Frequently Asked Questions

Last year Teachers College awarded over $7 million of its own funds in scholarship and stipend aid and $2 million in endowed funds to new and continuing students. Most scholarship awards are made on the basis of academic merit. The SPA|NYC targets assistance to support teachers from urban schools. Scholarships are applied to tuition only and students should expect to provide additional funds for the tuition balance, medical insurance, College fees, academic and living expenses.

Since the program commences in June, students are advised to begin their financial aid application as soon as possible since it can take up to two months to process the FAFSA and other financial aid documents. In addition to the FAFSA, all students must complete a TC Financial Aid and Scholarship Application to be considered for aid and scholarship.

For more information about funding, please visit the SPA|NYC Cohort Program Financial Aid webpage.

For additional financial aid information including loans, applicants should contact the Office of Financial Aid at financialaid@tc.edu or at 212.678.3714.

SPA|NYC is part of Teachers College's Department of Organization and Leadership, has the full support of both the College and the Department, and enjoys the full resources of Columbia University.

Approximately 5,000 students are currently enrolled at Teachers College in programs leading to both Master and Doctoral degrees in fields ranging from clinical and organizational psychology to curriculum and teaching. Nearly 130 full-time faculty members teach and conduct research in the College's various departments.

Teachers College ranks consistently in the top ten graduate schools of education in the nation by US News and World Report.

All Summer Principals Academy NYC applicants must:

  • Be committed to educational equity in our nation's urban schools.
  • Possess a minimum of three years of full-time, paid teaching experience in a school setting.
  • Be committed to attending all dates and sessions of the two summers within their 14-month degree program, including most Saturdays during the first summer, as well as all orientation and Callback Weekend events.
  • Have the documented support of a cooperating administrator who will support all leadership activities and projects set forth in the Administrative Internship plan.
  • Have experience in formal and/or informal leadership roles in their school community.

 Most SPA|NYC candidates are either Public or Charter School educators (teachers, instructional coaches, assistant principals, deans, guidance counselors, etc.)

SPA|NYC’s 14-month curriculum fulfills the requirements for an M.A. and Ed.M. in education leadership (on-site classes during two summer sessions in addition to an administrative internship at the school site in the intervening academic year).

Students who currently hold a Master's degree in a field related to education may earn the Ed.M. by completing the SPA|NYC program and transferring 24 points (credit) of their previous coursework to meet the 60-point (credit) requirement for the Ed.M. degree.

Candidates who wish to apply for SPA|NYC must submit an application directly to Teachers College, Columbia University via the admissions office. To learn more about the admission requirements and process or to request information, please visit the Office of Admissions section of the Teachers College website.

Admission applications for SPA|NYC's Summer 2023 cohort can be submitted online beginning the first week in September 2022.

All candidates who pass the initial review will participate in a video interview with the Director of the program, Dr. Brian Perkins and a faculty member via the software, Zoom. 


For more detailed information on the application process, contact the Senior Associate Director of Admission, Ms. Nicole Siniscalchi at nicole.siniscalchi@tc.columbia.edu or via phone on 212-678-3730.

The SPA | NYC Program is a proven cost-effective program in terms of its return on investment. Based on the data collected on student postgraduate status update, the majority of the SPA | NYC  graduates move to leadership roles after completing the program, with identified trends of continuous progress in their career path. Established in 2005, SPA | NYC  has been known as an effective incubator for high performing education leaders across the country.

Housing information can be found here.


We do not require the GRE for the SPA|NYC program.

Our cohort model allows courses to be delivered over two consecutive five-week summer sessions and the Administrative Internship takes place during the  intervening school year, where our graduate students are already place allowing them to maintain their jobs in their current schools while earning their degree. 

Students’ studies in SPA conclude with the New School Design Project which serves as the capstone to the degree.

New York State Education Department (NYSED) has teacher certification requirements that are needed for program completion and graduation which are listed in the Office of Teacher Education.

The program seeks candidates who pursue leadership responsibilities for the ultimate goal of holistically supporting children during their learning journey. Applicants should have high self-awareness, innovative mindset, and strategic risk-taking approach. Applicants should appreciate a rigorous academic preparation and also need to work well in a cohort arrangement. They should have the ability to critically assess their own abilities and commit to continuous improvement in their own learning. Applicants should have a profound sense of integrity, a dedication for equity, and an ability to communicate their values to diverse stakeholders in their school communities. Applicants should have demonstrated leadership in their respective educational settings especially in collaborative and team-based projects. The program is especially looking for candidates who have an express desire to work in urban communities.

The priority application deadline for the 2023 cohort is January 15, 2023; the final deadline is March 15, 2023. The program reviews applications on a rolling basis; early applicants receive priority consideration.

The Summer Principals Academy | New York City (SPA|NYC) integrates practice and skill development with theory and research using case studies, simulations, and teamwork. Aspiring school leaders are encouraged to construct transformative  possibilities for student learning, school improvement, and social equity. SPA|NYC fosters leadership development through an integrated set of experiences that include building a repository of theoretical and "best practice" knowledge, engaging with problem-based coursework, and undertaking field-based internship. The following seven statements represent the core values of SPA|NYC:  

  • Quality education and ethical  leadership are central to promoting social justice and diversity;
  • Effective leadership development and preparation will enhance not only knowledge, skills, and values, but it also leads to self-actualization and sustainable fulfillment;
  • School leaders are responsible for nurturing not only the learning and growth of all members of the school community but also for nurturing their own development and wellbeing;
  • Strategic collaboration and efficient teamwork are essential to building quality learning environments;
  • All aspects of leadership development will promote the practice of intellectually and ethically reflective leadership;
  • Active and participatory learning that is rooted in actual school contexts as well as simulations and case-studies offer multiple opportunities to improve leadership skills in the SPA|NYC curriculum;
  • Innovation and risk-taking play a key role in preparing the educational leader who is capable of ushering public schools to an era of educational excellence and achievements.
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