Alternative Funding Sources

External Awards

Because it is not possible to offer full grant and fellowship support to all graduate students and because of the prestige inherent in holding an award through open competition, applicants are encouraged to consider major national and international fellowship opportunities. It is important that prospective graduate students explore every available source of funding for graduate study.

In researching outside funding you may look to faculty advisers, career services offices, deans of students, and offices of financial aid where frequently you may find resource materials, books, and grant applications for a wide variety of funding sources. You must notify both your Columbia Engineering academic department and the Office of Financial Aid and Educational Financing of any outside awards that you will be receiving.

Funding for International Students

To secure a visa, international students must demonstrate that they have sufficient funding to complete the degree. Many international students obtain support for their educational expenses from their government, a foundation, or a private agency.

International students who apply to doctoral programs of study by the December 15 deadline and are admitted to a Columbia Engineering doctoral program are automatically considered for departmental funding (institutional grants, fellowships, and teaching and research assistantships, upon completion of the required financial aid forms referred to above. Spring admissions applicants will not be considered for departmental funding. Continuing international students must preregister for classes during the preregistration period and complete an enrollment status form to be considered for departmental funding.

Most private student loan programs are restricted to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. However, international students may be eligible to apply for these domestic loan programs with a creditworthy cosigner who is a citizen or permanent resident in the United States. Depending on the loan program, you may need a valid U.S. Social Security number.

Students who study at Columbia Engineering on temporary visas should fully understand the regulations concerning possible employment under those visas. Before making plans for employment in the United States, international students should consult with the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO),, located at 524 Riverside Drive, Suite 200; 212-854-3587. Their website is columbia.edu/cu/isso.