Emergency Aid Parameters: Including COVID-19
- Awards may be given in the form of stipends (direct payments to students) or tuition credits of up to $5,000. There is a lifetime maximum award limit of $10,000.
- Processing of stipends typically takes 3-5 business days after initially posted, and with direct deposit (highly recommended), timing also depends on procedures at the student’s bank. Setting up a direct deposit account is not required, but is strongly encouraged to expedite the delivery of funds (otherwise stipends or refunds are disbursed as a hard copy check, sent through the US mail).
- The IRS has issued guidance that COVID-based emergency financial aid does not count as taxable income.
- Tuition grants are typically credited to students’ accounts 24-48 hours from the time they are initially posted.
- Decisions are final; not subject to appeal.
Student Eligibility Requirements
- Currently in residence at SIPA, enrolled in a SIPA degree program at Columbia University in New York City, and in good academic standing.
- Facing unanticipated and unforeseeable financial hardship resulting from a legitimate emergency/catastrophic event, including COVID-19.
- Exhausted all other financial resources, including loans. US citizens or permanent residents must have a completed FAFSA for the current academic year on file with the Office of Financial Aid.
- Able to provide a clear and credible plan for meeting expenses for the remainder of your enrollment.
- Ready to submit supporting documentation (translated to English, if applicable).
Emergency Aid Application
- If you meet all the requirements stated above, fill out the Student Application for Emergency Relief (SAFER). You will be directed to the same application portal used to apply to SIPA. Use your application credentials and click on forgot password, if necessary. You can reach out to our office if you have any questions.
- If you do not meet all the requirements stated above, contact the Financial Aid Office to discuss financing options. For budgeting assistance, we recommend reviewing the free resources available on iGrad.
CARES Act Funding
Given the unprecedented and unexpected continuation of the pandemic and its effect on students and campus life, Columbia University has accepted an allocation of CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds from the federal government. At SIPA, this will serve as a supplement to our existing Emergency Aid Fund. Prior receipt of SIPA emergency funds does not necessarily preclude eligibility for CARES Act funding. CARES Act funds are, as per US Department of Education regulations, only available to US citizens and permanent residents who meet the eligibility requirements for federal student aid. The law that authorized these funds limits them to living expenses such as food, rent, transportation, childcare, technology required for online courses, medical expenses, and other non-tuition expenses. Payments will be made directly to eligible students, not towards their tuition account. Those students not eligible for CARES Act funding may still apply for SIPA’s own emergency aid.
At this time, SIPA has awarded its entire CARES Act allocation. As more funds become available from subsequent appropriations to the University, the Office of Financial Aid will notify potentially eligible students. Additional information regarding the CARES Act funding, including required disclosures, may be found here.
Columbia University Student Services
SIPA students have access to a variety of services/assistance offered by Columbia University.
COLUMBIA COVID-19 RESOURCE GUIDE
The University provides information regarding the impact of COVID on campus life, services and facilities, along with healthcare information, at https://covid19.columbia.edu/.
- Offers quick reference to emergency resources including Public Safety, the Police Department, and medical care: https://health.columbia.edu/content/emergency
- Focused on advancing the well-being of the Columbia University community and the personal and academic development of students through a variety of resources and programs: https://health.columbia.edu/grouptherapy
The food pantry at columbia
The Food Pantry at Columbia is a student-run, student-managed initiative that is open to all students. Any student who has any level of food insecurity can reach out to The Food Pantry to get a disbursement containing non-perishable food such as canned-meat, canned vegetables, canned fruit, cold and hot cereal, and vegetarian options. Any information shared with The Food Pantry will remain in strict confidence.
Software Recovery from CUIT
Columbia Off-Campus Housing Apartment Database
Columbia's Off-Campus Housing Assistance (OCHA) office assists Columbia students and affiliates in their search for rental housing in the metropolitan area. OCHA manages a database known as the Housing Registry which includes available rooms and apartments in non-Columbia-owned buildings and sublets of units in Columbia-managed housing.
SIPA Career Services – Internship Program and Work-Study
Get more information on the SIPA Internship Program, internship waiver requests, international student work authorization, SIPA summer internship funding opportunities, and the Federal Work-Study program.
The Office of Financial Aid cannot assist in applying for these benefits and we have no additional information available. We will continue to provide appropriate financial resources for students as they become available.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance may be available from your state. For more information, here is an article providing some background information. Here is a link to NY: https://www.labor.ny.gov/ui/pdfs/pua-factsheet.pdf
supplemental nutrition assistance program (snap) for families
To get SNAP benefits, you must apply in the state in which you currently live and you must meet certain requirements, including resource and income limits. Recent temporary guidance from the US Deptartments of Education and Agriculture indicates that students enrolled on at least a half-time basis (6 credits per semester) may qualify if a completed FAFSA indicates an Estimated Family Contribution (end result of the formula that incorporates a student's FAFSA data) of zero, or if the student qualifies for Work Study (even if you are not currently participating in Work Study). Contact the Office of Financial Aid if you have questions about these criteria or to request verifying documentation; other eligibility requirements unrelated to financial aid apply. Additional information about student SNAP eligibility can be found here, and you can also learn more about contact information in your state by reviewing this SNAP State Directory of Resources.