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Our Path Forward

Check here for news and decisions being made that affect our community during the unusual 2020-2021 academic year. You can also view our Frequently Asked Questions.

NEW INFORMATION is now available regarding summer enrollment and housing at Columbia, including FAQs about summer 2021.

For more information regarding the required twice-weekly testing for undergraduates accessing campus, please refer to our testing website or click the button.

Summer at Columbia


This year’s unusual three-term format means that summer courses are formally considered part of the 2020-2021 academic year, providing more opportunities for students to extend their studies into summer months.

As a reminder, students enrolled full-time in fall and spring can also enroll in summer courses at no additional tuition cost (except for any supplementary course or mandatory term fees), for a maximum of 40 credits per student for the academic year. Students can earn a maximum of 8 points of credit in each of the two sessions: Summer A and Summer B. If a student enrolls in more than 40 credits for the 2020-2021 academic year, tuition will be charged for summer credits on a per-credit basis for any point above 40.


Student A completes 13 credits in fall + 16 credits in spring for a total of = 29 credits in fall and spring, then

Student A is eligible for 11 additional credits through summer coursework, “tuition-free”, up to 40 points total.

Courses and Registration

The first week of registration for courses in Summer A and B sessions is March 8 – March 12, 2021. Learn how you can take advantage of summer and explore the wide variety of course offerings that can help you diversify your studies, gain new experiences, or discover a new academic interest.

  • Summer Session A runs May 3 – June 18

  • Summer Session B runs June 28 – August 16

Students are encouraged to speak with their Center for Student Advising (CSA) adviser before they register. International students should consult with the International Students and Scholars Office, located at 524 Riverside Drive (+1-212-854-3587) for more information.


Apply for Summer Housing

Despite progress being made with new vaccines, we anticipate that public health guidance will continue to recommend lower campus density through summer term. Strict enforcement of public health protocols and the Columbia Community Health Compact will continue to be upheld throughout the summer term, along with regular twice-weekly Covid-19 testing for students.

Students are eligible to apply for summer housing if they enroll full-time in summer courses with at least 6 credits, and have guaranteed housing. As in the past, we’ll prioritize students with exceptional circumstances who require campus facilities and housing in order to succeed academically, along with these populations:

  • Graduating seniors who need to complete coursework in order to graduate

  • First-year students (Class of 2024)

  • Sophomores and juniors, as space permits

Students approved for housing during Summer A may also be eligible for Summer B housing if they also enroll full-time in the second session, with at least 6 credits. A student’s full-time enrollment for Summer A and B will be verified in April as part of the summer housing confirmation process.

Campus housing will not be offered for students enrolled only in Summer B. This is due to the turnover window between Summer A and B sessions, which is too short for Columbia to fully implement public health restrictions for a second wave of residents.

Summer Housing Dates and Fees

Summer A Housing : May 3 – June 21, at a rate of $2,200

Summer Terms A + B Housing: May 3 – June 21 and June 28 – August 16, at a rate of $4,400

Interim periods (i.e., the periods between terms) are priced separately from summer housing. Please note that although Spring and Fall interim periods are optional, the summer interim period and the applicable fee is required for students who live in Columbia Housing for Summer Terms A and B. Learn more about interim rates on the Housing website.

Financial Aid

While Columbia College and Columbia Engineering undergraduates do not typically receive financial aid for summer coursework, limited aid will be provided in recognition of the three-term 2020-2021 academic year. Students are eligible for summer financial aid if they currently have taken less than 40 credits, were recipients of a Columbia University grant (CUG) in both fall and spring, and are registering for full-time enrollment (minimum of 6 points) in Summer A or Summer B.

More information about summer billing can be found on the Financial Aid and Educational Financing website.


The academic year tuition that was billed in Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 covers a credit cap of up to 40 credits taken over the Fall 2020, Spring 2021, and Summer 2021 semesters. Courses that fall within the credit cap may be taken at no additional cost (except for any supplementary course or mandatory term fees). Students earning more than the 40 point credit cap will be responsible for paying for any additional course credits at the $1,896 per credit rate.

Students may be eligible for a tuition offset in the Summer 2021 semester if:

1. the student has earned fewer than their 40 point credit cap in the combined Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters,

2. the student is registered for credit-bearing courses for the summer semester, and

3. the student has paid in full all tuition charges for both Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters (this includes students who received financial aid).

