Paying Your Student Account

Payment for each term is due before the end date of the University’s official Change of Program period, in accordance with the academic calendar. You may view the statement schedules here: 2015-2016 dates.

Charges incurred throughout the term will be billed periodically and are due by the date listed on the Student Account Statement. To determine the amount due, you should view current and recent statements and the current student account balance on Student Services Online (SSOL).

A PDF guide to your student account and E-Bill is available here.

All payments should indicate the student's name and Columbia University nine-digit identification number (Ask Us). Payments must be posted by the due date to avoid late payment charges. If payment to your student account is not made by the due date, your account may accrue late fees. Additionally, if the balance on your account is $1,000 or greater when registration begins, your account will be placed on a financial hold, in accordance with the registration hold schedule, and you will not be able to register until the balance is paid.

The University strongly prefers that student account payments be made online via the secure E-Billing website. Please note that online payments received by 10:00 p.m. EST will be reflected on the student's account by next business day. Payments received after 10:00 p.m. EST will not be reflected until the second business day. For payments drawn on foreign banks, the University recommends a wire transfer as the most efficient method of payment. Additional information for all payment methods is listed below.

Also see: Refunds

Authorizing a Parent or Other Personal Payer

If a parent or other family member is responsible for your bill, you can set them up as an authorized payer.

Federal privacy regulations limit the access of other people, including family members, to your student account. For parents to be able to review the monthly E-Bill, you need set them up as an “Authorized Payer.” To create the authorized payer account, log in to SSOL, select “Account Detail and E-Billing,” and then select “View E-Bill and Pay by E-Check.” From the left navigation, select “Authorize Payer.” Follow the instructions to create a user name and temporary password for each Authorized Payer.

Be sure that you inform your Authorized Payer of their temporary login and give directions to the site, The Authorized Payer will be prompted to change their password and verify their email address the first time they log in.

For more information about Authorized Payers, visit our Ask Us FAQ.

For information about sponsored payments, for example payments by a non-Columbia employer, see Sponsored Billing below.

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Online Check

Students and Authorized Payers can make online payments that debit a U.S. bank account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through the secure E-Billing website. E-check payments received by 10:00 pm EST will be credited to the student account by the next business day. Payments received after 10:00 pm EST will not be reflected until the second business day.

Students access this payment system through Student Services Online (SSOL). Because SSOL contains information protected by federal privacy regulations, Authorized Payers must access the E-Billing website directly.

A confirmation number is given after electronic payment has been accepted. If a hold on a student’s account due to an outstanding balance needs to be removed immediately, he or she may use this number (in an email, on the phone, or in person) to ask to have the hold removed manually.
The ability to make e-check payments will be blocked if two unsuccessful payments are made. To make payments alternatively please see  Ways To Pay.
Note: The maximum amount per transaction is $60,000 for this method.

By Mail

Checks and money orders in U.S. dollars drawn on a U.S. bank account made payable to Columbia University can be mailed along with the top portion of the printed Statement to our processing center. Payments by mail must be received, not simply postmarked, by the due date in order to avoid late payment charges .

If the Statement stub is not available, the student’s name and Columbia University PID, the nine-digit identification number (Ask Us), must be written on the check or money order to ensure timely crediting.

Processing Center:
Columbia University Student Account Payments
P.O. Box 1385
New York, New York 10008-1385

Please note: This is a processing center and cannot accept any mailing that requires signature for receipt. Do not mail cash, credit card authorizations, or correspondence to the lockbox. All correspondence should be sent to Student Financial Services.

By Wire

For payments drawn on foreign banks, the University recommends a wire transfer as the most efficient method of payment. 

Columbia University contracts with Western Union to provide students with an option to pay their student bill by wire transfer. The new service offers a competitive rate of exchange as well as the convenience of being able to make payments in many international currencies through a local bank.

Below are instructions for making a payment and a link to a list of currencies accepted through Western Union.

A new set of wire instructions is required for each new wire payment. Please also note that wire instructions and the associated currency exchange rate expire after 72 hours.

