Student Travel Fund

Introduction to Program

Sponsored by The Office of Student Affairs (OSA), the Student Conference and Leadership Experience (SCALE) program supports student leadership and professional development, while encouraging civic participation, community engagement, and professional networking. The SCALE program is available to all Columbia Mailman students interested in participating or presenting1 at regional, national, or international conferences in support of academic and/or career development opportunities in public health. Questions about the SCALE Fund can be directed to Estela Vallejo, by email at

Please see below for eligibility requirements, application processes, and funding parameters depending on whether the student will be participating or presenting.

General Eligibility Requirements and Program Guidelines

The SCALE program is accessible to all students, based on available funding, who meet the following criteria:

  • Enrolled in and actively registered for a degree-granting program at the Mailman School of Public Health (MHA, MPH, MS, PhD, or DrPH) at the time of conference participation or presentation.
  • Completed at least six credits towards a public health degree (accelerated and Dual students in their first semester with less than 6 credits will be granted special consideration for an award).
  • In good academic standing and without a negative conduct history within the University.
  • Students may be awarded only one SCALE award per academic year (from June 1st through May 31st of the following year)

Additional Notes:

  • Students must affiliate themselves with the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health when registering for the conference. 
  • Applications are due at least two months prior to the conference.
  • Funds may not be applied to another Columbia University or Columbia Mailman School of Public Health sponsored event.

General Funding Guidelines

Funds are reimbursed after the conference has concluded (see process guidelines below). Please note that funds are limited and a good faith effort will be made to equitably distribute among the Columbia Public Health students who apply. As such, there is no guaranteed amount of funding per participant or presenter. More detailed information about the reimbursement process will be included in the award letter.

Application Process

Applications for the SCALE program are submitted online and are due at least two months prior to the conference start.

Students will be prompted to upload the following materials while completing the electronic form:

  • A conference announcement, flyer, or itinerary. A printout of the homepage for the conference website is acceptable.
    • A link to the conference webpage is also requested
  • A detailed budget proposal of expected costs
  • Applicants must utilize the Non-Profiled Payee Travel and Business Expense Worksheet provided Columbia Travel & Expense. Information on completing the form are available here.
  • Applicants must provide an annotated list of any additional outside funding sources (confirmed or potential). I.e., any other supplemental funding sources (e.g., department funding, conference scholarship, department award, etc.)
  • Review additional application materials for Conference Presenters and Conference Participants below.

Review Process

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. 

Conference Presenters

Additional eligibility guidelines

  • Students must be a major contributor to an oral or poster presentation being given at a public health conference and must be presenting.

  • The material on which the presentation is based must emerge from research done while a registered student at the Columbia Mailman School.

Additional application materials

  • An official letter or email from the conference confirming student authorship or contributions to the presentation/poster. (Instructions on saving an email as .pdf can be found online.)

  • Copy of Presentation or Poster (an abstract is acceptable)

Funding parameters

Funds may be available to cover registration, travel, meals, lodging, poster printing, and additional expenses not covered by other funding sources. International conferences are typically reimbursed in an amount ranging from $700 to $1000. National and regional conferences are typically reimbursed in an amount ranging from $200 to $500.

Conference Participants

Additional eligibility guidelines

Students must have written support from a Columbia Mailman School faculty member, advisor, or administrator who can attest to the following:

  • Expected benefit of attending the conference

  • The student's leadership experience

  • The quality of the student's academic/professional work

Additional application materials

  • Letter of Support from Columbia Mailman School faculty member, advisor, or administrator.

  • A Letter of Intent describing the conference and the benefits of attending.

Funding parameters

Funds may be available to cover registration and travel only. Conferences may be reimbursed in an amount up to $500.