work Study options, and that is an ongoing process as FAFSAs are received.

Your next steps will be emailed by the Office of Financial Aid. Please be aware the following action is required upon receipt of your full financial aid package by the financial aid team via email:

  • Accept any fellowship offered by SIPA – this should be done by the time you pay your enrollment deposit by May 1, and;
  • Accept or decline student loans and/or Work Study (if you have completed your FAFSA and notified by SIPA of loan/Work Study eligibility) – this can be done at any time, but if you want these financing options available at the start of the fall semester, you should do this by about July 1;
  • Loan borrowers must complete the one-time federal requirements Direct Loan master promissory note and entrance counseling
  • If you have been offered a Work Study job, you will be notified by the Work Study Office over the summer with instructions about finding an available job. Work Study jobs are University-wide, many students will not have a Work Study job at SIPA.

NOTE: If you’re a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and haven’t submitted a 2020/2021 FAFSA yet, you should do so as soon as possible so that we can provide you with information about loans and Work Study.  Columbia University’s school code number is 002707.

How to Choose a Graduate School

So now that you’ve submitted your graduate school applications, it’s time to start thinking seriously about choosing a school (after taking a much deserved break, of course). Most of you have applied to several schools, and all of the major schools of international affairs and public policy have so much to offer. How can you possibly decide? I certainly had a tough time with this decision two years ago so I’m going to discuss my decision making process in hopes of making this time just a bit easier for all of you!

  1. Determine your priorities

The first step is to determine your priorities. This is different for everyone, and there is truly no right answer. The specific course offerings, employment outcomes, financial aid opportunities, location, culture, class size, faculty, name recognition, and rankings are just some considerations that students may prioritize. Determine what is most important to you and prioritize those factors in your decision. It is often helpful to discuss these priorities with friends, family, or mentors.

  1. Compare courses and faculty

Of course, the majority of your time in graduate school will be spent in or preparing for courses so it’s vital that you are taking courses that both interest you and provide you with the skills you will need in your career. I found the best way to evaluate this was to create a full semester-by-semester course plan for each school I was considering. Using excel, I inputted each required course and the electives I wanted to take at each school. This provided me an easy way to compare each program in detail. I looked at the excel sheet and asked myself which program I would enjoy most while also developing the skills I would need in my career. In the end, the variety of electives and world-class faculty in international security, cybersecurity, and technology policy, the moderate amount of quantitative coursework, as well as the wide array of skills-based courses (and short courses) available at SIPA won me over.

  1. Location matters

Location has a huge impact on your access to employers, cost of living, and social life, but the most important factor is fit. You’ll be here for at least two years of your life, so you want to ensure you’re in a place that’s right for you. The best way to determine this is to visit the schools you’ve been admitted to. Explore the neighborhood, go out to eat, tour campus, and talk to current students about the quality of life. While I had been to NYC many times before and knew it was a place I wanted to live, attending SIPA’s Admitted Student’s Day assured me that Columbia and NYC would be a great fit for me. I can’t stress enough the importance of visiting campus, sitting in a class, and exploring the city.

  1. Cost

Finally, the least glamorous but still vitally important factor is cost. Research the cost of each school and then make a plan for how you will pay for graduate school. Review the SIPA Financial Aid page for information on costs and additional funding opportunities. You should also check out this blog post on Completing Your FAFSA and Budgeting by SIPA’s Associate Director of Financial Aid.

Choosing a graduate school is an intensely personal and difficult decision. While everyone’s decision making process is different, I found that going through the process I’ve described here enabled me to choose the program that was the best fit for me.

"The most global public policy school, where an international community of students and faculty address world challenges."

—Merit E. Janow, Dean, SIPA, Professor of Practice, International and Economic Law and International Affairs

Boiler Image