  • Open SSOL to begin the payment process or click here.
  • Click on “Account Detail and E-Billing,” then on “Wire Transfer Instructions.”
  • Enter the information required on the form including name, Columbia email address, and PID
  • Enter the U.S. dollar amount of the payment you wish to make. Select the payment currency or associated country from which you will make your payment. You may wish to refer to Western Union's list of accepted currencies (PDF).
  • A conversion at a competitive rate of exchange from the U.S. dollar amount will be applied to your chosen currency through the Western Union real-time rate engine. You will have the opportunity to view the payable amount in your local currency before committing to the transaction.
  • Finalize the transaction by following the instructions on the web page or watch the video on how to complete a wire transfer transaction.
  • Save a PDF copy of the wire instructions confirmation page and send it to your bank or print the confirmation page and take it to your local bank to initiate the transfer of funds to Western Union.  Please note that the currency quote on the confirmation page is valid for 72 hours. Western Union must receive the request within 72 hours of your receipt of the currency quote.
  • Western Union will then forward the U.S. dollar amount to Columbia University where it will be credited to your student billing account.

Note that there is a limit of $70,000 per term that can be paid via this method.

Also, please note that neither Western Union nor Columbia University charge any fee, per their agreement. However, your bank may impose a service fee to initiate the wire transfer. Additionally, a processing fee will be charged for transactions that cannot be deposited through normal bank channels.

For general inquiries regarding the Western Union payment system, please email or call the Student Financial Services Accounting Department at 212-854-1515.

In Person

Checks, money orders, traveler's checks and cash are accepted at the Cashiers windows in Kent Hall. Check payments may also be placed in the drop box next to these windows. Do not put cash in the drop box.

Remember to include the student's name and Columbia University nine-digit identification number (Ask Us) on all payments.

Checks must be in U.S. currency drawn on a U.S. bank.

Note: For payments that include more than $10,000 in cash, IRS Form 8300 will have to be completed at the cashier's window.

Payment Plan

Columbia offers a payment plan through the Nelnet service provider, which is integrated with the monthly E-Bill. The payment plan enables students and their families to pay tuition and fees over several months, rather than in one payment. The payment plan is not a loan. While there is a modest, non-refundable application fee, there are no interest charges or credit checks.

How to Sign Up


  • Log in to Student Services Online (SSOL) and click on “Account Detail and E-Billing”
  • Click on “View E-Bill and Use the Monthly Payment Plan”

Authorized Payers:


  • $45 annual enrollment fee
  • $25 enrollment fee per term (for Fall and Spring terms)
  • $30 returned payment fee if a payment is returned

Payment Method:

  • Automatic bank payment (ACH)
  • A credit or debit card may be used to pay the enrollment fee. (An additional convenience fee will be assessed.)

Plan Availability:

The payment plan is available July 1 each academic year. Students may choose to sign up for one of the following options:

  • Fall Term: July - November
  • Spring Term: November - April
  • Annual (Fall and Spring Terms): July - April

Estimating Your Budget and Monthly Payments:

Tuition and Fees for each new academic year are approved and posted by July 1. You will have the opportunity to adjust your budget if you are adding and dropping classes. When estimating, remember to also subtract financial aid awards and outside scholarships, add any Housing, Dining, or other fees, and take into account any sponsored payments or outside scholarship you may expect.

Monthly Payment Plan Features:

  • Automatic Rebalance of Amount in Payment Plan: If your term bill amount changes, the system will automatically recalculate your new total amount, as well as your updated monthly payment amount. This automatic recalculation will happen twice per term. You and any authorized payers will receive an automated email notification 10 days prior to the rebalance.
  • Manual Rebalance of Amount in Payment Plan: After you have signed up for the payment plan, if you anticipate a payment from a source not listed in your E-Bill, for example a sponsored payment or outside scholarship, you can adjust the amount budgeted for your payment plan by logging in to the E-Bill and updating the total amount you wish to pay via the plan. The system will recalculate your monthly payment based on your changes.

