2020 Funding Your Graduate Education in International Affairs
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Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs
Helping Students Make a Long-Term Investment in Their Future
At Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), administrators make this pledge: They will do their best to ensure that the price tag doesn’t prevent students from pursuing their passion—and their long-term professional objectives.
They acknowledge the expense of attending Columbia and living in New York City, but underscore that students who choose SIPA are those who see the real value in a degree from a top-ranked school uniquely devoted to global public policy.
“Our student body is diverse in every way possible, including socioeconomically,” says David Sheridan, SIPA’s director of financial aid. “With careful financial planning, there’s enough assistance available. We are really committed to the idea that, if you want to study here, you can do it.”
Indeed, SIPA has nearly doubled its financial aid budget over the past eight years, to $12.5 million, while enrollment has remained steady at 1,300 to 1,400. Students also receive $1 million to $2 million a year in aid from other Columbia departments.
The main sources of assistance are SIPA’s own fellowships, awarded based on a combination of merit and need, and federal loans.
SIPA also has stepped up assistance because of the coronavirus pandemic. In 2020–2021, the school will add at least $700,000 in one-year grants for incoming students.
Today, SIPA graduates work in more than 145 countries as leaders in government, nongovernmental organizations, think tanks, and top organizations spanning varied industries—including consulting, global finance, energy, technology, and media.
Wielding Private Capital for Public Good
Zachary Hanson worked for the US Foreign Service early in his career, but also knew he wanted to pursue a graduate degree—so he saved enough to cover 20 percent of his total costs at SIPA. Hanson, originally from Princeton, MN, paid for the rest by combining a SIPA scholarship, a federal loan, a series of internships, and a teaching assistantship.
)))That investment, coupled with his experience as an intern for the Rockefeller Foundation and a summer associate for the International Finance Corporation—both enabled by SIPA—paid off. Hanson, Master of Public Administration in Development Practice ’19, received four job offers and accepted the one from the private-equity infrastructure fund manager Infrared Capital Partners. “If I had not gone to SIPA and gained those skills, there’s no way I would be qualified for the job that I’m doing now,” he says.
Financial Aid Office
- 2020 Funding Your Graduate Education in International Affairs
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