Frequently Asked Questions - Student Life


In order to maintain their Sciences Po student status, non-EU citizens must subscribe and pay into the French Social Security system (called sécu) for all four years of the Dual BA Program. Social Security enrollment is administered by one of two different health insurance providers, LMDE and SMEREP, and students pay an annual fee (approximately €200) in order to maintain their enrollment. The services offered by each provider are nearly identical, and more information is available by visiting the LMDE and SMEREP websites.

While enrolled at Sciences Po in years one and two, students may also opt to enroll in supplemental health insurance (mutuelle) if they prefer to have additional coverage above and beyond what is offered by their basic health insurance plan. Students who choose to subscribe to a mutuelle in years one and two are not required to maintain this coverage for years three and four of the program, though they must still maintain their enrollment and pay into the French Social Security System during their time at Columbia.

While students are studying at Columbia in years three and four, they must also subscribe to coverage with an American health insurance provider, either through the Columbia Student Medical Insurance Plan or, for some U.S. citizens and permanent residents, through their parents’ health insurance plan. Columbia University does not recognize French Social Security for health insurance coverage while students are enrolled in Columbia classes.

A student's housing situation will be arranged before he or she arrives in France. The campus director and campus staff assist in locating housing that best suits each student's needs. On-campus housing is not available for Sciences Po students; instead, there are apartments available in student buildings that are all within 5-7 minutes of the campus. Students may also choose to find their own apartment, live with friends or family, or do a home stay.

Dual BA students will go through the same housing process as all Sciences Po students, and may be assigned to room with a non-Dual BA Sciences Po student. For more information on housing accommodations, visit the Sciences Po website.

Sciences Po works with each student to facilitate roommate connections.

While possible, this is not typically the case. Students should speak with their individual campus directors about their personal needs while at Sciences Po, in order to have the most comfortable experience possible.

Yes. Sciences Po does not facilitate home stays, but works with agencies to match students with families for an immersive experience. A home stay can be a great complement to the Sciences Po experience.

Housing can cost between €350-€600 a month depending on the student's campus and particular apartment amenities. A chart regarding cost-of-living expenses may be found on the Sciences Po website.

Regardless of nationality or parental income, students are entitled to a housing allowance (“aide au logement”) from the Caisse d’Allocations Familiales (CAF), which amounts to a monthly subsidy to be used toward payment of rent.

As a Dual BA student at Columbia, you are guaranteed housing for the final two years of the program. Attempts will be made to house the Dual BA Program students together. 

Although there is no aid specifically designated for housing costs, funds received from financial aid—such as institutional grants or federal and/or private loans—may be used to pay housing costs.

The dining options at Sciences Po differ from the typical American style dining halls. A fixed meal plan is not available, but Sciences Po provides light meals on a daily basis. Students do have the option to eat out, and many area restaurants offer discounts for students. Those who live in student apartments may choose to cook their own meals.

Columbia offers many options, including dining plans, dining dollars, and flex accounts. Visit the Columbia Dining website for more information.

Yes. Students can participate in a variety of extracurricular activities organized by arts, cultural, and sports associations on all of the campuses. Some current examples of student activity opportunities include arts groups (e.g., cinema, concerts, dance, music, open mic, theatre outings, etc.), cultural exchange groups, debate societies, publications, and sports (e.g., basketball, bowling, boxing, cycling, equestrian, gold, tennis, soccer, swimming, tennis, yoga, etc.).

Yes. Dual BA students are eligible to participate in a wide range of over 500 student organizations.

Yes. Columbia competes at the NCAA Division I level, and Dual BA students are eligible to try out for the varsity teams, provided they meet NCAA eligibility requirements. Students are also eligible to play on any of Columbia’s club or intramural sports teams.

Although the Dual BA Program is very time-intensive, it is possible to participate in extracurricular activities. Previous Dual BA students have successfully completed the program while being active in student life.

Yes. Sciences Po has connections with the outside community that can lead to student internships, and Dual BA students will have access to Sciences Po Service Carrières, which provides career education services, including posting internship offers.

All Sciences Po campuses have a student union, which helps to foster connections among students and serves as a meeting space for clubs, associations, and cultural activities.

Sciences Po has a very strong relationship with the communities around each campus. Students will have the opportunity to pursue internships and participate in civic and cultural events in the community outside their campus.