Student account statements are distributed electronically. All billing notifications are sent directly to students at their Columbia University email address; students are required to maintain an active Columbia email account to receive billing notifications.

Bills will be sent based on the University billing schedule found here. The summer bill will assess full tuition for all registered course credits with an anticipated credit for your estimated tuition offset for those summer credits that fall within the credit cap.

After the last day to drop a course (refer to deadline here), tuition offset will be posted on your student account for any summer course credits that fall within the credit cap as a tuition offset. You are expected to pay for all tuition and fees less any eligible tuition offset. Note that the tuition offset will not be greater than the billed tuition for the summer term.

Towards the bottom of the page, you’ll find helpful FAQs that may address any questions you have about billing for the summer term, such as “What is a tuition offset” or “What fees may apply?”.



The 2020–2021 academic year is structured in a three-term format, which allows schools and students to take advantage of coursework into the summer of 2021. Most students will fulfill a majority of their coursework during the fall and spring; however, the summer provides an additional opportunity for students to distribute credits throughout three terms or earn additional credits during that time.

Academic departments and programs have adjusted their curricular offerings across these three terms to allow students greater flexibility in fulfilling their requirements and making progress to their degrees.

Academic Calendar

The dates for 2020–2021 academic year's terms are:

  • Fall term (September 8–December 23)

  • Spring term (January 11–April 26)

  • Summer term (Summer A: May 3–June 18, Summer B: June 28–Aug. 16)

Registration for courses in summer term began in February 2021.

Remote Learning

Faculty recognize that many students may be studying in time zones that are different from New York City and they will continue to consider effective use of asynchronous materials so that all students can access course content in flexible ways.

Students can learn more about the synchronous and asynchronous elements of a course by looking at the course’s syllabus when it is posted on CourseWorks and also by attending the first class session.

The University has created a resource site for students that offers strategies and tips for a successful experience in online courses. Students are also encouraged to talk with the instructor of each of their courses about the different ways in which you can participate effectively in online class meetings and assignments.


Students who enroll for the academic year must be registered for a minimum of 12 credits in both the fall and spring terms, with a maximum of 18 credits. This constitutes full-time status and will also ensure successful progression towards completion of students’ degree requirements.

  • Most undergraduate courses in fall and spring terms will be 14-week courses (including the reading and exam periods).

  • Some departments and programs will also be offering 7-week “immersive” courses, which will cover a semester’s worth of material in a compressed time period, involving more classroom and homework hours.

All students are invited to enroll in summer classes; those enrolled full-time in fall and spring can take “tuition-free” courses in summer, for up to 40 total credits in this academic year. Students who wish to earn more than 40 credits through summer classes would pay incremental tuition per earned credit. Read more about enrollment and credits.

The Core

Art Humanities and Music Humanities will be offered in both Summer A and B 2021 sessions. Three sections of Frontiers of Science will be offered in summer A for students who applied to take the class during this semester.

Academic Support Services

Students should engage in regular communications with their assigned adviser from the Berick Center for Student Advising (CSA). CSA advisers are dedicated advocates that help students navigate the world of virtual studies, including providing guidance on course selection, advising on academic policy, discussing academic interests and much more. The Berick Center for Student Advising has developed supplemental tips for online learning. Students should check the CSA website for updates about the upcoming academic year or to make a virtual appointment with their adviser.


Columbia has actively worked to maintain a de-densified campus as we know the significant impact that physical distancing has on reducing spread of the virus. Testing protocols have adapted throughout the year, following public health guidance and the policies set forth by Columbia Health and Columbia’s Covid-19 task force. Student programs and services are predominantly virtual although as the year progresses, we will reassess opportunities for limited in-person ways to uphold and sustain our bonds and community spirit.

Housing and Dining Summary

For comprehensive FAQs about housing, residence life, facilities and more, visit Columbia Housing and Columbia Dining for more information.

Considerations for Residential Living

Students invited and approved to be in residence must adhere to health protocols and agree to the Columbia Community Health Compact, required for anyone living on or visiting campus.

Students who enroll full time throughout the 2020-2021 academic year but do not live on campus maintain guaranteed housing for the next academic year they enroll.

