Financial support

This is a reference page for Graduate student information.

THIS PAGE IS NOT OFFICIAL DEPARTMENTAL POLICY. IT MERELY REPRESENTS THE PEER-ADVICE PROVIDED BY FELLOW STUDENTS AND FACULTY.

What the handbook says

Admission to the Columbia graduate program normally is made in conjunction with a Columbia Graduate Fellowship. The Fellowship includes an annual (twelve-month) stipend (for 2006/2007 $26,667 per year), Lia says: Update this amount every year? I actually do not know how much I get paid yearly. payment of all tuition and fees, and basic health coverage. In addition, incoming students are guaranteed access to Columbia housing. It is important to become informed about the housing selection process well in advance of arrival in New York; the Departmental Administrator should be consulted for details. It is virtually impossible to gain access to the housing system after the first year, so careful consideration should be given to any choice involving deferral of accepting a Columbia apartment until later in one’s graduate career. Housing is guaranteed for five years; annual extensions of up to two additional years are routinely granted, but extensions beyond the seventh year are very difficult to obtain. The Fellowship continues throughout the student’s career (with annual increments in salary as determined by the Graduate School – and thus, largely beyond the Department’s control), as long as the student is making “satisfactory progress toward the degree”. Satisfactory progress is defined below.

Various opportunities for earning additional compensation are described (and circumscribed) below. It is assumed, however, that graduate study in the program is a full-time occupation; students contemplating pursuit of substantial, long-term activities outside of the program are advised to discuss the matter with the Director of Graduate Studies or another faculty member.

Additional information

There is currently a $288.00 facilities fee and a $16.00 student activities fee that is charged to every graduate student at Columbia University. While some departments pay these fees for their students, currently our department does not. These bills come due at the beginning of each semester and are subject to late fees if not paid on time, though generally asking for amnesty on late payments will get the late-fees waived (though not the facilities and student activities fees themselves).

It is calculated by the university that roughly $1000 per year in expenses is not covered by fellowships and stipends. This means that you are allowed to borrow on unsubsidized student loans up to this amount per year. These loans are administered through the Financial aid office of GSAS located in 107 Low Library, but are all offered through private lenders and generally charge higher interest rates than subsidized loans.

Additionally, it is possible if you are in a temporary financial bind to take out an emergency loan of up to $1000. Post-dating a check to Columbia University for the amount you borrow will give you access to immediate cash.

Currently, Columbia University's health insurance is done through Aetna Student Health Insurance which is a national group health insurance program negotiated separately by each university. Our university has negotiated to allow all graduate students to be covered under the basic coverage for a fee that is paid for by the department. For an additional $1350 a year you can purchase comprehensive coverage which has greater benefits coverage especially in the areas of prescriptions, physical therapy, and counseling. Dental coverage is available for an additional $251 per year.

Spouses and domestic partners can obtain health coverage at the basic level at an expense of $1498 per year. Comperhensive coverage is not available for spouses or domestic partners. Additionally. your entire family can receive dental coverage for a total of $913.

The rental rates on university apartments are listed here. First month's rent and a deposit equal to first month's rent is due upon signing the lease. However, if you are short on funds, the housing office will usually arrange to hold outstanding balances that you are unable to pay in arrears that you can pay down incrementally. Rent is due on the first of the month, and though they are allowed to penalize you for paying late, in practice not paying on time does not normally result in any penalties, especially if you contact the office with an explanation.

It is possible to sublet your apartment if you are away for a semester or a summer. Contact the housing office for more information on this option.

It should be noted that the guaranteed increase in the stipend from year to year is generally less than the increase in the rent on university housing from year to year.

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