In spring 2021, Columbia University announced a four-year, $1.4 billion commitment to increase student financial aid across the University. As part of that commitment, SIPA is excited to be launching the SIPA Student Support Initiative – an effort to make a SIPA education more accessible by offering critical financial aid to our most promising students, including those from historically underrepresented backgrounds. With your participation, SIPA can provide increased funding to more students, attracting the best and brightest candidates from across the globe, improving their educational experiences, furthering their careers, and ultimately, creating a better world for all, now and in the future.

Your commitment makes a difference – impacting SIPA’s students, the School, and the world. Join alumni and friends in the SIPA Student Support Initiative and help open the gates to a SIPA education for all students.


Greater Access, More Opportunity

SIPA’s talented applicants are both highly diverse and remarkably similar. They all come to SIPA with a common drive to excel, aspiring to both understand and shape the world by engaging with global public policy issues. 

We need to do more to meet their commitment, especially with an eye to providing greater access. Our surveys indicate that, even when SIPA is their first choice, our top applicants often end up choosing to attend peer institutions that, because of more robust endowments, can offer more generous financial aid packages.

By increasing financial aid resources, together we will help make sure that the best students choose SIPA, allowing us to recruit top talent and increase diversity in our student and alumni community.


The SIPA Opportunity Challenge 

SIPA thrives on inclusion. We know that our students’ diversity makes us stronger as an academic institution, more understanding of individual differences and perspectives, and more effective at combatting racism and discrimination. And we also know that to ensure diversity, we must do more to secure access for all qualified students.

That is why, as part of SIPA’s Student Support Initiative, alumni and donors are stepping up to increase the number of endowed fellowships we can offer our students. To encourage participation, Columbia University and SIPA have committed $7 million in matching funds to double the impact of the SIPA Opportunity Challenge.

This is a game-changing moment for SIPA. By matching endowed fellowship gifts dollar-for-dollar, the Challenge offers a unique opportunity to double the impact of your philanthropy and help transform SIPA’s ability to award critical financial aid to deserving students – now, and in the future.


How the Challenge Works

Fellowship funds can be either endowed or current use, and both fund types offer distinct benefits. Endowed fellowship funds are permanently invested, increase in value over time, and provide long-term impact for generations to come, while current use fellowship funds are spent in their entirety and offer students immediate impact.

To get the maximum benefit for our students, the SIPA Opportunity Challenge is designed to encourage “blended gifts” that include both endowed and current use funds. Under the Challenge, donors who make a blended gift to create a new fellowship will receive a dollar-for-dollar, 1:1 match for the endowed portion of their gift.

For example, a minimum gift of $150,000, payable in up to five years ($125,000 endowed; $25,000 current use) will receive $125,000 in matching funds, doubling the value of the endowed fund. While the endowed fund is building to its full level, the current use fund will be granted to students annually as a named fellowship award, and the capital growth from the endowed gift will be reinvested in the endowment.  

Donors who include SIPA in their estate plans at a minimum level of $500,000 (present value) will receive a $100,000 match to endow a fellowship now, or to add to an existing fellowship fund.

Also, if you have previously endowed a fellowship at SIPA, you can enhance it with an added gift between $125,000 and $1 million (payable in up to five years) and your contribution will be matched, dollar-for-dollar. Endowed gifts by corporations and foundations as well as joint gifts by multiple donors are also eligible.


How You Can Help

By participating in SIPA’s Student Support Initiative, you are empowering SIPA students, strengthening the School, and changing the world.

In order to achieve long-term impact, SIPA’s top priority is to increase the number of endowed fellowships we can offer our students. In addition, to achieve immediate impact, we also are eager to build our reserves of current use fellowships and unrestricted annual gifts for financial aid.

Gifts of all amounts make a difference and are deeply appreciated. Here’s how you can participate.

Endow a Fellowship

Keeping the SIPA experience accessible to all students depends on strong financial aid powered by a growing endowment. By making an endowed gift, you will make a difference in the lives of dedicated SIPA students for generations to come.

Create a Current Use Fellowship

Current use fellowships are spent in their entirety and provide immediate, meaningful impact for SIPA students by helping to offset tuition costs.


Including SIPA in your estate plans is a forward-thinking way to honor your legacy and provide an enduring future for our School and our students. Learn more. 

Give to the SIPA Annual Fund

Meet a critical, immediate need for financial aid by designating your annual gift to the SIPA Student Financial Assistance Fund. The collective impact of annual gifts from many donors helps us bridge the financial aid funding gap, and makes a meaningful difference to SIPA students.

Give Now

To learn more, please contact Beth L. Mauro, Associate Dean, Office of Alumni and Development, Columbia SIPA. [email protected]