Affordable housing is an extremely limited resource in New York City. Graduate students must be prepared to explore options beyond Columbia Residential and pursue them diligently. Columbia University owns and directly manages approximately 5,700 residential units in 143 buildings in the immediate vicinity of the Morningside Heights campus and about 600 units in the vicinity of the Washington Heights (Columbia University Medical Center campus). There are approximately 12,000 students enrolled in graduate and professional programs. Columbia Residential of the Columbia Office of Institutional Real Estate manages all of the University’s off-campus real estate properties.
Columbia Residential offers apartments owned, managed, and serviced by the University, within a few blocks of the campus. Accommodations vary from studio to three-bedroom apartments, with rents based on the size of the apartment and what furnishings and/or utilities, if any, are included. Many of the units are suitable for student sharing. Click here for a range of monthly rates and here for Housing Essentials. Rates depend on the type and size of the accommodation.
Continuing students are offered lease renewals beginning June 1 through the next academic year. Note that students cannot stay in University Housing beyond their last semester as a registered student.
Columbia Security operates care and foot patrols within the entire Columbia Residential area, and a shuttle bus provides transportation to and from campus and other Columbia Residential properties during evening hours. Columbia Residential is extremely limited and in order to accommodate the maximum number of incoming students, the following length-of-stay restrictions apply. Please note that, except under very special circumstances, the length of time a School of the Arts student is allowed to stay in Columbia Residential will be decided by the average length of their respective program or five years, whichever is less. The maximum time allowed in Columbia Residential for each program is therefore defined as follows: Film: 5 years; Theatre Arts: 3 Years; Visual Arts: 2 Years; Writing: 4 Years. Thereafter, School of the Arts students are required to find alternative non-Columbia Residential housing.
Eligibility and Application
Applications for Columbia Residential can be submitted only after a student has been accepted and are handled by the Columbia Residential Office. Application information is included in the acceptance packets. Submission of more than one application will delay the processing. Due to the limited number of Columbia spaces available, not all School of the Arts students who apply will receive housing. Students for whom Columbia housing is not available should make independent arrangements for housing. Please remember that University housing is just that: student housing. Students may also find something to their liking outside of the Columbia real estate system. The School recommends that students applying for CU housing also explore alternative options.
Approval of applications and allocation assignments to Columbia Residential are made through July 26. Those who do not receive one of these housing assignments are placed on the graduate wait-list. Students on the wait-list are assigned in priority order at the end of August. Most incoming students receive some kind of housing by the end of October. Please be advised that the supply of studio (efficiency) and one bedroom units is extremely limited. Students applying for this type of unit may experience additional delays in receiving a housing assignment.
Information on how to access the Columbia Residential website and complete the application will be included in a student’s admissions packet. A student may apply for either single or married student housing but not both; it is not possible to change marital status or housing preference categories once an application has been filed. Students approved for housing will be made one housing offer. Notification will be sent by email. In order to accept the unit, you must make the payment as directed in the offer and select a move-in date. Offers expire after five days. In general, student apartments are not available for viewing prior to move-in because they are either occupied or under renovation. Housing does not provide photos of units.
While housing for continuing students is unlikely except in cases of emergency, those who wish to apply for Columbia Residential housing are advised to file an application with the Columbia Residential Office as soon as possible. Please note that the apartments are only available during the months of October, November, February, March, and April. Approval of a current student’s application will only be given after all incoming students have been assigned. Since all continuing students are placed on a wait-list and cannot be guaranteed an assignment, it is advised to seek all available housing options, both on-campus and off-campus, in addition to applying to Columbia Residential. Information on free apartment finding services is provided by the Office of Student Affairs, 305 Dodge Hall.
Non-Columbia Off Campus Housing
Off-Campus Housing Assistance (OCHA)
In addition to its own accommodations, the University's Off-Campus Housing Assistance office helps its students find apartment rentals not owned by the University. Listings are varied, change quickly, and are not inspected or approved by the University. To search available rooms, apartments, or sublets; or to list available housing, visit OCHA's website.
International House, a privately owned student residence and program center near the campus, has accommodations for about 700 international and domestic graduate students. A cafeteria, recreational facilities, and a varied cultural and professional program are available to members. 100 spaces at International House are reserved for Columbia students and are contracted through University Residence Halls. Rents range from approximately $600 per month to $1500 per month depending on the size and type of accommodation. To be eligible for residence in International House, a student must be at least 21 years old and must be registered for at least 12 points of course credit. Interested students may apply through the application provided in the UAH booklet.
Other Housing in Morningside Heights
Students should note that in addition to those in the OCHA Registry, postings regarding available apartments and apartment shares can be found on bulletin boards around campus and in the surrounding neighborhood. These postings are not related to or inspected by the University, but they can provide an extra source of possible accommodations for the student seeking off-campus housing. Some additional sources for rentals in the New York metro are Craigslist.org at http://newyork.craigslist.org/ and Streeteasy at www.streeteasy.com. Be aware that these are public sites and the School of the Arts assumes no liability for transactions conducted through them.
Columbia University maintains dining services in four principal locations: John Jay, Wien, Uris and Bard Halls, in addition to several auxiliary operations. These facilities are open to all students on a cash basis regardless of whether they live in University Residence Halls.