The School of Labor and Urban Studies (SLU) offers various institutional scholarships to support our newly admitted and continuing students. Opportunities are available for undergraduates or graduates and are generally based on strong academic work, commitment to labor and public service, or financial need. SLU also connects students to a number of external scholarship offerings from esteemed organizations. To view our complete portfolio, click Find Scholarships above. To apply, click Apply Now and login to SLU’s Scholarship Hub. 

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SLU College Scholarships

Over the past 50 years, the demographics of the U.S. labor force have changed significantly, with dramatic increases in the number of women and people of color. The racial and gender composition of national union leadership, however, continues to lag behind the demographics of the workforce. The academic field of Labor Studies reflects a similar imbalance in the ratio of students to faculty and administrators, where women and people of color are considerably underrepresented. The Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor is dedicated to the purpose of fostering diverse and representative leadership in the labor movement and in the academic discipline of Labor Studies.

Award Amount

  • Up to 20k in tuition, fees, and other college costs for undergraduate students
  • Up to 30k in tuition, fees, and other college costs for graduate students


  • Admitted to the B.A. in Urban and Community Studies with a concentration in Labor with no less than 60 college credits credits from an accredited institution; minimum 2.5 GPA from prior undergraduate work
  • Admitted to the M.A. in Labor Studies; minimum 3.0 GPA from prior undergraduate work
  • Essay to demonstrate potential for leadership in social justice movements and/or the capacity for academic scholarship in the field of Labor Studies
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation from academics and/or practitioners in social justice movements, unions, or labor education
  • One (1) writing sample
  • Virtual or in-person interview (if requested)

The Dr. Robin Gillespie Scholarship for Labor Studies is awarded to outstanding TWU Local 100 and ATU Local 1056 members. The scholarship is named after Dr. Robin Gillespie, who was an Associate Professor at the School of Labor and Urban Studies. Not only was Dr. Gillespie deeply committed to her students, but she was also a powerful advocate for improving the lives of working people.

Robin earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Harvard University; and a master’s degree from UC Berkeley in Health Education. However, her academic journey did not stop there – she went on to obtain a Ph.D. from NYU in Ergonomics and Biometrics. Dr. Gillespie’s career is similarly impressive. She held positions as a Research Director and Senior Program Director for Health and Safety, Principal Investigator, and Occupational Safety Consultant. SLU welcomed Dr. Gillespie onboard in 2015 where she would teach Occupational Health and Safety to transit workers. Her passion for public service and commitment to education inspired her students and those who had the privilege of working alongside her.

Dr. Gillespie was a true champion and advocate for health and safety. She made significant contributions to the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and Transport Workers Union (TWU), most notably her work to make bus designs safer and healthier for operators and the public. Nationally, she led research and education projects at the National Science Foundation’s Transportation Research Board and its Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP). She was the lead author of the groundbreaking 2016 TCRP report, Bus Operator Workstation Design for Improving Occupational Health and Safety, and the principal investigator on the TCRP Project on Improving Transit Bus Operator Health, Wellness, and Retention. Dr. Gillespie was also a university-affiliated author and researcher at Hunter College and the Mount Sinai Hospital Selikoff Center for Occupational/Environmental Medicine, the site of many groundbreaking improvements for transit workers and other union members.

Award Amount

The Dr. Robin Gillespie Scholarship provides up to $1,000.00 in tuition support.


  • Must be a member of TWU Local 100 or ATU Local 1056
  • Admitted to Certificate in Labor Relations or Advanced Certificate in Labor Relations in the fall semester
  • One (1) letter of reference from a union nominating leader
  • Compelling essay

Empowering Students by Breaking Down Financial Barriers

The Tuition Scholarship provides a helping-hand to students who are committed to pursuing their educational goals. Since its inception in 2015, SLU has committed thousands of dollars to Tuition Scholarships, making college an affordable reality for individuals with imminent financial need.

Award Amount

  • Up to $1,000 per term (non-renewable; reduced by other gift aid)


  • New or continuing undergraduate or graduate students in a certificate or degree-seeking program.
  • Minimum 3-credits enrolled per semester
  • Minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA for undergraduates; 3.0 for graduates
  • Completed FAFSA
  • Compelling essay that demonstrates financial need

Supporting Student Success by Improving Movement Towards Degree Completion.

Persistence Grants provide a quick response to students with short-term economic hardship whose prior semester balance has impacted their enrollment eligibility.

Award Amount

Persistence is a one-time hardship grant to subsidizes up to 80% of past-due tuition and fees, or $1,500.00, whichever is less. Persistence only covers a portion of tuition and fees – so awardees will be required to pay whatever amount the scholarship does not. Non-payment will cause the grant to be canceled.


  • Continuing student in a certificate or degree-seeking program
  • Minimum 2.0 GPA for undergraduate applicants; 3.0 for graduate applicants
  • Overdue balance from a prior semester*
  • Demonstrate short-term economic hardship

*Prior term tuition with a balance of $0 will not be considered for a Persistence Grant regardless of hardship status. Tuition that is due for an upcoming semester will not be considered for a Persistence Grant.

Persistence Grants are opened for a limited time, so applicants will receive an e-invitation to apply when applications are available. The invitation will contain instructions to meet with an academic advisor first. Once the candidate has completed an enrollment plan, they can apply for the grant online.

Expanding Opportunities to Pursue Advanced Degrees at SLU

The Mayor’s Graduate Scholarship Program provides full-time New York City government employees the opportunity to continue their education through graduate study at accredited colleges and universities in the metropolitan area. The Department of Citywide Administrative Services administers this program. The School of Labor and Urban Studies participates in the Mayor’s Graduate Scholarship Program and will award partial  scholarships on a competitive basis.

Award Amount

MGSP pays up to $1,500 each term for the first and second semester of enrollment only


  • Employed by a New York City government agency
  • Newly matriculated graduate student in one of the following programs: MA in Labor Studies, MA in Urban Studies, Advanced Certificates in Health Care Policy and Administration, Labor Relations, Labor Studies, Community Leadership, Public Administration and Public Policy, or Workplace Democracy and Community Ownership
  • Minimum half-time enrollment
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA (recurring)

Apply for MGSP

  • Apply for admission to the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies
  • Complete the Mayor’s Graduate Scholarship Program application and submit to your personnel office by the deadline (do not submit to SLU)

Note: The completed application is screened by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services and then forwarded to SLU for review.

To obtain further information or application materials, visit: or call (212) 669-4163

All scholarships are subject to financial availability and the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies reserves the right to reduce or rescind a scholarship if financial circumstances dictate. Scholarships may not be deferred. Recipients must use the scholarship during the period in which it is awarded.