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Columbia University Scholarship for Displaced Students in New York. (Full Scholarship)

The United Nations (UN) estimates that more than 70 million people are currently living as refugees or asylum-seekers, or have been internally displaced due to wars and natural calamity – the largest such population in human history. A significant number of these individuals have had their education interrupted, severely impacting their potential for future success. 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 full tuition, housing, and living assistance while pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees across all 18 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.


This scholarship program is for foreign nationals with refugee status living anywhere in the world, or who have received US asylum or submitted a US asylum application, are in the US under Temporary Protected Status, or are Internally Displaced Persons. There are no age restrictions on the scholarship.

Types of Displacement

Refugee Asylee Asylum Seeker Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Internally Displaced Persons (IDP)

Participating Schools with Graduate Degree Programs

College of Dental Medicine

College of Physicians and Surgeons

Columbia Business School

Columbia Journalism School

Columbia Law School

Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

School of Engineering and Applied Science

School of International and Public Affairs

School of Nursing

School of Professional Studies

School of Public Health

School of Social Work

School of the Arts

Teachers College

Participating Schools with Undergraduate Degree Programs

Columbia College School of Engineering and Applied Science School of General Studies Barnard College

Scholarship Benefits

Full tuition, plus student’s housing and living expenses, for the number of terms necessary to complete the student’s degree.

This is a competitive scholarship with limited awards per school, so students may be accepted to Columbia and not receive funding through the scholarship. Acceptance to an academic program does not guarantee funding, through the scholarship or otherwise. Degree program application fees can be waived in extraordinary cases by e-mailing CUSDS@columbia.edu at least two weeks before the student plans to submit their degree application



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