Special Scholarships

Special Scholarships

Institutional aid from the School of General Studies includes the following special scholarship opportunities.

Osher Reentry Scholarships

Thanks to the generous support of the Bernard Osher Foundation, each year GS will award ten $5,000 scholarships to academically promising students, with demonstrated financial need, who have had a cumulative gap of five or more years in their undergraduate education. All qualified applicants for GS financial aid will be considered for this award.

Scholarships for Students from Community Colleges

Community-college students are eligible for any GS scholarship; however, the scholarships below are designed specifically for students transferring to GS from community college. Applicants do not need to apply specifically for any of the scholarships below; by completing the GS scholarship application you will be considered for the following scholarships.

Bergen County Community College Scholarship

This scholarship is designed to award excellence in academic achievement and potential for students who intend to transfer to Columbia University School of General Studies.

Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship

Scholarships are available each academic year to PTK members. PTK scholarships are typically larger than the average new student award. While reviewing applications, the GS Scholarship Committee will select students eligible for the scholarship based on academic and financial need criteria. There is no separate application process for the scholarship, but applicants for the scholarship should note their affiliation with PTK when applying.

Westchester Community College Scholarship

This scholarship is designed to recognize students who intend to transfer to Columbia University School of General Studies and who have a demonstrated record of academic success in a rigorous curriculum.

Program for Academic Leadership and Service (PALS)

The Program for Academic Leadership and Service (PALS) is a scholarship designed to provide access to a Columbia undergraduate education for students who might not otherwise be able to attend an Ivy League university.


Students do not apply specifically for PALS. To be named a PALS Scholar, a student must meet most or all of the following criteria:

  • he/she must be a first generation college student
  • be a member of a historically under-represented group at Columbia
  • have high financial need
  • have a demonstrated ability to succeed in a highly competitive academic environment
  • have a willingness to complete a leadership/service component of 30 hours per year.

PALS scholarship recipients are nominated by the Office of Admissions. The PALS Committee will review the pertinent academic and financial information of the nominees and then make a final determination.

In most cases, tuition and fees for PALS Scholars will be met through a combination of federal and state grants, work-study opportunities, and institutional scholarships. Living expenses, which are part of a PALS Scholar's overall cost of education, may be met with work-study opportunities, as well Federal Direct loans.


Continuing PALS Scholars must strictly observe all financial aid deadlines. Failure to do so may result in the loss of the scholarship. Continuing PALS Scholars are also expected to review the Document Tracking section of SSOL to ensure that all financial-aid documents have been received.

Program Requirements 

To maintain status in PALS, a student must:

  • Uphold a grade point average of 3.0;
  • Complete a semester at full-time if he/she began the semester (and was funded at) full-time;
  • Complete all necessary financial aid documents by the printed deadlines (April 15 for the GS Scholarship Application; April 30 for the FAFSA and Planned Enrollment Form); 
  • Meet regularly with a PALS advisor;
  • Document 15 hours of service to Columbia or the student's local community each semester.