Contact Information


Telephone: 1-888-470-6014
Hours: Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Student Service Center:

Telephone: 212-854-4400
Hours: Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


Columbia’s payment plan is flexible, and offers three options:

Sign-Up Dates and Schedule for Payment Plan
Note: Payments are automatically deducted on the 5th of every month from the bank account you authorized during sign up.
Enrollment period
Required down payment
Number of payments
Months of payments
Fall Term:  5 Payments, $25 enrollment fee. Plan enrollment closes after October 27
May 27 - July 4
July - November
July 5 - July 27
August - November
July 28 - August 27
September - November
August 28 - September 24
October and November
September 25 - October 27
Spring Term:  5 Payments, $25 enrollment fee. Plan enrollment closes after March 25
November 1 - December 4 none 5 December - April
December 5 - December 23 20% 4 January - April
December 24 - January 27 40% 3 February - April
January 28 - February 25 60% 2 March and April
February 26 - March 25 80% 1 April
Annual (Fall and Spring Terms):  10 Payments, $45 enrollment fee. Plan enrollment closes after October 27
May 27 - July 4 none 10 July - April
July 5 - July 27
20% 9 August - April
July 28 - August 27 40% 8 September - April
August 28 - September 24 60% 7 October - April
September 25 - October 27 80% 6 November - April

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Third-Party Billing

Sponsored students are those whose educations at Columbia University are funded directly by a third party, called a sponsor. Examples of sponsors are an employer, educational institution, government agency, foundation, grant, or other institutional source. Learn more about bill payment for sponsored students.

Tuition Exemption

The Tuition Exemption Benefit Program is available to eligible Columbia University Officers and Support Staff, and certain family members. The Tuition Exemption Benefit Program pays tuition costs, depending on your eligibility, for courses at Columbia University, and for some students at Barnard College, and Teachers College. Learn more about the Tuition Exemption Benefit Program.

AmeriCorps Education Awards

The Corporation for National and Community Service provides grants to national and local nonprofits, schools, government agencies, faith-based and community organizations and other groups committed to strengthening their communities through volunteering. 

Students are able to use these grants in the form of AmeriCorps Education Awards toward their semester’s charges. To help you apply for your AmeriCorps funding, we have prepared a step-by-step Guide to Requesting Your AmeriCorps Award (downloadable PDF).

For faster processing, redeem your award online at

We will begin processing AmeriCorps Awards after the Change of Program period every semester. Awards greater than $1,500.00 will be made in two parts.  The first half of the payment will be paid at the beginning of the semester, and the second half during the midpoint of the semester.  Please note that your AmeriCorps Education Award is considered part of your financial aid package and accordingly must be reported to the financial aid office for your school.

Please allow 3-5 business days for processing. If you have questions regarding the processing of your AmeriCorps award, please email

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College Savings Plans (529 Pre-Paid Plans)

Many students across the country use the college savings plan as a way to pay for college and it works out to be a benefit to them. The specific requirements for establishing, enrolling in or withdrawing from a Plan will vary by state; please check with your state or visit for links to information for all the state Plans. If you are a New York State resident and would like information regarding New York State’s 529 College Savings Program, please visit

At Columbia University, we work with families to process these benefits in a timely manner.  Plan participants are asked to contact their respective Plan to initiate the payment process. Because enrollment verification is required in most cases, Plans which require this information will be provided a copy of the student’s statement after the add/drop period, usually ten (10) days after the start of the semester.

For questions and answers from the Internal Revenue Service on 529 Plans, please visit thie IRS website at

Payment by mail:

Checks in U.S. dollars drawn on a U.S. bank account made payable to Columbia University should be mailed to our Cashiers Office.  Payments by mail must be received, not simply postmarked, by the due date in order to avoid late payment charges.

Mail Checks to:
Columbia University Cashiers Office
1140 Amsterdam Avenue
210 Kent Hall
New York, NY 10027

Please note: the student’s name, Columbia University nine-digit identification number (AskUs) or UNI, and the notation “529 Plan payment” should be clearly noted in the detail/memo field.  Failure to do so may delay posting to the proper student account.