Columbia Financial Aid and Educational Financing

Work Exemption Program

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Thanks to WEP I was able to spend a year working at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. With WEP, I was given the opportunity to make connections between the laboratory experience and my academic studies. Financial struggles should not prevent you from seeking great opportunities.

Elodia C
Elodia C

The Work Exemption Program is designed to enable financial aid recipients to take advantage of unpaid experiential learning opportunities. Accepted program participants receive a Columbia Grant to support their pursuit of unpaid internships, research projects, and community outreach, locally, nationally, and internationally.

WEP grants offset the earnings a student would be expected to contribute towards their educational expenses from paid work. WEP grants do not fund the unpaid opportunity itself, but instead are applied towards the Fall and/or Spring Student Account balance.

Please note that acceptance to WEP is not guaranteed. There is a competitive application process with a GPA minimum and essay/recommendation letter requirements.

Residential Advisors, scholars, and some recipients of outside scholarships may not be eligible to apply for the WEP Grant. We recommend speaking with a Financial Aid Officer prior to applying to discuss individual eligibility.

WEP Applications


  • Spring 2022 WEP: Tuesday, January 18 at noon


See the Center for Career Education’s Website for application requirements.

Other Questions?

Non-financial aid application questions can be emailed to