Cost of Attendance

The cost of attendance represents a student's maximum eligibility for financial aid and consists of tuition and fees plus estimated living expenses. Because GS allows students to complete their degree or certificate program in a time and manner that works for them, there is no single figure that represents the cost of attendance. The information below is provided to help students calculate an estimated cost based on their proposed course load and living situation.

The approximate average annual cost of full-time attendance at the University for the 2019-2020 academic year is as follows:

Tuition per point: $1,896
Tuition for a 30-point program: $56,880
Fees: Total fees vary based on enrollment status. See Tuition and Fees for more information.
Living (room and board) and personal expenses (books, local commuting costs, and miscellaneous expenses): $24,575

Tuition and fees are prescribed by statute and are subject to change at the discretion of the University Trustees. 

Undergraduate Tuition and Fees

Postbac Premed Program Tuition and Fees

Personal Expenses

The University advises students to open an account in one of the local banks as soon as they arrive in New York City. Since it often takes as long as three weeks for the first deposit to clear, students should cover immediate expenses by bringing travelers checks or a draft drawn on a local bank. University tuition and room rent may be paid by check.


University charges for tuition, fees, dining, and residence halls are due and payable in full, minus any authorized financial aid, by the end of the official Change of Program period, in accordance with the University Academic Calendar. Students who do not pay the full amount of any charge when due may be assessed a late payment fee. Student Account Statements and information describing billing and payment procedures are emailed before the beginning of each term. Thereafter, statements with outstanding balances are emailed approximately four times during the term.


It is the policy of the University to withhold registration privileges, diplomas, certificates, and transcripts until all financial obligations have been met. Candidates for graduation are urged to pay their bills in full at least one month prior to graduation.

In the event that a diploma, certificate, or transcript is withheld because of an unpaid bill, students may be required to use a certified check, money order, or cash to release any of the aforementioned documents.

Student Health Insurance Plan and Health Services Fee

Payment of the Columbia Health and Related Services Fee and enrollment in the Columbia University Student Health Insurance Plan is compulsory for full-time students and optional for part-time students. Domestic students may request a waiver from enrollment by submitting proof of comparable coverage, but approval is not guaranteed. For benefits attainable under these plans, regulations governing waiver of participation, and additional information, visit the Columbia Health website.

Part-time domestic students may enroll in the Student Health Insurance Plan, and must also pay the Health Service Fee in order to enroll. The appropriate charges will be added to the Student Account Statement.

International Students

All international students, regardless of the number of enrolled points, will automatically be enrolled in the Columbia University Student Health Insurance Plan. For more information, visit the Columbia Health website.

Insurance for Families

Consult the Columbia Health website for information regarding the premiums for eligible dependents and instructions for enrollment.

Withdrawal and Adjustment of Fees

Students sometimes need to withdraw from a semester in progress for personal or academic reasons (see Leaves of Absence and Withdrawals for more information). A student may be permitted to withdraw from a semester in progress up until the last day of classes and before the completion of any courses taken that semester. Withdrawal means dropping all classes in a given term as opposed to dropping some classes. Students should consult with their GS advisors if they are thinking about withdrawing, as financial and academic consequences may apply. Multiple withdrawals can lead to a student's failure to make academic progress, which may result in suspension or dismissal.

A student who intends to withdraw from a semester in progress must notify in writing their advisor in the GS Dean of Students Office. Notifying instructors or failing to attend classes does not constitute formal withdrawal. Any adjustment of tuition is calculated based on the date the Dean of Students Office receives the student's written notification. If a student withdraws after the change of program deadline, the University retains all fees and a percentage of the tuition, depending on the date of the withdrawal. In all cases, a withdrawal fee of $75 is assessed. For the complete tuition refund schedule, visit the Office of the University Registrar website.

Note: The withdrawal fee is not included in the tuition exemption benefit for Columbia employees.

Tuition Refund Schedule

For the complete tuition refund schedule please refer to the Office of the University Registrar website.

Undergraduate Students

All undergraduate students must pay the Student Life Fee, which is used to cover many of the services offered to students at the School of General Studies including student activities, printing services, athletics, information technology, use of Lerner Hall, and access to the Center for Career Education.

For the 2019-2020 academic year, the Student Life Fee will be $707 per semester.

