Fall Letter to New Students

Learn about important requirements that new Columbia University students must complete before the Fall Semester begins.

Welcome to Columbia University! 

During the course of your study, there are many administrative departments working behind the scenes to support the student community. These departments have important requirements you need to complete before classes begin. 

Review the information provided in this email, then visit the New Student Resources page at our Student Service Center website for more detailed information and requirements to ensure your smooth transition to Columbia.

Getting Started

Columbia continues to remain vigilant in response to COVID-19 and adapt campus policies to reflect the shifting realities of the COVID pandemic. To stay aware of the latest guidelines and public health protocols, you can refer to the University's COVID-19 Resource Guide

Email is an official means of communication with students at Columbia. As a new student, you have been assigned a University Network ID (UNI) that consists of your initials and a number. The UNI is your login ID for most university systems and is also part of your e-mail address ([email protected]).

If you have not already done so, please activate your UNI and set up your Columbia email address by visiting the Manage My UNI page. 

After you have activated your UNI, visit our [email protected] page to log in to your Columbia email and learn how to set it up on your computer, phone, and other devices. Be sure to check this email account regularly for important messages from your school, faculty, and administration. 

Some new students will receive ID Cards at Columbia Housing during Check-In. Your ID Card is your key to residence halls, dining venues, and other campus locations.

Due to physical distancing efforts and to provide the ID Center with sufficient time to print and deliver your ID card to your school, new students are REQUIRED to upload their own photos. Please upload your photo by August 1, 2022 prior to your arrival on campus. Failure to upload a photo may result in move-in delays. Your ID card WILL NOT be available at the ID Center for pick-up. New students receive their ID Cards upon arrival during check-in or your ID Card will be provided during orientation by your School. 

Student Financial Services (SFS) will generate the first Fall 2022 Student Account Statement and it will be emailed to you on Monday, August 15, 2022.  The payment deadline is Friday, September 16, 2022.

Please visit the SFS website (Unpaid Bills) for more details regarding outstanding balances to the university. This statement details your anticipated tuition and any other charges and anticipated credits. An anticipated statement will show an amount you owe that may change between when this statement is generated and the statement due date of September 16, 2022. Please monitor your account activity in Student Services Online (SSOL), the student portal, so you are aware of your balance owed and any changes to the Amount Due provided to you on the first statement.

You can visit the SFS website, Find Tuition and Fees, to verify the charges on your account based on your School’s tuition and fee structure. The university does not produce paper bills and you will receive an alert at your [email protected] address from [email protected] reminding you that your electronic billing (E-Bill) statement is ready.

Visit the Bills & Payments Basics section of the SFS website for guidance on completing the actions below.

  • Log in to Student Services Online (SSOL) to see your statement, view your student account details, and make your payment using the QuikPAY online billing system. You will also use SSOL to access and update your personal information, register for courses, check your class schedule, review financial aid information, and review or download statements.  
  • Use QuikPAY, our secure e-billing site, to make payments that are credited to your student account. You can pay by eCheck or wire, or you may enroll in the payment installment plan. Follow the instructions on the SFS website. Columbia University does not accept cash or credit cards as a payment method. Please note that checks sent by mail are discouraged due to extended delays in mail service, which can result in holds or late fees applied to your account if the payment is not received by the due date. Please allow for sufficient time (approximately two weeks) for mailing and processing if you mail a check or have a payment sent from a college savings plan.

To help you manage payment of your tuition and fees, we offer a flexible, low-fee monthly payment plan integrated with your student account via SSOL. We strongly encourage you to sign up early for the plan so your initial payment can be as low as possible. The later you enroll the higher the initial down payment, since the first payment when you enroll  covers the balance of any earlier missed payments. Enrollment beyond the first month in January will result in less time over the term to pay the balance and higher overall payments to cover the balance due. You are required to enroll in the payment plan each academic year (Fall and Spring) or each academic term.  The plan does not carry over into the next academic year or academic term.  

The payment plan is designed to adjust on a schedule when you change your registration, update meal options, make payments, or if new charges or grant/scholarship adjustments are applied to the account. Any charges that are not included in the payment plan are expected to be paid by the due date. You will receive notifications to re-balance the payment plan when you are over or under the actual balance owed on the account.  You can log into your student account on SSOL to make these adjustments. Please ignore the re-balance notification on scheduled payment plan withdrawal dates as the system has not registered the payment. Learn more about the payment plan.

E-Check payments or payment plan agreements must be made online by 10:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Friday, September 16, 2022.  Please visit the SFS website (Unpaid Bills) for more details regarding outstanding balances owed to the university.

Immunization Requirements

New York State public health law and University policy requires all students, regardless of the number of course credits, to submit immunization records before they are permitted to register for classes.  

Documentation is due upon admission or at least 30 days prior to a student’s scheduled registration date. Compliance must be confirmed before the Registration Hold is lifted on class registration.  

