Student Initiative Grant

Student Initiative Grants provide support for events that bring together students, academically or socially, from various departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). Types of events supported by the Student Initiative Grant funding include, but are not limited to: academic conferences, discussion groups, social events, cultural events, and community service initiatives.


Deadlines: October 6th, 2023 (applications for Fall 2023) and February 16th, 2024(applications for Spring 2024). 

The following criteria must be met to obtain a Student Initiative Grant:

  • Groups must either be officially recognized by us OR officially representing a GSAS department, institute, or student council/ government to receive funding.
  • Funding may only be used for spending by Columbia students.
  • Events must occur in the future and cannot be funded retroactively.
  • Events have to comply with Columbia Events Policy and the expenditure should follow Expense Policy. Contact Asst. Director of Budget Planning & Finance Harold Ansah ([email protected]) BEFORE making any purchases/expenses.
  • Groups may apply for events in the Spring (or a full year of continuous events) during the Fall application cycle, however they will be given lower priority. If groups do not receive their full requested funds in the Fall, they may reapply for more in the Spring.
  • Individual student groups or departments are limited to $1000 in each academic year.
  • The grant may not be used for speakers’ honorarium, airfare, lodging or any travel fees.
  • The event should not be political or religious in nature.
  • Reimbursements must be requested within 30 days following the event for which the expenditure was used (please see below for more details).
  • A concluding report must be submitted to the Finance Chair using the Student Initiative Concluding Report Form upon completion of the grant project. Reports are due February 28th for Fall grants and October 31st for Spring/Year grants. Failing to submit a report will hinder future ASGC funding.
  • Sponsorship by the Arts and Sciences Graduate Council must be acknowledged at the event and in all publicity.
  • All sponsored events must be open to all constituents of the Arts and Sciences Graduate Council.


Please fill out the Student Initiative Grant Application Form. Please note that many of the questions have a character limit; we suggest that you write your response in a word processing program that keeps track of the character count and then paste it into the form.


Before incurring any expenses, you must contact Asst. Director of Budget Planning & Finance Harold Ansah ([email protected]) first.

Note: Columbia has a list of partner vendors from which you can make purchases without incurring taxes. Please be advised that before making any purchase orders for events, it is required to consult with Harold at least a week in advance. He will assist you in determining where you can best fulfill your requirements using the approved Columbia vendor list. We greatly appreciate your cooperation in ensuring that all purchase orders are made through our partnered vendors and using official Columbia payment methods. This policy is designed to prevent students from having to pay out of pocket unnecessarily. Additionally, please note that if purchases are made from non-Columbia vendors, we reserve the right not to reimburse any sales tax incurred as a result.

Funding is on a reimbursement basis, i.e., you must submit receipts for expenses up to the amount awarded by ASGC. This must be done by preparing a reimbursement packet of the following:

  1. The ASGC Student Initiative award letter (email).
  2. A completed Non-Profiled Payee Travel and Business Expense Worksheet (opens in a new tab):
    • The person to be reimbursed is the Payee.
    • Alcohol is considered as a separate item and should be segregated from other expenses.
    • Save as pdf.
  3. An advertisement for the event (preferably listing your name).
  4. Scanned and/or electronic receipts documenting all of the expenditures approved for the grant. Please send documents as separate files, not as a combined single document. For expenses in a foreign currency, please document how you converted them to US dollars. Receipts have to show the card holder name, last 4 of the card and the amount charged or something of that nature. Bank statements can also be used, but the charges have to be fully processed (pending charges will not be accepted).
  5. Please see the checklist before submission; for more information, see this document.

To receive a reimbursement, email the packet to Harold Ansah at [email protected] and fill out the Student Initiative Grant Reimbursement Form within 30 days following the conference.