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 or attend the University, the reservation fee will not be returned unless Columbia Residential is notified in writing before move-in by the following deadlines:
- Fall: June 30
- Spring: December 15
While exceptions are rare, students experiencing extenuating circumstances wherein recent, significant and unexpected events necessitate breaking the lease or canceling a housing offer may submit a request to be considered for an exception to this policy. Supporting documentation must be submitted through the form at the time of the request, and all requests must be submitted within ten (10) days of the cancellation. For guidelines for submitting a request, please review Fee Waiver Request.
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.