FAQ | Student Application Process

Pre-Application Questions

No. Students enrolled in executive programs are not eligible for Columbia Residential housing.

  1. Accept your school’s offer of admission. 
  2. Activate your Columbia UNI; students without an active UNI cannot apply for housing. 
  3. Log into the Housing Portal and create an account with their UNI and University ID number (Cxxxxxxxx). For new students, the ID number is typically sent with acceptance materials. It can also be found by logging into Student Services Online (SSOL). 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 (for example, registration, billing, and your Columbia email). 

Admitted students should receive their UNI by email from their respective school once the deposit has been paid. That email will be sent to the same email address you submitted in the application. If you don’t receive your UNI within two weeks of acceptance, please contact your school to ensure your acceptance is processed. 

  • PRO-TIP! Be sure to check your junk/spam folder... it may be hiding there!  

Without an active UNI, you cannot apply for housing. 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 CUID, also known as the PID, is a unique 9-digit number that is tied to your student and housing profile (Cxxxxxxxx). This number should be within the acceptance materials from your respective school. 

The Housing Portal is the main hub where our residents can access housing information. For example, students 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.

PRO-TIP! To accept your housing offer you’ll be asked to provide the $750 Reservation Fee payment so be prepared with a credit card or bank card to secure your new home!

Displaced Student Scholarship recipients who are eligible for housing through Columbia Residential must submit a housing application through the Housing Portal. To be eligible for housing selection, students must be approved by the housing liaison from your school.

We recommend reaching out to the housing liaison to ensure that they are aware of your status. Recipients of the Columbia University Scholarship for Displaced students may be eligible for a Reservation Fee waiver. You may contact your housing liaison for further information.

NOT SURE? STILL APPLY! If you are unsure, it may bring you some peace of mind to know an application is on file in case your needs change. You can retract your application directly, if done before selecting a unit, within the housing portal. Please see the screenshot below.

PRO-TIP! We recommend becoming familiar with the Off-Campus Housing Marketplace to search for, and become familiar, with housing in NYC.


Application FAQs - Retracting Application

Completing the Application

The Housing Portal is the place to be! See the screenshot below

Application FAQs - Apply

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 (*).
Application FAQs - Red Asterisks

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 the Housing Selection.

Application Decisions

Decisions on your application are made by your respective School. The housing liaison of the school/program can provide more information on their housing approval process. Please review the Application Process for further information.

PRO TIP! You may review your application status, at any time, by logging into the Housing Portal. If your application is marked “Incomplete”, this means you’re missing information on the application. Be sure to check your Columbia email address for emails from [email protected].

Applicants can expect a response after the school allocation approval period and the opening of the waitlist. Be sure to review the "Important Dates" section of our Application Process for Student Housing page for further information. 

If your application is marked “Incomplete”, this means you’re missing information on the application. Be sure to check your Columbia email address for emails from [email protected].

Approved for Housing

Applicants will receive an email (to your Columbia University email address) with instructions concerning your scheduled Housing Selection appointment after the school allocation approval period begins. Once the selection period is open applicants can expect a response in 1-2 business days. We encourage you to review all information provided on this site to best prepare for this opportunity.

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

If students accept the offer and later decide not to move into the unit or not attend the University, the $750 Reservation Fee cannot be refunded. A Fee Waiver Request can be submitted for review. 


Great question! Please check out our new Waitlist FAQs webpage for more information.

Those who have not been given an allocation by their school for housing are placed on the waitlist. You may follow up with your Housing Liaison to inquire about their approval process. 

Starting on the opening day of the Waitlist, you will be granted time to review and select units available.

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

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

PRO TIP! Please check out the 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!