Billing and Payments

Columbia bills students for tuition, fees, and other charges at the beginning of each term. Payment is due by the date listed on the Student Account Statement, which is available in Student Services Online (SSOL). In general, payment for each term is due before the end date of the university’s official Change of Program period, as noted on the academic calendar.

Consult the Student Financial Services website for complete information regarding billing and payment, including e-billingpayment optionsrefunds, and withdrawals.

Note: No paper bills will be mailed by the university.

Entering students may wish to review the Paying Your E-Bill guide.

For financial aid policies, PhD students in Arts and Sciences programs should also consult the Fellowship Information for Doctoral Students section. PhD students in non-Arts and Sciences programs should consult with their PhD program.

Credit and Debit Balances

Credit Balances

When there are credit balances on student accounts due to overpayment of university charges, students may request a refund of the balance. The GSAS Office of Financial Aid will verify credit balances on accounts of fellowship students. It will also adjust fellowships to reflect actual, correct registration and enrollment in the university's student health insurance program. Students seeking refunds of Title IV funds may only use them for educationally related expenses such as books and living costs. Refunds may be requested at the university’s Student Financial Services Desk at 210 Kent Hall or through SSOL. Refunds may be issued as paper checks mailed to the local address on record or as direct deposits. Please contact Student Financial Services to file a Direct Deposit Authorization or visit the SFS website for more information.

Doctoral students on fellowships funded by the Graduate School will not be refunded credit balances that arise due to registration adjustments made as a result of an initial registration error (e.g., a student who should register for a Residence Unit but instead registers for M&F will not be refunded the balance that appears in the SSOL Account Detail screen once his/her registration status is corrected). Similarly, students who receive funding for the student health insurance plan will not receive the credit balance that appears in the SSOL Account Detail Screen if they waive coverage.

Debit Balances

If there is a debit balance after calculation of all anticipated charges and payments, students should make payments for the balances by the appropriate deadline (mid-September for the fall term and late January for the spring term). Payments can be made in person at the Cashier’s Window in 210 Kent Hall; for other payment options, see the Student Financial Services website.

After the payment due date is past, a one-time late payment charge ($150) and late payment fees (1.5 percent per month) may be assessed on the unpaid balance.

Fellowships and loan funds are credited to student accounts following the registration period. Late payment charges or late fees may be assessed on remaining charges not covered by fellowship or financial aid.

University Refund Policy

Refunds for Dropping Individual Classes

The university refunds tuition for classes dropped by the last day of the Change of Program period. There is no refund of tuition for individual courses dropped after the Change of Program period. The Change of Program period is usually the first two weeks of the fall or spring semesters.

Refunds for Withdrawing from Registration

Withdrawal is defined as the dropping of one’s entire program in a given term as differentiated from dropping some, but not all, of one’s courses. Students who withdraw from a term are charged a $75 withdrawal fee and tuition and fees are charged according a schedule set by the Office of the University Registrar. The health service fee, health insurance premium, application fees, late fees, and special fees are not refundable. The GSAS policy regarding withdrawals can be found here.

A student is considered registered until the date on which written notice of withdrawal is received by the Office of the Dean. A student’s financial assistance is adjusted to reflect reductions in the student’s overall budget. Excess financial aid is restored proportionately to the funds from which it was drawn before a refund is given.

Impact on Federal Student Aid

Refunds for students receiving federal student aid will be made to the federal aid programs in accordance with Department of Education regulations. Refunds will be credited in the following order:

  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
  • Federal Direct PLUS Loans (when disbursed through the university)

Withdrawing students should be aware that they will not be entitled to any portion of a refund until all federal aid programs are credited and all outstanding charges have been paid.