Frequently Asked Questions
The University no longer accepts cash for payment of student accounts. For a number of years, Columbia students have increasingly relied on various non-cash forms of payment. During the same period, the use of cash payments has significantly decreased. This trend is similar at other universities, a number of which no longer accept cash payments.
What other payment options do I have?
Columbia students mainly use non-cash payment options that include check, wire, E-payment, Western Union and money orders. If you have cash, you can deposit your cash into your bank account and use any of these methods to pay the University. Use the links below to find step-by-step instructions for each method.:
I have a check or money order. Can I use one of these to pay my student tuition?
If you wish to mail in a check or money order in U.S. dollars drawn on a U.S. bank account, it should be made payable to Columbia University and mailed to the University processing center indicated below.
Student Account Payments
P.O. Box 1385
New York, New York 10008-1385
Effective Monday, November 20th, 2017, we only accept in-person check payments from students whose accounts are on financial hold.
All other students should make their payments online through Student Services Online (SSOL) or in the secure drop box at 210 Kent Hall (for Morningside students) or 1-141 Black Building (for Medical Center students). Checks dropped off by 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, will be processed on the same day and reflected in SSOL the following morning, consistent with our current practice.
Students have various ways to pay their account, including wire, e-payment, payment plans, and Western Union. Learn more about these options at sfs.columbia.edu/ways-to-pay.
I am a domestic student but I don't have a bank account. What should I do?
If you do not have a bank account, you can open one with any bank of your choice to pay tuition. You can visit local banks in and around the University’s campuses.
If you do not want to open a bank account, you can purchase a money order (up to variable limits) at the U.S. Post Office, Duane Reade stores and check cashing locations near campus.
I am an international student and I typically use cash to make my tuition payment. What should I do?
You can open a U.S. bank account. To learn how, go to the Your First Week (Students) page at the International Students & Scholars Office site. Scroll down to the section, “Open a U.S. Bank Account,” and read the instructions.
I am an undocumented student. What should I do?
If you are an undocumented student, you can also open a bank account. However, the requirements vary from bank to bank. Several banks allow customers to open an account with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) and proof of identity. Others will require a foreign passport and a college ID with photo. Santander Bank has confirmed that they will allow any undocumented students to open up a student bank account as long as they have a passport from their home country. For undocumented students who do not have a passport, they can get a money order using other forms of identification.
What does it cost to open a bank account or to get a money order?
The cost of opening a bank account may vary. Students should consult their bank of choice for specific cost information. Columbia has negotiated student banking services with Santander Bank and for most students, there is no cost for opening a bank account.
Money orders can cost anything from $1-$2 each depending on the value and the location from which the money is being sent.
I have a credit card. Can I use it to pay my student tuition?
No.The University does not accept credit card payments for student accounts.
What about emergency cash needs for students?
At this time, there will be no change to the emergency cash process.
What has changed for University departments that make cash deposits?
Administrators can read our frequently asked questions about changes for departments making cash deposits.