  1. Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) 
  2. Meningitis ACWY vaccine decision
  3. Up-to-date COVID-19  
  4. Seasonal influenza (administered on or after August 1 of the prevailing season) - required for Spring registration. 
    • Columbia Health provides seasonal influenza vaccinations with no out-of-pocket costs for students during the Fall term.

International students unable to access one or both vaccine doses before accessing campus will be supported. Check the University COVID-19 website for more details.

Compliance with all vaccine requirements must be confirmed before the hold is lifted on class registration.

How to Submit Documentation

Visit the Immunization Compliance page for instructions on completing the immunization requirement. 

Do NOT Send documents to the Student Service Center. 

Please allow at least 15 business days for processing. All forms are processed in the order in which they are received.  Columbia University does not expedite processing of forms. Any delays in submitting will result in significant registration delays.

Health Insurance Requirements

Domestic Students

Columbia University requires all registered full-time domestic students to have health insurance.

Full-time domestic students must confirm enrollment in the Columbia University Student Health Insurance Plan (The Columbia Plan) or request a waiver at least two weeks prior to September 30, 2022. To request a waiver, you must provide documentation of enrollment in another plan that meets the University’s coverage criteria. Waiver requests are considered, but approval is not guaranteed.

Part-time domestic students are encouraged, but not required, to have health insurance. Part-time domestic students can opt to enroll in the Columbia Plan, which requires payment of the Health and Related Services Fee to access on-campus health programs (more information about the fee below). 

International Students

All international students (full-time and part-time) are required to enroll in the Columbia Plan to ensure that they have access to the highest quality of care both on- and off-campus while studying in the United States. On a limited case-by-case basis, international students may be considered for an exception to the insurance requirement. Details on eligibility and requirements are found on the Columbia Health website.

Students may confirm enrollment or request a waiver or exception starting on July 15, 2022.

Take action before September 30, 2022 to ensure coverage and avoid unintended fees.

For students on the Morningside and Manhattanville campuses, the premium is $4,189 for coverage during the period from August 15, 2022 to August 14, 2023. Note that enrollment confirmation as well as waiver or exception requests must be completed annually.

Optional Vision and Dental Insurance for All Students

All registered students are eligible to enroll in the optional vision insurance plan and dental insurance plan regardless of health insurance provider. Learn more about the plan and how to enroll at the Aetna Student Health website.

Student Health History Form

All incoming students are expected to complete the online Student Health History Form on the Patient Portal (Medical Clearances section) prior to your arrival on campus. It includes medical information that is pertinent to ongoing care, particularly around current treatment and prescriptions. Columbia Health does not share this information, or any other information about your health, without the student’s written permission unless required by law.

Columbia Health and Related Services Fee

All full-time students, international students, and part-time students who are on the Columbia University Student Health Insurance Plan are required to pay the full-time Columbia Health and Related Services Fee. Half-time or part-time students pay a reduced fee and have access to some, but not all, of the services.  Half or part-time students may elect to upgrade to the full-time fee to access the full range of on-campus programs and services. For details on the fee levels, please visit the Columbia Health website.

For full-time students at Morningside, the fee will be $654 per semester.

To ensure that your address is correct, please visit SSOL. To update your address, follow these steps:

  1. Go to SSOL.
  2. Log in using your UNI (University Network ID) and password.
  3. Go to “Addresses: View and Update.”
  • You are required to provide a local address on your student profile in SSOL to ensure communication and accurate delivery of stipends or refunds that are mailed.

In case of a serious emergency on campus, we also encourage all students to sign up for voluntary text message notifications. To sign up, click on “Text Message Enrollment” from the SSOL main menu. You may also choose to designate a family member or other emergency contact to receive Columbia’s emergency texts. Please note that the University only uses this system to communicate with you in the event of an emergency (as well as a twice-yearly system test). Columbia will not send you text communications through this system for any other reason. 

Visit the Preparedness website for further instructions and additional details on just-in-case emergency preparedness. For quick access to all emergency services, students can download the Lion Safe app on their Apple or Google device.

Understand Your On-Campus Dining Options with Columbia Dining

A Columbia Dining plan makes eating on-campus convenient and nutritious. If you haven’t registered for a dining plan yet, visit the Columbia Dining website to sign up. Dining plans are made of meal swipes and Dining Dollars, and some plans also offer Flex. Dining Dollars and Flex can be added to your account through SSOL and can be added without a Dining Plan. Learn more about Dining Dollars and Flex. Any Flex dollars added to your account will appear on your student account as an additional charge.

Support for Students with Food Allergies, Special Diets, and Nutrition Concerns

Menus across all our locations are labeled to identify major allergens and ingredients so students can quickly determine whether a food item is safe for them. Students with a dining plan can meet with Columbia Dining’s Registered Dietitian, Alexa Gandra, to address individual questions and concerns. Contact Alexa at (212) 854-3353 or [email protected]

  • The Office of the University Registrar hosts Vergil, a web application that brings together in one convenient location all the information you need to effectively plan your course enrollment for the semester.

Best wishes for the coming year!