Living Expenses & Books

Living Expenses & Books

In order to truly understand how much it may cost for you to attend GS, it is necessary for you 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. Estimates of living expenses are available on the chart below.


Whether living in University housing or on your own, the cost of owning a home or renting an apartment/house is determined by many factors, starting first with how many bedrooms you may want and then in which town, city, or neighborhood you'd like to live. Another question to ask yourself is whether you are willing to share an apartment or home. It's important to educate yourself about the New York City metropolitan area housing market in order to determine realistic housing expenses. You can start by consulting the Apartment Hunting Resources page on this site.


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


There are many options for meals while you are a student. In order to determine how much you may expect to spend on food each month, it's important to be honest with yourself about how much you'll be eating in restaurants versus cooking at home. Restaurants and groceries in New York City tend to be expensive. To get a realistic idea of how much groceries may cost you each week, you may want to consult FreshDirect.


Commuting to and from campus and elsewhere include public transit costs (for example, your MTA Metrocard or train/bus pass), cab fare, parking costs, and/or fuel, etc. To learn the current costs for Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and New York City Transit Authority (the Subway) fares consult the MTA website. To learn about parking costs and regulations in New York City, consult Best Parking's website or the New York City Department of Transportation  website.

New Jersey Transit passengers are eligible for a discount on monthly passes; see the Transportation section of the Columbia website for more information.


You will be required to purchase books for almost every class you take at Columbia University. The price of books varies by class as well as condition (used books are available in limited quantities). Barnes & Noble at Columbia University is the official textbook provider; visit the store's website for more information and to view the textbook lists for your classes.

Living Expenses & Books (estimated based on full-time enrollment for the nine-month 2018-2019 academic year)

Living Expenses (rent, utilities, and food)