Expectations and Accountability

Students in residence are required to follow public health guidance, which includes correctly wearing face coverings, physical distancing, frequent hand washing, participating in the mandatory testing program, limiting the size of social gatherings, and all other precautions outlined in the Columbia Community Health Compact. Public health guidelines will continue to evolve as the situation changes, and we will alert you of any significant changes as we move into summer term.

Before Accessing Campus

1. Review the Required Protocol for any student who plans to access campus.

To keep our community healthy, the University has outlined several Health and Safety policies or requirements for all community members to follow, including any student who will be visiting academic buildings and other non-residential facilities, in addition to those approved to live on campus. Make sure you’ve read through and completed these important items.

Access to all Columbia campuses and facilities requires a “Green Pass” on the ReopenCU app (symptom checker app). A Green Pass is triggered by meeting all requirements listed above in the campus access protocol list.

Ongoing Expectations

To maintain their access to campus, including campus housing if approved, students will be required to participate in the following. These expectations and others are a part of the Required Protocol for any student who plans to access campus.

1. Conduct a Daily Symptom Self-Check with REopenCU App.

All faculty, staff and students will be required to complete a symptom self-check every day before they access campus buildings. They will be able to complete the self-check online or by using the Columbia University app: ReopenCU.

2. Keep up with Diagnostic Testing:

Residents: Twice-Weekly Testing

All undergraduate students living in a campus residence hall are currently required to undergo twice-weekly testing throughout the term.

Students will schedule appointments through Columbia Health’s Online Patient Portal and are advised to do so 5–7 days in advance.

Access-only: Weekly Testing

All undergraduate students who are not living in a campus residence hall and will be accessing campus are strongly encouraged to undergo weekly COVID-19testing during the time they plan to access campus.

3. Plan for Quarantine Requirements

Columbia Health and campus services will work with any student who tests positive for COVID-19 to make arrangements for care and quarantine as necessary.

Also, as part of our enhanced testing program implemented in September 2020, the University routinely monitors the wastewater leaving student residence halls to head off outbreaks of COVID-19. When the presence of COVID-19 is detected, any student who has not kept up with their twice-weekly testing will be immediately required to begin a period of quarantine in their residence hall room until they can be tested for COVID-19 through Columbia Health and receive a negative result.

4. Stay Current on Travel Restrictions and Notifications.

A travel suspension remains in place for University-sponsored student travel, and throughout the entirety of the spring term, undergraduates living on or accessing campus are strongly discouraged from traveling for all but personal or family emergencies. This approach is necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of the Columbia community as well as the surrounding New York City community, which endured so many challenges during the beginning months of this global pandemic.

To be considered compliant with Columbia policy, students living on campus who must travel are required to submit their travel dates and destination through the Travel Form; those who do not will be subject to disciplinary action. Once students submit their information, Columbia Housing will contact them to confirm their plans and make arrangements to support any travel-related testing and quarantine requirements as space permits. Students should note that the provision of on-campus quarantine housing after travel is not guaranteed. Priority will be given to students with extenuating circumstances who complete the Travel Form in a timely manner.


An international travel suspension remains in place for University-sponsored student travel Undergraduates living on or accessing campus are strongly discouraged from traveling for all but personal or family emergencies. This approach is necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of the Columbia community as well as the surrounding New York City community, which endured so many challenges during the beginning months of this global pandemic.

To be considered compliant with Columbia policy, students living on campus who must travel are required to submit their travel dates and destination through the Travel Form; those who do not will be subject to disciplinary action.


Adherence to the Columbia Community Health Compact, including participation in the Testing and Tracing program, is mandatory for all CC/SEAS undergraduate students living on or accessing campus, and students who do not comply may be referred to Student Conduct for Dean’s Discipline. Non-compliance will also jeopardize a student’s campus access, trigger a registration hold on their student account and subject them to possible removal from Columbia Housing.

Students may be considered to be out of compliance with the Health Compact for reasons including but not limited to the following:

  • Failure to adhere to any health/safety requirement outlined in the Columbia Community Health Compact.

  • Residential students: ​

    • Missing 1 or both mandatory COVID-19 tests in one week

    • Failure to register a trip, to provide complete travel information or to update travel information when plans change through the Travel Form.

Social Engagement/Events

Student programs and services continue to be offered virtually with some limited in-person programs, and we will work closely with students to develop new and creative ways to uphold and sustain our bonds and community spirit.

