Scholarships to Support Your Education

The Columbia School of Social Work makes every effort to assist students with funding their education by offering scholarship assistance.

  • Each year, we award partial tuition scholarships to eligible students who have submitted a FAFSA. Many of these awards are made possible by the generous donations of alumni and friends who are committed to cultivating the next generation of social work professionals.
  • In 2017–2018, 88 percent of full-time MSW students received scholarships, ranging from $5,000 to $20,000.
  • Although scholarships are awarded for one year, most are renewed for second-year students, as long as they maintain their eligibility.
  • Additional competitive scholarship and fellowship opportunities are available for second-year students as well as for Advanced Standing students.
  • The Office of Financial Aid also regularly emails students notifications about available scholarships from sources outside the university.
  • Questions about how this works? Contact the Financial Aid Office by email at swfinaid@columbia.edu, by phone at 212-851-2293, or by clicking here to make an appointment.

Need-Based Scholarships at CSSW

The Columbia School of Social Work awards scholarships, typically ranging from $5,000 to $20,000, to full-time students who demonstrate financial need. Scholarship awards are usually renewed in the second year of study, as long as certain eligibility requirements are met. To qualify for a need-based award, you must be:
  • enrolled full-time (at least 10.5 credits) and in field education;
  • a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or eligible non-citizen; and
  • in good academic standing.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used to determine your scholarship eligibility; you do not need to submit any other materials. Students who receive the general scholarship award as part of their initial financial aid package may have this award exchanged for a named award prior to or during the fall term. These endowed awards were created from generous donations by CSSW alumni and friends:
  • Mary Powell Scholarship to Promote Social Responsibility
  • Ethel Lucas Mathiasen Memorial Scholarship
  • Myrna I. Lewis Endowed Scholarship
  • Helen Lehman Buttenwieser Scholarship

Competitive Awards at CSSW

The School offers several competitive scholarships and fellowships for students who are entering their final, or advanced, year of study. If eligible, you will be invited to apply via an email from the Office of Financial Aid. Award recipients are generally notified by the start of the fall term.
  • Paige E. Cook Jr. Fellowship: Awarded on the basis of academic excellence; preference given to those with a career interest and work experience in substance use, world of work, men’s issues, and cross-cultural issues in clinical practice.
  • Benjamin and Agnes Louard Fellowship: Awarded based on academic excellence and leadership potential; preference given to full-time students who are committed to employment in the public, voluntary non-profit sector or in local grassroots groups serving primarily, but not restricted to, an African-American population.
  • Overbrook Fellowship for Advanced Study in Clinical Social Work: Awarded on the basis of leadership potential; preference given to those pursuing clinical social work.
  • Mae L. Wien Prize in Family Planning, Counseling, and Population Control: Awarded for academic excellence; preference given to those pursuing careers in family planning, counseling, and population control.
  • Honjo International Scholarship Foundation Scholarship at CSSW: Supports annual scholarships to CSSW students who demonstrate an interest in, and past commitment to, furthering U.S.-Japan relations through their program of study and/or related activities.
  • Fisher Cummings Washington Fellows Program: Provides an enriching educational and professional experience for final year Policy Practice students who aspire to be leaders in social policy, administration, and community practice at the national level. Fellows complete their final placement as a block field placement at a federal agency or nongovernmental organization in Washington, D.C. Fisher Cummings Fellows who qualify for financial aid will receive additional scholarship aid as part of their fellowship program.
  • Lowenstein Loan Repayment Fellowship: Awarded to graduating students to assist with the repayment of loans borrowed while at CSSW. Applicants must demonstrate need and have taken out at least $20,500 in loans in their final year at CSSW.

Columbia-Wide Graduate Student Funding

Columbia University offers other sources of funding to graduate students, including language-study stipends and research-based fellowships or grants. In addition to those listed below, the CSSW Office of Financial Aid will notify students via email when other University-sponsored funding opportunities become available.
  • Interschool Fellowships: Interschool fellowships are need-based institutional awards that are not restricted to students in one Columbia school or college. Annual amounts range from $1,000 to $5,000. These scholarships have highly specific criteria, which students can read about here.
  • Institute for the Study of Human Rights: The Human Rights Essay Contest and Colloquium aim to encourage and acknowledge students who have written exceptional academic papers that address issues related to human rights.
  • European Institute: The European Institute offers summer travel grants to master’s students to support research and unpaid internships in Europe.
  • School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA): The International Fellows Program at the School of International and Public Affairs is a two-semester seminar open to students of all graduate degree programs at Columbia University. All fellows receive a stipend and study an international affairs curriculum. Weekly meetings of the International Fellows Program are supplemented by study trips to Washington, D.C. and the United Nations.
  • Weatherhead East Asia Institute (WEAI): WEAI offers summer and academic year funding for graduate and professional school students who have language and/or research interests in Asia.
  • Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS): In affiliation with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS), ILAS provides grants, scholarships, and fellowships to Columbia University graduate students with language and/or research interests in Latin America. For instance, the Lemann Foundation Interschool Fellowship provides financial assistance to master’s students with a commitment to addressing crucial development challenges facing Brazil, such as public health and education. Read about other awards here.

Non-Columbia Scholarship Opportunities

Other awards are available to MSW students from outside sources.
  • A number of our students have been successful in applying for funding opportunities offered by, or compiled by, our accrediting body, the Council on Social Work Education.
  • Although international students generally don’t receive scholarships/gifts from the School, our Office of Financial Aid has compiled a list comprising government agencies, private organizations, and websites listing funding opportunities for MSW students from overseas.

Hear from Your Peers

CSSW students talk scholarships.