Columbia University will be accepting six CUNY students and providing them with free rides. Photo: Erick Berlanga/Columbia Daily Spectator

​​Columbia University Announces Fellowship for CUNY Students

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Columbia University and CUNY have launched a new joint fellowship open exclusively to CUNY students.

The Columbia SPS CUNY Fellowship will provide full tuition coverage for six CUNY students in pursuit of a full or part-time master’s degree at the Columbia University School of Professional Studies for the 2024-25 academic year.

Launched in early February, the Columbia SPS CUNY Fellowship aims to provide CUNY graduates with the abundant tools and resources found at Columbia to help them enact local, state, and global innovative change.

“CUNY has a proud history of providing social mobility for generations of families and lifting New York City,” said Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, chancellor of CUNY, in a press release published on Columbia’s website. “We are grateful to Columbia University School of Professional Studies for recognizing our talent by creating a fellowship exclusively for CUNY students and we look forward to more partnerships with private institutions to strengthen New York.”

The School of Professional Studies offers applied professional master’s degrees, certificates, and Certifications of Professional Achievement. Their 18 master’s degree programs range from Applied Analytics and Nonprofit Management to Narrative Medicine and Sustainability Science.

The fellowship’s webpage states, “Students who are first-generation college students with financial need or members of a group that is traditionally underrepresented in graduate education and have demonstrated strong academic potential are strongly encouraged to apply.”

Zelon Crawford, senior associate for student affairs at Columbia University, said that CUNY fellows will have access to “skill development workshops, peer tutoring services, and wellness support” to help them transition from their alma maters to the Ivy League university.

The Columbia SPS CUNY Fellowship is an extension of the universities’ joint efforts to give CUNY students opportunities for professional development after they graduate. Introduced four years ago, the Queens College/Columbia University Dual Degree Engineering Program offers specialized courses and research opportunities with faculty from Columbia University for admission into the Columbia School of Engineering.

The Honors Hall aims to help students apply to the most competitive fellowships. Rebecca Baron, QC’s scholarships and fellowships specialist, helps students throughout the essay writing process and shares resources and tips directly from the fellowship committees.

“Post-undergraduate fellowships can be helpful for a variety of reasons — from gaining necessary knowledge and skills for future careers, adding prestige to your resume, giving experiences to pull from for future interviews, and, in some cases, off-setting the costs of graduate and PhD education,” Baron said.

She told The Knight News that she would be eager to help students apply for the Columbia SPS CUNY Fellowship and future fellowships.

Baron, who received her Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University, explained that her master’s degree was “instrumental” in her career due to the vast internship opportunities afforded through Columbia, a well-resourced private institution.

“Gaining exposure to a variety of different professionals and organizations not only gave me the hard skills needed to be a social worker, but the networking opportunities helped when it came time to apply for jobs,” she said.

Applications for the Columbia SPS CUNY Fellowship are due June 1, 2024. Applicants also must apply for and be accepted to a School of Professional Studies Master’s Program.

“We know this fellowship may be life-changing for some students. Be authentic in your responses in your application,” said Crawford. “We want to hear your personal stories, what motivates you, how this fellowship will impact you, and how you plan to give back to the Columbia, CUNY, and NYC communities.”

To learn more about the Columbia SPS CUNY Fellowship, students can attend a virtual information session and are encouraged to review their applications with Rebecca Baron in the Honors Hall, Room 20.


  1. Natalie, this was a very well written article. You did the research and spoke with the appropriate personnel both at Columbia and Queens College, providing important information for prospective fellows. Nice job!

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