The Columbia University Scholarship for Displaced Students (CUSDS) is an effort to combat this unprecedented humanitarian and economic loss by providing displaced students with the opportunity to pursue higher education at Columbia University, one of the leading educational institutions in the world.
The Scholarship supports displaced students from anywhere in the world who are unable to complete their higher education. These students will receive up to full tuition, housing, and living assistance while pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees across all 19 Columbia schools and affiliates, reflecting Columbia’s full institutional commitment to addressing this global crisis.
As the first-ever Columbia-wide scholarship, and the world’s first scholarship of its kind, this program will commit up to $6 million in support, per cohort, for up to 30 students each year. Mentoring and support will be provided by the Scholarship, as well as by schools and student groups at Columbia.
The Scholarship aims to shift the global dialogue surrounding displaced persons, from one that views them as a burden to one that recognizes them as vital contributors to global innovation and prosperity. Currently, there is no initiative like this at any university in the world, despite the obvious desire for education on the part of these displaced student populations. The Columbia University Scholarship for Displaced Students aims to be a leader in filling this pressing humanitarian need and will hopefully encourage other universities to follow suit.
Across its first two cohorts, the Scholarship has now supported 33 students from 19 countries attending 14 schools.
This scholarship program is for foreign nationals who:
- have refugee status living anywhere in the world;
- have received US asylum or submitted a US asylum application;
- are in the US under Temporary Protected Status; are Internally Displaced Persons.
- Displaced Afghan students on Humanitarian Parole or with Special Immigrant Visas are also now eligible for the Scholarship.
- US permanent residents (green card holders, citizens, etc.) are not eligible for the scholarship. There are no age restrictions on the scholarship.
Scholarship Duration and Reward
Depending on the school and degree program,
- the scholarship may cover up to full tuition,
- plus the student’s housing and living expenses, for the number of terms necessary to complete the respective degree.
Type of Displaced Persons
Refugee – one who has been forced to flee their home country due to persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group (e.g., members of the LGBTQ community). The persecution a refugee experiences may include harassment, threats, abduction or torture. They have received official recognition as refugees by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR).
Asylee – one who is already present in the United States and has received official legal recognition as an asylee from the United States government due to persecution in their home country because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group (e.g., members of the LGBTQ community).
Asylum Seeker – one who is already present in the United States or has sought admission at a port of entry due to persecution in their home country because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group (e.g., members of the LGBTQ community), and is seeking safe haven in the United States, but has not yet received official legal recognition as an asylee from the United States government. NOTE: Applicant’s petition for asylum must have been placed prior to the time of application to the Scholarship in order to be eligible.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) – a temporary immigration status provided to nationals of certain countries experiencing problems that make it difficult or unsafe for their nationals to be deported there.
Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) – persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized State border.
Displaced Afghan students on Humanitarian Parole or with Special Immigrant Visas
Method of Application
Applicants must apply to and be accepted by one of the degree programs listed below to be eligible for the scholarship. (The application requirements and criteria for scholarship applicants are the same as for normal admissions, and students cannot receive the scholarship if they are not accepted to a Columbia degree program.)
Each school and degree program maintains their own acceptance requirements and specific application deadlines. A full list of eligible degree programs and their respective scholarship deadlines can be found below. Only degree programs listed below are eligible for the scholarship. Students will only be eligible for the scholarship if they are admitted to the degree program for which they have applied. Students will be informed regarding the scholarship only after degree admissions decisions are made.
This is a competitive scholarship with limited awards per school, so students may be accepted to their degree program and not receive funding through the scholarship. Acceptance to an academic program does not guarantee funding, through the scholarship or otherwise.