FAQ | Faculty, Staff & Postdoc Application Process

Pre-Application Questions


To be eligible to apply for housing through Columbia Residential, Faculty, Staff & Postdocs must have a full-time appointment in a position eligible for housing:

Please check the Eligibility webpage to see eligible titles

Part-time Officers are not eligible for University housing. 

Faculty, Staff & Postdocs from Mailman Public Health, Teachers College or Barnard are not eligible for university housing with Columbia Residential


  1. Accept your school’s appointment/employment offer  
  2. Activate your Columbia UNIfor incoming Faculty, Staff and Postdocs contact your Human Resources departmental administrator (DA) for UNI access. 
  3. Log into the Housing Portal and create an account with UNI. If you already have an account, please log in with your UNI. 

The UNI (University Network ID) grants you access to several important functions at Columbia University dependent on your University role, and it’s assigned to you by your hiring Human Resources office.

You will need an active UNI to apply for housing

  • PRO-TIP! When you log in with your UNI, all status updates about your housing application will be sent to your UNI email – so make sure you review your account to not miss official emails!

Without an active UNI, you cannot apply for housing. For incoming Faculty, Staff and Postdocs you may contact your Human Resources departmental administrator (DA) for UNI access or to get interim eligibility via a departmental data feed called Delegated Identity Administration (DIA). After your DA has entered your information, you will be able to activate your UNI. We recommend visiting the Manage my UNI webpage for more guidance on this.

If submitted correctly, you should receive an UNI activation email from that office.

  • PRO-TIP! Be sure to check your spam/junk folder if you do not see this activation email.

The Housing Portal is the main hub where our residents can access housing information. For example, Faculty, Staff & Postdocs can apply for housing, transfers, schedule their move out, etc.

Here's what it looks like:

Application FAQs - Housing Portal

Try checking your junk/spam folder for an email about activating the Housing Portal account.

Still No Luck? Please email [email protected] if you have issues with the Housing Portal account.

At this time, there is no cost to submit an application for Columbia Residential housing.

If approved, you will receive further information outlining the process. Check out our Housing Selection process webpage. The “Approved for Housing” section can provide further details.

Completing the Application

All housing applications must be submitted via the Housing Portal. See the screenshot below:

Screenshot of housing portal showing application tab circled in red.

Make sure everything is answered completely, from top to bottom, in that order.

  • Remember, this is a modular application. The information you put in a field will dictate the other questions/fields in the rest of the application. 
  • Be sure to provide information for the fields marked with a red asterisk (*).

Per your housing agreement and the Couples and Family Housing policy your Partner, dependent children, etc. must live full-time in the unit. If this is the case, please apply as a Couple/Family and provide the information requested.

These units are only designated for Couples/Single parents with dependent children. Parents, siblings, and close friends are allowed to visit you as Guests, but not permitted to live with you.

Your housing preferences are recorded for data purposes. These preferences will have no impact on the housing options you see during Housing Selection.

Application Decisions



Decisions on your application are made by your respective School. The housing liaison of your sponsoring school/program can provide more information on the housing approval process.

Non-tenured Faculty

Decisions are based on inventory availability. In general priority for housing is given to full-time Officers of Instruction on tenure track, especially those moving to New York from outside the Tri-State area.  

Tenured Faculty

Decisions are based on Columbia University’s Faculty Housing Policy as established by the Provost’s Office as well as overall housing availability.

Please review the Application Process for more information.


Typically, applicants can expect a status update within 7-14 business days of submitting the application.

In general, the application review season for Summer/Fall starts in April and continues on a rolling basis until the end of August. The application review season for Spring starts in October and goes through January. Status updates are typically sent every two weeks.


Approved for Housing

Approximately 1-2 business days after being approved, you will receive an email (to your Columbia University email address) with instructions concerning your scheduled Housing Selection appointment. 

We recommend reviewing the Accommodations and the Residential Building Profiles for a better understanding of our buildings and apartment types.

Remember, you will be participating in Housing Selection with other approved residents. Highly desired units will be the first to get selected.

We encourage applicants to continue going forward with the Housing Selection process. Please select the latest possible move-in date then make any adjustments once you’ve obtained the VISA, by logging into the Housing Portal

PRO-TIP! Please keep Columbia Residential updated on your VISA delays as this may impact your ability to keep your housing assignment.

Postdoc Waitlist

You can review the Postdoc Waitlist Guidelines for more information on the process.

Ask your Postdoc Housing Liaison! Remember, your School makes the decision on your housing application. Please follow up with the Housing Liaison to inquire about their approval process.

You can review the Postdoc Waitlist Guidelines for more information on the process.

The Postdoc Waitlist has no specific order – anyone who is Waitlisted will receive instructions to participate in the Waitlist Housing Selection, availability permitting.

PRO TIP! Please check out the Postdoc Waitlist FAQs for more detailed information.

Have a question you think we missed? 

Email us at [email protected] so we can address your question and possibly add it to this page to help other potential residents!