Columbia University Student Housing | How to Get a House at Columbia University

Being an undergraduate in a renowned institution and having a roof in a residential place where you have all the peace that you can get are two worlds apart. This is exactly why you should choose Columbia University Student Housing.

There is barely any type of accommodation you wouldn’t find for students at Columbia because it is guaranteed at its fullest for undergraduates.

Owing to this, nearly all the students prefer to live on-campus for the entirety of their stay in college and while it is appealing to experience what the residential life at Columbia is, you also get the chance to try out the flexible options there is within the vicinity.

In the campus’s heart, you’d find apartment buildings, townhouses, duplexes, and classic New York brownstones which are all a brisk walk away from the typical corridor and suite-style residence halls.

As a student, this article will guide you through getting Columbia University Student Housing at the prestigious Columbia University.

About Columbia University Housing

Living in a Columbia housing resident hall is an important element of the Columbia undergraduate experience.

It provides a safe and supportive atmosphere for students to achieve their academic goals while also bonding with other students and adjusting to independent life on campus.

As an undergraduate, if you make your intentions known to live within the campus and remain registered as a full-time student, you will stand a better chance to have accommodation through Columbia Housing.

The building where the first-year undergraduates begin their student lives at Columbia University which is also called; the ‘South Lawn’ is surrounded by a popular library, a Lerner hall, the Columbia health offices and all three of Columbia Dining’s main buildings.

As a student who is new to the city, you will benefit much from staying in a very convenient location.

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Eligibility for Columbia University Student Housing

To be eligible for the Columbia housing, you must be a full-time student offering a housing-eligible degree program on the Morningside campus and in one of the schools or programs that you will find in the list below:

  • Business
  • Engineering (graduate programs)
  • Graduate School of Agriculture, Planning, and Preservation
  • The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • School of General Studies
  • The School of International and Public Affairs
  • Social Work
  • The School of professional Studies (Master’s students only)
  • The School of the Arts

However, housing is not available to students who enrol for executive programs.

What is the Length of Time in Housing for Students?

Basically, student housing at Columbia University is available for a minimum of one semester; either fall or spring. And, it is only available for the duration of the degree program.

There is no provision for short-term housing at Columbia Residential. Starting from the first day of registration, master’s students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences are limited to just a year of student housing.

And, with the agreement of the school, students in certain programs may qualify for an additional semester.

The PhD students, however, have a limit of five years in the student housing but, they may request an additional one or two years to get themselves seven years.

It is expedient to note that a request for an extension beyond the fifth year requires the Dean’s approval. Regardless of when the degree is given, PhD students must vacate lodgings within 60 days after defense.

What are the Requirements for Being Eligible for Student Housing?

The list below are the requirements that qualifies you for a student housing.

  • Obtain a housing assignment from your school or wait till you become a choice from the waitlist
  • To remain in housing, you must maintain a full-time enrollment
  • If you change school, you must re-apply or vacate in toto
  • You may only be identified as a resident or partner of a resident in one university apartment at a time.

Step-by-Step Guide on how Room Selection Works at Columbia University

It is a norm for current undergraduates to choose on-campus accommodation for the next academic year during what we can tag; ‘Room Selection’.

This culture of selecting a room happens once in a year and students can make their choice from a plethora of accommodation options available.

That is why we are providing you with a step-by-step guide on how it works so you acquaint yourself with the processes.

#1. Where do you Intend to Live?

Take a thorough look around the structures in the Columbia student housing and consider what type of living scenario is ideal for you.

This may also be the best time for you to make a proper selection on who you want to live with in the coming year.

Do yourself some good by attending informative sessions and take tours of the facility.

#2. Recognise Eligibility Issues

Devote your time to learning and understanding more about room selection eligibility and check if there are special considerations for rising sophomores and study abroad students.

Also, check if there are considerations for special students in the disability services.

#3. Schedule your Calendar Properly

Make a calendar of critical dates and deadlines. Missing a stage in the process could jeopardize your chances of getting on-campus accommodation.

#4. Pick a Group Leader

Decide on a Group Leader if you plan to form a group. As a group, have an open and detailed discussion about where you want to live and where you don’t want to live.

During the selection process, the Group Leader will make a decision on behalf of the entire group.

#5. Register for the Room Selection Process

Whether or not you plan to change location in the next academic session, there is a need for you to register.

In fact, it is a MUST that you do so as it informs the student housing authority of what your intentions are towards your housing status.

#6. Get a House

It’s time to pick a room! Individual students or groups will be assigned a lottery number and an appointment time after registration closes.

Students can choose from a variety of options throughout their appointment time. Make sure you sign the Occupancy Agreement after you’ve chosen your accommodation.

However, your task is not complete until you and all members of your group have completed the Housing Portal Agreement.

What is the Cost of Attendance at Columbia University?

The cost of a Columbia education varies depending on your individual circumstances, so we recommend that you utilize our cost estimator tools to plan for your educational expenses with the most up-to-date information.

Below is a representation of what a typical cost of attendance will cost you.

  • Tuition and fees: $63,530
  • Room and board: $15, 450
  • Books and personal: $3,605
  • Total cost of attendance: $82,585

Note that the room and board figure only applies to first-year students who live on campus for the whole academic session.

However, students who do not live on-campus will get a $4,000 off-campus living allowance to help with living and technology costs.

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How do I Pay for my Student Housing?

If you have accepted a housing offer, you can pay for your student housing through Students Financial Services.

Columbia residential charges a monthly fee for student living as it appears on your student account for the following month.

Following the housing agreement, you are required to make payment on the first day of the month.

Also, you enjoy some benefits when you make payments through the Student Financial Services. See some below.

  • It provides you with a plethora of payment options which includes; online check, wire transfer, and in-person payments.
  • Instead of a full month’s rent as a security deposit, a $750 pre-payment will apply to the first month’s bill.
  • Ability to view and manage all university financial commitments through an online account.

How do I Move in to My New House at Columbia University?

Prior to moving into your new student housing, there are set rules you must know and follow through to make your moving in fast and hitch-free.

They are as follows;

  • When you accept your housing offer, there is a need for you to plan a move-in appointment as soon as possible.
  • You must schedule your move-in between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm from Mondays through Fridays.
  • Residents who arrive after 4pm will not be permitted to move in that day and as such, find other means of having a roof until the next business day.
  • Changes in appointments must be requested at least 15 days in advance of the intended move-in date. Once the housing agreement is signed, changes to the agreement start/appointment date are not possible.
  • On weekdays, your major moves and pickups should be complete.

Remember to keep the above in mind while planning your trip and give enough room for some baggage recovery and local transportation to the campus.


The Columbia housing guide to living provides a complete summary of the set rules and regulations that you just follow as a student while living in the Columba university student housing.

Also, you will get to know more about the advantages and services that you can access while living on campus. I hope this article provides you with everything you need to know about getting student housing.



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