Unpaid Bills, Late Fees, and Holds

Payments must be received by the Payment Due date listed on the billing schedule to avoid late payment fees, balance due fees, holds, and other actions taken by the university. 

Students who rely upon sponsorships, authorized payers, or other outside aid are responsible for communicating with and ensuring these sources of financial support complete their payments on time. Students and their creditworthiness may be adversely affected by actions taken against unpaid balances.

At initial course registration, Columbia students affirm a financial responsibility statement. Students are encouraged to meet with their school financial aid advising team if they are facing financial hardship or a change in financial circumstances. 


Consequences of Unpaid Bills

Student accounts will be charged a late payment fee of $150 if payment isn't received until after the due date listed on the first billing statement of the term.

  • As a reminder, Columbia University has three terms—fall, spring, and summer—for which a student could be charged a $150 late payment fee in a given year.
  • Additional charges that result from any course registration or program changes made after the first statement of the term must be paid at the time of the change. A late payment fee will be assessed if these charges remain unpaid after their due date. 

If payment still is not received, an additional charge of 1.5% of the balance due will be added per month on any amount remaining past due.

Please note that late fees are not assessed when students are on a monthly payment plan or when veterans and servicemembers are awaiting payment of VA benefits.

Enrolled Students

If the balance on your student account rises to $1,000 or greater, your account will be placed on a registration hold before the start of registration for the next term. You will not be able to register until the amount due drops below $1,000. If a registration hold prevents you from registering for a new term, then you will not be enrolled for that semester. You will need to take immediate steps to pay your balance in order to restore your enrollment and attend Columbia.

This hold also restricts students from changing programs, obtaining academic certifications, or receiving a diploma. 

  • If you are due to graduate and you have a balance of $200 or greater, a graduation hold will be placed 30 days prior to the graduation date. You will not be able to receive a diploma until the balance is paid. Registration and graduation dates are listed on the academic calendar.

Students who are allowed to register because they have anticipated credits (e.g., payment plan, sponsor payments, etc.) or because they have made payment will have their registration reversed if the funds were not remitted to the University as per anticipated credits or payment is canceled or unable to be completed due to a lack of funds. 

Unenrolled Students

If a student becomes unenrolled and they have an outstanding balance of $50.00 or greater, they must pay the full balance before they can register for enrollment again or receive an academic certification or diploma. 

As described in the financial responsibility statement, the University may transfer a student's account balance to a collections agency if either of the following is true:

  • A student account is more than six months past due and becomes a delinquent account.
  • ​​​​​A student leaves the university with an unpaid balance that remains unpaid for 60 days or more. 

Once a collections agency is involved, you will need to communicate directly with that agency and make any payments to the agency—not Columbia. Any payments made to the agency will post to your university account within 30 days. If your university student account does not reflect any payments made to a collections agency after 30 days, please contact us by email at [email protected]. Any costs associated with collecting unpaid balances will also be added to the student’s outstanding debt.

Collections agencies seeking payment from student accounts will adversely affect the student's creditworthiness. Collections agencies do not pursue authorized payers or sponsors.

Remember, a delinquent account also prevents students from registering for classes, obtaining academic certifications, or receiving a diploma.