Reservation Fees & Security Deposits

When an incoming resident receives a housing offer, a reservation fee or security deposit is required to accept the offer. These fees are payable by debit or credit card in the Housing Portal, and it must be paid before the housing offer expires.


Student residents must pay a $750 reservation fee to accept a housing offer, payable by credit or debit card only. This payment is credited to the Student Financial Services account after move-in and is considered a pre-payment that will be applied toward the first month's rent. After moving out, no additional credits will be issued.

If students accept an offer and later decide to not move into the unit, the reservation fee will not be returned unless Columbia Residential is notified in writing before move-in by the following deadlines:

  • Spring 2021: December 31, 2020
  • Fall 2021: May 31, 2021

Students who cancel due to issues obtaining a visa may request a waiver of this policy if they are able to provide documentation of their visa status that shows they will be unable to arrive for that semester. Documentation should be sent to [email protected] for consideration.

Faculty, staff and postdocs* are required to pay a security deposit to accept their housing offer. The security deposit is equivalent to one month's rent and is held by a bank until a resident moves out of the unit. Refunds of security deposits after move out are processed by the Office of the Controller. As long as residents have no outstanding rent owed, are in compliance with all Columbia Residential policies, and their units have no damages beyond normal wear and tear, the security deposit return will be issued in the form of a check mailed to the forwarding address. Residents should allow up to 60 days from move out for processing.

*A limited number of students who moved into housing before 2017 paid security deposits and are governed by this policy.