Payment of University Tuition & Fees

  • Charges for tuition and fees, billing, and payments are the jurisdiction of the University Office of Student Financial Services (SFS), located in Kent Hall.  The SIPA Financial Aid Office does not create or send bills nor collect payments.  
  • Billing is by semester, and SFS will send your bill (a/k/a term invoice) to your Columbia email address (your UNI) a few weeks prior to the beginning of the start of the term. 
  • You must pay the term tuition and fees in full by the due date shown on the bill.  A monthly payment plan is also available.
  • Late fees are assessed on balances that are remain unpaid by the due date.  Details on the University’s management of unpaid balances can be found here.
  • SFS does not accept credit card or cash payments for tuition, fees, housing or meal plan charges that appear on bills.
  • Financial aid will appear as an anticipated credit on your bill so long as the award has been made by the time of billing and you have completed all necessary processes.  Aid will be credited to your account shortly prior to the beginning of each semester, provided all necessary documentation has been submitted and processes completed. 
  • Please keep in mind that fluctuations in enrollment can impact financial aid eligibility; most student loans require enrollment for a minimum of 6 credits per semester, while most SIPA funding requires full-time attendance (12 or more credits).
  • If your tuition is being paid in full or in part by a sponsor, employer, scholarship provider or other third party, and those payments are sent directly to Columbia, you will need to work with Student Financial Services to set up a sponsored or third party billing arrangement.
  • Students living in Columbia Housing will be billed monthly for rent; the amount for an apartment rental on the initial bill of the term is typically the amount due for the first month's rent only, not the amount for the entire semester.  See CU Housing's billing and payment policies here.  
  • For withdrawals that occur during the fall and spring semesters, see the Office of the University Registrar for University policy on tuition liability for partial semesters of enrollment.

summer term

If a student withdraws from the program during the summer term, the tuition is subject to reduction at the following rates, based on when the withdrawal takes place.  This also applies to withdrawing from individual courses billed on a per-credit basis.

Withdrawal during summer term:     Percentage of summer tuition refunded:
First week 100%
Second week  90%
Third week 80%
Fourth week 70%
Fifth week  60%
Sixth week 50%
Seventh week 40%
After seventh week   0%

Refunds and Aid for Living Expenses

  • Most financial aid, including scholarships, fellowship and loans, are first credited towards tuition and fees.  If the total amount of all such aid exceeds the amount charged for tuition and fees, you will receive the credit balance as a refund that you can use for living expenses, textbooks, and other costs related to your studies.
  • Refunds can be disbursed as checks (mailed to the address Columbia has on file — please make sure the Registrar's Office has your current/local address), or as a direct deposit into a bank account you designate.  We strongly recommend setting up a direct deposit account.
  • Refunds are usually issued approximately one to two weeks after the start of the semester, and never prior to registration. You should be prepared to pay living expenses from your own resources upon arrival in New York and for the first few weeks of each semester.

Tuition Tax Credits

Students may qualify for tax credits for tuition costs or interest paid on student loans. You will receive year-end documentation such as a 1098-T from Student Financial Services that you can use when filing your federal income tax return.  The SIPA Financial Aid Office cannot offer tax assistance or advice; please visit a qualified tax professional, or the IRS website for more information.