Student Housing Essentials
The University Apartment Housing (UAH) inventory consists of apartment shares and dormitory-style rooms. There are also a limited number of studio/efficiency, one bedroom, and two bedroom units for which priority is given to couples and families. Most student housing is located within walking distance of the campus in the Morningside Heights neighborhood. Students are also housed in Manhattan Valley, just south of Morningside Heights. Additionally, students are housed in Riverdale, Bronx, at The Arbor, which opened in 2008. (Shuttle service to and from The Arbor is provided.)
For more information, see Types of Accommodations.
- Eligibility for University Apartment Housing (UAH)
- Information for Couples and Families
- How to Apply for Student Housing
- Disability Housing Accommodations
- Housing Allocation and the Role of the Schools
- Housing Assignments
- Signing a Rental Agreement, Key Release, and Moving In
- Gas, Electricity, Cable, Telephone, Ethernet, and More
Eligibility for University Apartment Housing (UAH)
UAH houses students enrolled in the following schools or programs provided they meet outlined criteria:
- Graduate schools located on the Morningside Campus
- School of General Studies
- First year transfer students enrolled in the School of Engineering's Combined Plan Program
- American Language Program Students - ALP students must contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request ALP Housing. ALP students do not apply for housing online.
Criteria for Housing Eligibility
- You must receive a housing allocation from your school to be eligible for student housing. UAH also has a waitlist for students who do not receive an allocation. Students on the waitlist are housed only after all students with an allocation are offered an accommodation. Not all students on the waitlist will be housed.
You must maintain full-time registration to remain in housing. Students who are part-time/half-time, who are on a leave of absence, or who have withdrawn or graduated are not permitted to live in UAH-managed housing.
Your housing eligibility is based on your original course of study. If you change programs, or decide to stay at Columbia for another degree, you will require a new housing allocation from your new school or program. If you do not receive an allocation from your new school/program, you must vacate student housing.
A student whose first date of registration was five or more years ago is no longer eligible to apply for housing.
Length of Time in Housing
In general, student housing is limited to the length of the degree program.
GSAS MA students are limited to one year in student housing, starting from first date of registration. Students in certain programs may be eligible for an additional semester with approval from the school.
PhD students are limited to five consecutive years in student housing, starting from first date of registration. PhD students may request an additional one or two years for a maximum of seven years. Any extension beyond the fifth year must be approved by the Dean.
Information for Couples and Families
Limited Availability of Couple/Family Housing
UAH is unable to provide housing to accommodate friends or relatives other than, in very limited number, spouses/partners and dependent children. Couples' housing must be prioritized for those couples that have previously lived together and/or shared finances. Required documentation of couple and/or family status is detailed below. Those without sufficient documentation are not eligible for such housing.
Transferring into Couple/Family Housing
Because demand for couples' housing exceeds the supply, students who are still in their first year of housing are not eligible to apply to transfer into couples' housing. Students may apply to transfer into couple's housing during the second year of housing through the General Transfer Processes. Please plan accordingly. Documentation of couple and/or family status will be required. Those without sufficient documentation are not eligible for such housing.
How to Apply for Student Housing
In order to receive housing from the University, a student must:
- Apply for housing, prioritizing preferences for accommodations. Housing applications should be submitted according to the information and deadlines provided by the school. See How To Apply.
- Be approved for a housing allocation by his or her school. See Housing Allocation and the Role of the Schools. Students who do not receive an allocation are placed on the housing wait list.
- Satisfy all eligibility criteria. See Eligibility for University Apartment Housing (UAH), above.
Please note that a housing application is only valid only for the term for which it was originally submitted. If you do not receive housing or decide to defer your admission, please submit a new housing application.
Continuing students may also apply for housing but are generally placed on the housing wait list.
Housing Application Deadline
Submit your housing application according to the instructions provided by your school. In general, each school or program has its own deadline by which you must apply in order to be considered for a housing allocation.
Disability Housing Accommodations
Accommodations are provided for students whose disabilities substantially limit their ability to live in Columbia's traditional housing units. Students must follow the University's Disability Housing Accommodations Procedures & Guidelines and submit the required form to Disability Services for consideration by the University Disability Housing Committee. Students must be otherwise eligible for University housing in order to be eligible for disability housing accommodations. For complete information regarding this process please visit the Disability Services Web site, or contact Disability Services.
Deadlines: June 1st for fall semester; November 1st for spring semester. While applications submitted after these dates will be accepted and considered, Columbia cannot guarantee that it will be able to meet late applicants' accommodation needs, including any needs that develop during the semester.
Wien Hall, 1st Floor Suite 108A
411 W. 116th Street, MC 3714
New York, NY 10027
Phone Voice/TTY: 212 854 2388 Fax: 212 854 3448
Housing Allocation and the Role of the Schools
Each school is allocated a specific number of spaces each year. To receive a housing assignment, you must first be approved by your school. The housing liaison of your school or program can provide information on the housing approval process. All other inquiries regarding housing assignments, policies, and procedures should be addressed to UAH directly.
For spring, this process begins late November and concludes by the end of December. For fall, the application approval process begins in mid April and concludes mid July.
To monitor your application and assignment status, log in to My Housing Portal and select the applications tab.
The number and type of student housing units available for rent at any given time varies throughout the year. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that students will be housed in accommodations that satisfy their first preference in terms of type, location, price range, or move-in period.
Offer of Accommodation
Students approved for housing will be made one housing offer. Notification will be sent by email. In order to accept the unit, you must make the payment as directed in the offer and select a move-in date. Offers expire after five days.
In general, student apartments are not available for viewing prior to move-in because they are either occupied or under renovation. We do not provide photos of units.
Depending on the type of housing assigned, the payment required will either be one month's rent and a security deposit equal to one month's rent OR a $1,000 Room Reservation Deposit. These are payable by either credit card or debit card.
No refunds of any payments will be given if you accept an offer and later decide to not move into the unit.
Declining Your Offer
If you decline the offer, or if you do not make the required payment within five days, the offer will expire and the unit will be reassigned. If at a later date you want University housing, you will need to reapply and will be placed on the housing Wait List as a continuing student.
Signing a Rental Agreement, Key Release, and Moving In
Most students sign a standard New York City apartment lease with some modifications, and are billed monthly for their rent by the University Office of the Controller. For all dormitory-style rooms and a number of other student apartments leased by the University, students sign contracts. Rental fees for these units are billed in full by semester and charged to the Student Financial Services (SFS) account.
Accepting an Offer, Appointments for Signing Agreement, and Moving In
Accept an offer and pay housing fees - You will select a specific move-in date and make an appointment to sign your rental agreement once you accept the offer.
Schedule an appointment - Appointments for signing rental agreements may be scheduled for Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:15 a.m. and 3:30 p.m, availability permitting. The UAH office is not open on Saturdays, Sundays, and University Holidays.
Sign your housing agreement at the UAH leasing office - Students sign agreements on the move-in date and are responsible for rental charges from that date on. If your move-in date has changed, log in to My Housing Portal to make the change or contact the UAH office for assistance. Provide two passport size photos of each occupant, and, if applicable, photocopies of your passport and documentation of couples and/or family status. *See Below.
Pick up keys - Once a rental agreement has been signed you will be authorized to pick up keys from the superintendant. Move-in may take place Monday through Friday before 4 PM when building staff are on duty. In general, most building staff are unavailable between 12 and 1 PM.
- Are utilities included? Please review the offer in your housing portal for more information.
- Rental agreements cannot be mailed or faxed and keys cannot be mailed.
- Keys will not be provided nor move-in permitted before the rental agreement is signed.
- No deliveries will be accepted prior to move-in. Plan your arrival accordingly.
- Your lease or contract must be signed in the presence of a UAH employee and can only be signed by the tenant of record. Only the tenant of record may sign the rental agreement and make rent payments.
- It is not possible to move in on weekends, after 4 p.m. on weekdays, or on University designated holidays.
- Moving hours are Monday through Friday between 9 AM and 4 PM. Furniture may not be moved during non-business hours.
*To sign a rental agreement you must bring:
Two (2) passport size photos of yourself, as well as two photos each of your partner and children, if applicable.
Social security number or, if not available, your passport to be photocopied by UAH.
Documentation of couple's status and/or family status, if applicable. See below.
Required Documentation of Couples and/or Family Status
The availability of housing for couples and families is limited and must be prioritized for those who already live together and share finances. Those without sufficient documentation are not eligible for such housing.
Documentation of couples' status (marriage or domestic partnership) includes ONE of the following items:
- Documentation of marriage or domestic partnership.
- Joint mortgage or lease.
- Documentation showing, for a period of at least six months prior to the application for housing, an actively used joint bank account, joint credit account, or joint ownership of a motor vehicle.
- TWO items documenting that the applicant and his/her partner have resided together at the same address for a period of at least six months prior to the application for housing (such as drivers' license, voters' registration, utility bills, etc.).
Documentation of family status must include one of the following:
- Birth certificates.
- Other documentation that dependent children reside with you.
Documentation must be translated into English and all translations must be notarized.
See this link for information on additional forms that are typically required when signing a rental agreement in New York City.
Heat and hot water is included in all rents. Please note that in units where utilities (gas and electricity) are not included, an additional cost of approximately $70-$150 a month per apartment (not per person) should be anticipated.
Information about the availability of Columbia Ethernet service access can be found on the Columbia University Information Technology (CUIT) Web site. (The housing offer will indicate if Ethernet charges are applicable.)
Coin or card operated laundry facilities are available to all UAH tenants.
UAH tenant information for new and current residents can be found on our Web site. See Tenant Information Guide.