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 Carlos Correa, by email at

In compliance with University Travel restrictions, all Columbia-related travel is currently suspended. The Mailman School of Public Health is unable to providing funding for activities where travel is required. If your conference involves travel, we are unable to provide any funding. We are able to provide funding for virtual experiences. Email the Office of Student Affairs with any questions.

*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 available to all students 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.

Additional notes:

  • Students must affiliate themselves with the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health when registering for the conference. 

  • Some grant recipients will be asked to submit an entry to the Student Voices blog maintained by the Office of Communications. More detailed information regarding this process will be provided at the time of the award.

  • 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 will be equitably distributed 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.

Funding for travel (plane and or rail)

Award recipients who would like their travel (plane and or rail) to be covered by SCALE funding, must have their travel coordinated and booked by the Office of Student Affairs. Award recipients will receive instructions on booking travel with their award details. Travel not booked by the OSA is subject to being rejected for reimbursement.

Application Process

Applications for the SCALE program are submitted online via Engage 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 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. Applications submitted by the 15th of the month will be reviewed for a decision by the first business day of the subsequent month.

Conference Presenters


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

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


  • 1) 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.)

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


Funds are 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 $1100. National and regional conferences are typically reimbursed in an amount ranging from $200 to $700.

Conference Participants


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


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

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


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