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Columbia Undergraduate Startup Internship Fund (SIF)




Columbia Entrepreneurship and the Center for Career Education are pleased to announce the Columbia Undergraduate Startup Internship Fund (SIF) for summer 2017. The Startup Internship Fund (SIF) is specifically designed to encourage undergraduate (CC, SEAS, GS) students to accept a quality unpaid or low paid internship at a high growth, innovative startup company that will help them explore opportunities in the startup sector while alleviating some of the financial burden associated with unpaid or low paid internships. For the purpose of this program the term startup will be defined as a company that has been in existence for 5 years or less, is growing quickly but whose ultimate success is far from assured. Please note that this definition is not limited to technology companies and can be applied to a variety of industries—for profit or not for profit.

Depending on the student’s application and budget form, a maximum amount of up to $5,000 can be awarded

Institutional funding through this program is made available with the sole intention of supporting students’ living expenses (such as housing, food and travel expenses).  This support enables students to participate in unpaid or low paid opportunities.  Funding is not provided in lieu of compensation for work and supervisors are required to acknowledge in the Employer Verification Form that participating organizations are compliant with the US Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and other applicable state and local legislation.


Currently registered Columbia College, SEAS Undergraduate or General Studies students who meet the following criteria are eligible to apply:

  • A rising sophomore, junior, or senior in good academic and disciplinary standing with at least a 3.0 G.P.A.
  • A recipient of Columbia grant-based financial aid. Please check with your school's financial aid office to confirm you are eligible. 
  • Secured an unpaid or low paid internship at a startup for summer 2017 prior to the application deadline.

Applicants who do not meet these criteria and incomplete applications will not be considered. Please note, by submitting an application, you authorize the Center for Career Education to conduct academic, disciplinary and financial aid checks to confirm program eligibility and inform funding decisions. Certain University policy violations may disqualify you from consideration for the SIF program.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 11:59 pm.


Visit our application page for more information


Wednesday, March 1, 2017
SIF Committee begins accepting applications.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Application deadline - all applications for the Startup Internship Fund 2017 program must be submitted through the online SIF application by 11:59 pm. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

April 26, 2017

Applicants will be notified of their status in the program (accepted or declined). 


The SIF has limited availability, and the application process is highly selective. The fund has been made possible thanks to the generosity of Columbia College. Undergraduate students selected as Startup Internship Fund grant recipients must commit to the following:

  • Professional Development Webshop (the link will be shared in your offer letter) - This "Internship Success" workshop will help students learn important skills and tips to succeed in their internships including how to initiate projects and responsibilities, work on a team, communicate with their supervisor and network.
  • Formal written reflection from student - Students will write a thank you letter/reflective essay to their donor(s).
  • Budget reconciliation - Students will provide a detailed account of their summer expenses.

Important Information for Students Planning Overseas Opportunities

In accordance with the new Undergraduate International Travel Policy all students* traveling overseas through a Columbia led, Columbia facilitated and/or recognized program must submit a school sponsorship application 4-weeks prior to departure.**

Once you have received confirmation of your school sponsorship, log in to the Undergraduate Travel Web App to complete:

  • Online Pre-Departure Orientation
  • Sign the Assumption of Risk, Waiver, and Release form

Additionally, all students must:

  • Register your travel (including side trips) through International SOS
  • Confirm that, while abroad, you will be covered by a health insurance policy that also provides coverage outside the United States for routine, urgent and emergency care.

It is critical that you thoroughly familiarize yourself with the Undergraduate International Travel Policy and complete all steps outlined above. For related questions, contact

*Graduate students participating in a Columbia led, Columbia facilitated and/or recognized program such as CUGO and STEP are also required to complete a school sponsorship application. This policy does not replace any additional requirements from a student’s home school. Graduate students, including Columbia Engineering graduate students, are encouraged to check in with their home school prior to finalizing any travel arrangements.

** Students applying to CCE funding programs with overseas opportunities MUST apply for school sponsorship by April 12th (the funding program application deadline). Submitting a school sponsorship application does not guarantee CCE funding. Similarly receiving CCE funding does not guarantee approval of your school sponsorship application. Please note that school sponsorship applications related to CCE funding programs will not be approved unless the student receives a CCE funding award. Students who submit a school sponsorship application and do not receive a CCE funding award must withdraw their school sponsorship application unless they are also part of the CEO, STEP, or CU GO programs. In those cases, sponsorship applications should not be withdrawn.