Archive for international student

What I wish I knew as an international applicant

Graduate admissions is competitive. Even the most proactive and organized applicants need help with their resumes, essays, and financial aid applications. Add the complexities of being an international applicant, and the whole process can become intimidating. Read More →

International Student Funding: some resources for your search

If you are an international student, you may be faced with some challenges in identifying funding sources available for studying in the US. But each year, approximately half of SIPA’s students are international, and each of them has found their own way to meet the costs associated with furthering their education overseas.

As you are probably aware, SIPA offers a number of scholarships for first year students, and scholarships and assistantships for students in their second year of study. All of these awards are available to international students. All applicants for admission are automatically considered for funding during their first year, and all interested students should apply for second year funding during the application period (typically early in the spring semester). Some international students borrow student loans from private lenders while studying here (loans from the US Government are not available to international students). For more information and a list of lenders that international students at Columbia University have had success with, click here. Please note lenders require international students to have a US citizen or permanent resident as a co-signer.
SIPA’s Financial Aid Office has an extensive database of external funding opportunities; while it is not designed only for international students, it does include many awards available to international students, and that is a criteria by which you can search the database.

We also recommend that students thoroughly investigate all forms of assistance from government or private sources in their own countries. Many international students at SIPA have been supported by their governments, employers or other agencies while studying here. There are also resources available from entities in the United States and elsewhere that may be helpful, and the following websites contain information that may be of use to international students seeking funding (and it’s not too early to start looking now for second year funding opportunities):

Gift Provides $10 Million Endowment for Financial Aid at SIPA and GSAS

If you haven’t been following SIPA News on our website, you may have missed the announcement about the gift we just received from Kathryn W. Davis that will financially support a few SIPA and GSAS students each year.  This is especially great news for incoming international students who would benefit from these scholarships.

The late Kathryn Wasserman Davis ’31 GSAS, ’97 HON, a visionary philanthropist made a bequest of $10 million to support international graduate students at Columbia. This generous donation will provide significant fellowship funding to students at SIPA and GSAS each year beginning in 2014-15.

Ms. Davis, who died earlier this year, had a long and remarkable record of philanthropy that included extensive support not only for higher education but for environmental charities and humanitarian projects worldwide.

The young Kathryn Wasserman earned a BA at Wellesley, an MA at Columbia, and, at a time when few women did so, a doctorate in political science from the University of Geneva. Russia long held special interest for her, inspiring her book, The Soviets at Geneva: The U.S.S.R. and the League of Nations, 1919-1933. Having traveled extensively with her family as a young woman, she remained a dedicated globetrotter after her marriage to the late Shelby Cullom Davis ’31 GSAS, an investment banker, philanthropist, and former ambassador who died in 1994.

In giving tens of millions of dollars to institutions and programs including the Davis United World College Scholars Program, Davis Projects for Peace, Columbia University, and many others, Ms. Davis sought to deepen understanding of global challenges, a cause to which she and her husband dedicated their lives. To now support students who will find solutions to the problems of today and tomorrow is both public-spirited and farsighted.

The endowment gift builds on a previous gift from Mr. and Ms. Davis, who in 1991 established one academic chair at GSAS and another at SIPA, where Stephen Sestanovich is the current Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Professor for the Practice of International Diplomacy. Their largesse strengthens the connection between GSAS, where they both studied, and SIPA.

Under the terms of the latest bequest, funds will be divided among at least 15 full-time students from Eastern Europe, former Soviet Union, China, and Taiwan. Recipients will be selected by a committee of six faculty members in consultation with the Davis Foundation.

Building financial aid resources for our students is a top priority for SIPA, and we are extremely fortunate to have supporters like Kathryn W. Davis who help ensure the School’s continued excellence. SIPA will long be grateful for her generosity.

International Students: ISSO Office

Close to 50% of the students who enroll at SIPA each year are international students (not U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents).  For some international students the transition to New York City can be a challenging one.  To help incoming international students make the adjustment to life in New York City the Columbia University International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) provides support and assistance.

One of the things that ISSO does prior to school starting is to host a series of events on campus and around the city to help make the transition to graduate study a smooth one.  There is an orientation for all new international graduate students across the university as well as a series of city tours, events, and dinners to help familiarize new students with the city and to start to develop a network of support.

To explore the events the ISSO is providing this year, please feel free to visit the ISSO activities page.

"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

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