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Student Opportunity Grants

We are excited to share the launch of the new Brooks School Student Opportunity Grants. This donor-sponsored funding is designed to give Brooks School students additional access to unpaid opportunities in the field of public policy and public affairs.


Students in agricultural field in Rwanda


Using Brooks School Opportunity Grant funding, four Brooks MPA students Amal Khalid, Abigail Schmitt, Maralmaa Munkh-Achit, and Songtao Duan traveled to Rwanda to participate in the Cornell SMART (Student Multidisciplinary Applied Research Team) Program. During the field visit, the students engaged with their local clients, relevant stakeholders, and conducted research to develop recommendations.

The SMART Program is a unique service learning program that brings together teams of both graduate and undergraduate students, faculty, and staff from across the university and pairs them with companies, organizations, and community groups located in developing countries and emerging economies.

Grant Areas

Race, Racism and Public Policy Grant:

The Brooks School is dedicated to confronting the role of public policy in producing, perpetuating, and addressing racism and related forms of injustice—both in the past and the present. While this goal will be supported and given priority through any of the funds listed below, this fund specific fund will directly support students’ participation in research, service or engagement opportunities aimed at tackling systematic racism within the field of public policy or public affairs.  

Research Grants:

Research experiences can be a transformative part of the academic experience, by allowing students to participate in the academic process of discovery and knowledge generation. This fund is intended for research activities in the field of public policy or public affairs. Priority will be given to student-led research costs, such as data purchases for theses or independent study. Students may also request funding to work in unpaid research assistant positions on faculty projects, but these will be reserved only for students who cannot participate in such activities otherwise. Opportunities that focus on issues of race, racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion are encouraged. Priority will be given for projects in any of the seven identified areas of priority for the Brooks School: Data Science and Technology Policy; Health Policy; Human Security; Politics and Economics of Development; Race, Racism and Public Policy; Social Policy and Inequality; Sustainability and Environmental Policy. Support of a Brooks School faculty mentor is required to be eligible for the funds.

Unpaid Internship Grants:

Internships deepen learning through the application of the Brooks curriculum, while making an impact on society. This fund is intended for students who without funding would otherwise be unable to participate in an unpaid internship. The unpaid internship experience must be in the field of public policy or public affairs. This funding opportunity is available for Brooks students participating in unpaid internships through the Cornell in Washington program and other related Cornell programs, as well as internships arranged outside of Cornell. Opportunities that focus on issues of race, racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion are encouraged. Proof of internship receipt will be required for fund distribution.

Other Public Policy Grants:

Public Policy touches all aspects of society. As a Brooks School student there are a broad range of opportunities that support your public policy education. The other public policy grant area is intended for opportunities or supports that directly apply to your success in the field of public policy and your education here at the Brooks School. Priority will be given for opportunities that promote diversity, equity and inclusion within the field of public policy.

Application and Eligibility

Any current undergraduate or professional master’s student enrolled in the Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy and in good academic standing is eligible to apply. Each funding opportunity will support multiple students across all programs. The total number of awards will depend on the size and nature of the requests. Students are encouraged to keep budgets as small as possible while still allowing themselves opportunity to complete their goals. Please note that each student is eligible for only one internship grant and one research grant during their time at the Brooks School for Public Policy.


Applicants are required to submit:

  • A 1–2-page proposal outlining how the funding will further your Brooks School studies and/or help you be successful in your professional life, describing how the proposed opportunity meets the funding purpose, and noting any specific details surrounding personal need for funding. Where applicable, please also describe how the proposed opportunity connects to the Brooks School’s goals in diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism.
  • A budgeting narrative, with a table outlining each expected expense and the total requested amount for the opportunity, as well as a brief summary of each expense and why it is justified. This should be 1 page maximum.
  • Your resume and a copy of your most current transcript.
  • If applying for internship funds, a copy of your unpaid internship offer letter.

Online applications are now open. Applications will be reviewed monthly, on the 1st of the month and students will be notified on the 15th of the month. For full consideration for summer funding opportunities, applications should be submitted by April 1, 2024.

Apply here


For questions, contact: