Housing Portal

Student Housing Essentials

The Columbia Residential inventory consists of apartment shares and dormitory-style rooms. There are also a limited number of studio/efficiency, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units prioritized for couples and families. Most 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 Columbia Residential

Columbia Residential houses students enrolled in the following schools or programs provided they meet outlined criteria:

  • American Language Program
  • Business
  • Engineering (Graduate)
  • Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation
  • Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • School of the Arts
  • School of General Studies
  • School of International & Public Affairs
  • School of Professional Studies
  • Social Work

Students enrolled in executive programs are not eligible for housing.

Not Mentioned Above?

Criteria for Housing Eligibility

  • You must receive a housing allocation from your school to be eligible for student housing. Columbia Residential 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 Students who are part-time/half-time, who are on a leave of absence, or who have withdrawn or graduated are not permitted to live in housing. Permission to remain in housing while enrolled part-time will not be given unless approved by the Office of Disability Services.
  • 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.
  • You may only be listed as a resident in one University apartment at a time, whether as a resident or partner of a resident. You cannot apply as a new resident if you currently live in Columbia Residential.
  • 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. PhD students must vacate housing within 60 days of the date of defense.

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Information for Couples and Families

Limited Availability of Couple/Family Housing

Columbia Residential is unable to provide housing to accommodate friends or relatives other than, in very limited number, partners and/or dependent children. If both partners are students and are both eligible for housing, only one application will be considered and one offer given (if approved).

In order to move into couple or family housing, the following documentation must be presented at the Columbia Residential office at the time of the move-in appointment:

  • Photo ID for each resident
  • Birth certificate for each dependent child (if applicable).
    Families with dependent children 18 & over must show proof that each child is a legal dependent. A legal dependent is defined as a child under the age of 19 (or under 24 if enrolled as a full-time student).
  • Partner and/or dependent children must be present at the move-in appointment. If partner is not present at move-in, resident must provide proof of partner's arrival within 30 days. If such proof is not provided, student will not be permitted to move in. Only the partner listed in the original housing application may live in the unit.
  • Partner and/or children must move in and complete Housing Compliance within 30 days of resident's move-in date; failure to comply with these regulations may result in a reassignment or the termination of the housing agreement.
The Housing Compliance Form asks students to agree to the terms of Columbia Residential couple or family housing:
  • Students must notify Columbia Residential immediately of any change in couple or family status and agree to be reassigned or vacate should their status change. Failure to report this change in status could result in a housing reassignment, immediate termination of the housing agreement, and/or other administrative penalties.
  • Only the partner listed in the original housing application may move into the unit.
  • Students' partner and/or dependent child(ren) must live full-time in the unit immediately upon signing the agreement and receiving keys.
  • Partner and/or dependent child(ren) have no independent right of occupancy and must vacate upon termination of the housing agreement or their relationship to the student, whichever occurs first.
  • Students agree to furnish any further documentation that Columbia Residential may require regarding their status.
  • Any false or misleading statements made may result in the cancellation of the housing agreement.

Transferring into Couple/Family Housing

Students may apply to transfer into couple housing through the Transfer Process. Availability is limited and transfers are not guaranteed. If approved to transfer into couple or family housing, students will be required to sign the Housing Compliance Form and agree to the terms of Columbia Residential couple or family housing, listed above.

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How to Apply for Student Housing

In order to receive housing from the University, a student must:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 waitlist.
  3. Satisfy all eligibility criteria. See Eligibility for Columbia Residential, 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. Keep in mind that students may submit up to two applications per semester; subsequent applications will not be considered.

Continuing students may also apply for housing but are generally placed on the waitlist.

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. 

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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 documentation to Disability Services for consideration by the Disability Housing Committee. Students must be otherwise eligible for housing in order to be eligible for disability housing accommodations. For complete information regarding this process please visit 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. 

Disability Services

Disability Services
Columbia Health
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 Columbia Residential 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.

List of Housing Liaisons

To monitor your application and assignment status, log in to the Housing Portal and select the applications tab.

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Housing Selection and Assignments

Beginning with the Spring 2019 semester, students approved for housing may self-select a room or apartment that best fits their needs. Approved students will be invited to participate in self-selection rounds, for either single, group, couple or family selection, when they will review a list of available units (including address, apartment number and building amenities) and rank three choices. At the end of that day's selection rounds, participants will receive one housing offer.

  • Single Selection: for single students who wish to select from dormitory, apartment share or limited studio units. Single students must choose from the SINGLE STUDENTS tabs on the unit list.
  • Group Selection: for single students who requested specific roommates. Groups must choose from units labeled Groups Only in the GROUP UNITS tab on the unit list. Roommate requests cannot be guaranteed and are dependent on the availability of an appropriate unit. Those who wish to live together must request one another in the application. All group members must be approved for housing at the same time. Groups of 2 must choose from studio, 1-bedroom or 2-bedroom shares. Groups of 3 must choose from 3-bedroom shares. Gender-inclusive roommate requests may be accommodated in 2-bedroom shares only.
  • Couple Selection: for couples who wish to move into studio or 1-bedroom units. Couples must choose units labeled Couples Only or Couples & Families Only, from the COUPLES & FAMILIES tab on the unit list.
  • Family with Children Selection: for families with children who wish to select from 1-bedroom or 2-bedroom units. Families must choose units labeled Couples & Families only or Families only, from the COUPLES & FAMILIES tab on the unit list.

Fall 2019 Self-Selection Round Schedule

Approved students will receive an email on the notification date including the date and time of the assigned selection round and instructions for participating.

Kindly note, we can accommodate a limited number of students each week for housing selection, so you may not receive your assigned selection round schedule the same week you are approved by your school for housing. Round schedules are sent every Friday for the following week, between April 1 and July 26.

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 before the offer expires and select a move-in appointment.

In general, student apartments are not available for viewing prior to move-in because they are either occupied or under renovation. If an apartment is vacant, prospective residents may view the unit assigned to them during viewing hours (Monday - Friday, 9 - 11:30 AM or 1 - 3:30 PM) with authorization from the housing office. Please contact us to confirm whether the unit is vacant and viewable.

We are not able to provide photos of units. Also note that while it is unlikely that it will occur, the University reserves the right to change your assignment at any time prior to the execution of your rental agreement.


A $1,000 Room Reservation Deposit will be required to accept an offer, payable by credit or debit card. This deposit is credited to the Student Financial Services account after move in.  

No refunds of any payments will be given if you accept an offer and later decide to not move into the unit, unless you inform Columbia Residential in writing by that semester's deadline. For more information, please review Reservation Fee.

Declining Your Offer 

If you decline the offer, or if you do not make the required payment before the expiration date indicated in the offer, 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 waitlist as a continuing student.

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Accepting an Offer, Signing the Housing Agreement, and Moving In

  1. Accept an offer and pay $1,000 reservation deposit & schedule move in appointment

  2. Sign the Housing Agreement
    The housing agreement will be sent by email 14 days prior to move in date through DocuSign. Agreement start/appointment date changes cannot be accommodated within 14 days of move-in. Appointment changes must be requested at least 15 days prior to the scheduled move-in date.
  3. Pick up keys & Move in
    Please review Moving In for more information.

More Information

  • Are utilities included? Please review the offer in your housing portal for more information.
  • Keys cannot be mailed or picked up by anyone other than the tenant of record, after the housing agreement has been signed and processed.
  • No deliveries will be accepted prior to move-in. Plan your arrival accordingly.
  • It is not possible to move in on weekends, after 4 p.m. on weekdays, or on University designated holidays.
  • Please note: Move ins and key pickups may be scheduled Monday - Friday, 9 AM - 3 PM (excluding holidays). Weekday moves and key pickups must be completed by 4 PM. Students who move items outside of these hours wil be charged $50 per hour. 

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Gas, Electricity, Cable, Telephone, Ethernet, and More

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.

As appropriate, students should contact Con Edison (800) 752-6633, Spectrum (855) 243-8892 and Verizon (212) 890-2350 to arrange for services.

Information about the availability of Columbia Ethernet service access can be found on the Columbia University Information Technology (CUIT) Web site

Coin or card operated laundry facilities are available to all Columbia Residential tenants.

Please review Tenant Information for new and current residents.


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