Is on-campus housing available for graduate students?
Yes, housing on-campus is available for our graduate students but it is extremely limited. Housing is made possible through an online application through University Apartment Housing (UAH).
What are the specifics of the on-campus housing application process?
The online application becomes available in late October for Spring term housing and in late February for Fall term housing. There is no housing application available for the summer. Students interested in applying for housing must contact the Office of Graduate Student Services for the application.
What is the likelihood of getting on-campus housing?
On-campus housing is extremely limited and the majority of Engineering graduate students find housing elsewhere. Those applying for the Fall term have a greater probability of obtaining on-campus housing than those who apply for the Spring. Priority is typically given to incoming doctoral, track and funded students; however, we cannot guarantee housing for any population of students.
How are the housing approvals made?
Since priority is given to incoming doctoral, track and funded students, the housing approval process typically begins with these populations. If space is still available, approvals for other applicants will be made taking into account factors such as, but not limited to:
Academic department recommendation
Time of housing application
Time of admission deposit
Typically, housing approvals for the Fall term will begin in late April and continue through mid July. Students that have not been approved by the school will be automatically waitlisted and eligible for the UAH waitlist process which will begin in late August. Spring Term approvals will begin in mid-December and continue through early-January.
Is there anything I can do to increase my chances of getting housing?
Incoming students are reminded that your housing application will not be considered until we have received your Admission Response Form and Admission deposit confirmation. International Students must have received their I-20 from ISSO before housing application will be considered.
Does it matter if I selected single or couples housing or direct versus in-person selection?
Your preferences for housing that you indicated on your application are not a factor for the school’s housing approval process. The only exception to this is that Spring term housing applicants seeking couples housing may be declined if UAH has capped the number of approvals for couples housing (as Spring term units are more limited).
If I am not approved for housing, what kind of assistance is available?
Columbia University has the Off-Campus Housing Assistance Office which aids in assisting students to secure off-campus housing by providing guidance as well as an off-campus housing database. The database is accessible by a separate username and password that students can contact the Office of Graduate Student Services for. Additionally, the Office of Graduate Students Services provides supplemental short and long-term housing options that are available in New York City.
What if I am approved for housing, but decline, can I give my space to another student?
Students who decline a housing offer from the school, relinquish all right to that allocation for that term, as well as future terms. Subsequently, the school also loses the right to that allocation and is unable to award that housing approval to a fellow engineering student. Because of this, we encourage students to only apply for housing if they are absolutely sure they need it and will take the unit assigned.
What if I am approved for housing, but decline, can I reapply for another term?
All full-time students are eligible to apply for housing. Students that were previously approved that declined a housing offer from the school will not automatically receive housing if they reapply in the future. Housing is not guaranteed.
What if I am approved for housing, but I am unhappy with the unit available?
If you decline the offer, you lose your housing approval. We encourage students to take the unit available. UAH does have a transfer process for housing twice a year that is available for students wishing to reside somewhere other than their current unit. Transfer application restrictions do apply. Please review UAH webpage or contact UAH for details. Applications for the transfer process are not guaranteed.
What is I was approved for singles housing, but in the future would like couples housing?
Plan ahead! Students who reside in single housing where their significant other or dependants are to later join them, must proceed through UAH transfer application process. Transfer application restrictions do apply. Please review UAH webpage or contact UAH for details. Applications for the transfer process are not guaranteed.
How do I know if I am considered a “New Student” or “Continuing Student”:
You are a new student if:
…you never studied at Columbia before.
…starting a brand new degree/academic departmental program.
You are a continuing student if:
…you are continuing on with the completion of a degree program.
…you graduated with your MS but have recently been admitted to a higher degree level of the same department/program.
Do “New” or “Continuing” students get priority for housing?
New incoming students generally have priority over continuing students. This is because most continuing students have had some time to become acclimated to the area and are better suited to getting around in NYC and finding available off-campus housing.
Are there conditions that need to be met to maintain my on-campus housing status?
Yes, students approved and residing in on-campus housing should be aware of the following:
You must maintain full-time student status (12 credits per term) during the academic year in order to maintain your student housing.
Housing is granted for a maximum of 5 years or the length of your original admitted degree program (whichever is less).
M.S.-Track and/or Ph.D. students who are enrolled in the degree program beyond the maximum housing limit must petition to request a housing extension. The student's faculty advisor must submit a letter outlining the status of the student's academic progress and timeline as to when the doctoral degree will be completed. This letter must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Student Services at the beginning of the fifth year in housing. An extension may be granted for a maximum of one year at a time, renewable annually at a maximum to the seventh year.
M.S.-only students approved for housing are not automatically guaranteed housing if they later apply to an advanced degree beyond the M.S. level (i.e. Ph.D. program). You must reapply for housing as a continuing student for the term in which you will begin your new degree level.
Students approved for housing and then later change or are admitted to a new academic department within SEAS (i.e.. Mechanical to IEOR) are not automatically guaranteed housing for their new program. You must reapply for housing as a new student for the term in which you will begin the new academic program.
Students approved for housing who later failed to graduate for their designated term are not automatically guaranteed continuance of housing. These students must contact the Office of Graduate Student Services regarding extensions.
Students who request and are approved for a Leave of Absence relinquish their housing through UAH. Student must vacate the assigned unit, and reapply as a continuing student upon their return from an approved leave of absence.
Students who withdraw or are withdrawn relinquish their assigned unit through UAH and must vacate as instructed by UAH.
Students who will be graduating will be required to relinquish their assigned unit through UAH at the end of the term and must vacate as instructed by UAH. Plan ahead!