Below is a breakdown of how this fee is distributed across the various services provided to you as a student:

Explanation of Benefits

Student Activities Fee
The Student Activities Fee directly funds the General Studies Student Council and all expenses related to their programming initiatives that serve the undergraduate student population at the School of General Studies.

The printing fee allows undergraduates the opportunity to print 100 pages per week at the various CUIT computer labs set up around campus. Undergraduates are also allotted a reserve pool of 100 pages of printing each term.

The athletics fee grants students free access to the Dodge Fitness Center and other initiatives and programs sponsored by the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education.

Information Technology
The information technology fee helps fund the student support services offered by CUIT (Columbia University Information Technology) including email and network support, SSOL, student computer labs, Courseworks, classroom technology, and the Help Desk.

Lerner Hall
Students can reserve space free of charge in Lerner Hall after 5 p.m. Monday - Friday, and all day on the weekends, through University Event Management.

Center for Career Education
The mission of the Center for Career Education is to help students and alumni develop the key competencies necessary to make informed decisions and take the necessary steps to achieve their career goals. The Center establishes connections and facilitates interaction among undergraduate students, graduate students, alumni, employers, and organizations to generate opportunities that help students pursue their personal and professional objectives.

Cross-Cutting Multi-School Activities
The Cross-Cutting Multi-School Activities Fee funds the Interschool Governing Board, which supports student organizations whose members are from all the undergraduate schools.

Postbac Premed Students

All Postbac Premed students must pay the University Facilities Fee and the Student Activity Fee. The University Facilities Fee includes the Recreational Facilities Fee, Information Technology fee, the Lerner Fee which supports activities at the student life center, and the Cross-cutting Multi-school Activities Fee which supports new University-wide student activities.

For the 2019-2020 academic year, the University Facilities Fee is $513 per semester for full-time students, and $264 per semester for part-time students.

The Student Activity Fee directly funds the Premedical Association (PMA) and all expenses related to their programming initiatives that serve the Postbac Premed student population at the School of General Studies.

For the 2019-2020 academic year, the Student Activity Fee will be $50 per semester.

Enrolled students are billed by term. Students may view their account balance on Student Services Online (SSOL).

Payment for the term is due by the end of the official Change of Program period, in accordance with the University Academic Calendar. Information about payment of tuition for summer courses may be found on the Columbia Summer website.

Charges incurred throughout the term will be billed periodically and are due by the date listed on the Student Account Statement, available on SSOL.

Payments are processed by Student Financial Services. For specific information on payment options, visit the Student Financial Services website.

In order to understand how much it may cost for you to attend GS, it is necessary to understand how much your monthly budget may be. Be sure to include your personal costs as well as those of any dependents you may have. See below for an estimate of living expenses based on full-time enrollment.


Whether a student lives in University housing or on their own, the cost of owning a home or renting an apartment/house is determined by many factors, including the number of bedrooms and which town, city, or neighborhood it's located in. Students should also consider whether they are willing to share their living space. Students who are interested in educating themselves about the New York City metropolitan area housing market in order to determine realistic housing expenses may start by consulting the Housing page.


Utilities costs consist of electricity, gas, oil, water, phone, cable, and/or internet service and vary depending upon the level of service required and which company provides those services.


In order for students to determine how much they may expect to spend on food each month, they should consider how much they will be eating at restaurants versus cooking at home. Restaurants and groceries in New York City tend to be expensive. To get a realistic idea of grocery costs, students may want to visit FreshDirect. For an estimate of how much restaurants around the University may cost, visit MenuPages.


Commuting to and from campus includes public transit costs, cab fare, parking costs, and/or fuel, etc. For general information about all of your commuting options, visit the Columbia Transportation website.

To learn the current costs for Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and New York City Transit Authority (the Subway) fares consult the MTA website. New Jersey Transit passengers are eligible for a discount on monthly passes; see the Columbia Transportation website for more information.

To learn about parking costs and regulations in New York City, consult the Best Parking website or the New York City Department of Transportation website.


Most Columbia courses require students to purchase or rent books for most courses. The price of books varies by class as well as condition (used books are available in limited quantities). Visit the Columbia Bookstore website for more information and to view the textbook lists for your classes.

The College Board Net Price Calculator is designed to give students an early indication of how much and what types of financial aid they might qualify for as a first-year, full-time undergraduate student attending the School of General Studies.