Undergraduate Student Life is interested in hearing your ideas for summer programs or activities.


To reduce the spread of Covid-19, the University continues to implement travel restrictions, limiting any non-essential travel. Students are strongly discouraged from traveling for all but personal or family emergencies.

Students living on campus who must travel are required to submit their travel dates and destination through the Travel Form.

All local, state and federal travel restrictions and CDC guidance should be followed. Read more about the New York State Travel Guidance.

Health and Wellbeing


For individuals on Columbia’s campus, there are restrictions and protocols that affect daily life across campus and in residence halls. These will be in the spirit of maintaining the individual health and safety of every member of our community. Students, faculty and staff on campus are required to sign the Columbia Community Health Compact before their arrival, to agree to adopt and uphold responsibilities and agreements, to collectively navigate the year with a shared commitment to protect and support one another’s health, safety and well-being.

As the pandemic evolves, decisions about health and safety will be continuously updated, including who can be on campus, limitations on interactions and gatherings and much more.


Columbia will uphold and enforce the Columbia Community Health Compact for any Columbia affiliate who interacts with campus, including the limited number of students who will live in Columbia Housing as well as any students who may access campus while living elsewhere.

To provide an additional layer of safety to the ongoing public health and preventive efforts, Columbia University is supporting a regular testing program for all affiliates living on or accessing campus.

It is important to keep in mind that public health measures to prevent spread of the virus such as face coverings, physical distancing, hand hygiene and other non-pharmaceutical interventions have been shown to be effective in prevention of transmission of the virus, from both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. These actions are the most important preventive measures our community can take.

There is no cost to students for this testing.

Physical (Social) Distancing

This guidance addresses questions related to the University’s Enhanced Health and Safety Policy on face covering, physical distance, and related issues that went into effect on June 22, 2020 and will continue to evolve as we near the fall.

Eating or drinking:

When you remove your face covering to eat or drink, you must be at least 6 feet (2 arms’ length) from others.

  • Being side by side at that distance is fine, but try to avoid being directly across from someone else.

  • If you smoke, this same rule applies—and only in outdoor areas on campus where smoking is permitted.

Passing someone in a narrow hallway/stairwell or other narrow space:

Keep as much space as you can, wear your face covering and keep moving.

Riding an elevator:

Elevator capacity will be limited. Follow the instructions on the sign nearby whatever elevator you plan to use. If the elevator permits more than one person at a time and you’re in the elevator with someone else, stay as far apart as the space allows, and keep your face covering on. Everyone will know that this is about keeping our community safe. And if you are able, take the stairs instead.

Using the restroom:

Keep your face covering on.

  • Restroom signs will show how many people can use the restroom at one time. This occupancy limit will be based on restroom size to ensure at least 6 feet distance between individuals.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly (20 seconds, with soap) afterward to reduce the potential transmission of the virus. If there is someone already at the sink, wait until they have left the restroom to use the sink yourself.

  • In certain shared facilities, Columbia Facilities and Operations/CUIMC Facilities Management and Campus Services will have easy-to-use cleaning materials for you to wipe your sink area.


Keep your face covering on, both inside and outdoors. We understand it can get hot – if you need to pull your face covering down for a moment to wipe off your face, be sure you’re more than 6 feet from others.

Sitting or walking outside on campus with someone:

Keep your face covering on and keep six feet between you. Even if you’re with a roommate, partner or family member, keep your face covering on and keep at least six feet from other individuals or groups.

Alone in a private office:

Keep your face covering on unless you are alone in an enclosed office with the door closed.

Hanging out/studying/organizing/working on a project with friends or colleagues:

Keep your face covering on and stay 6 feet (2 arms’ length) apart.

Getting around campus and NYC:

Keep your face covering on. It’s important for your health and the health of others [if applicable: and it’s required by NY law in public places whenever you cannot keep 6 feet apart]. Avoid crowds and remember to use hand sanitizer too.

Self-monitoring, Testing And Contact Tracing

Any students, faculty and staff arriving on campus will have an initial “gateway” SARS-CoV-2 test. Such testing has been in place for individuals returning to campus as of June 22, 2020 and will continue for all returning affiliates throughout the summer and fall.

All undergraduate students living on campus will also receive a SARS-CoV-2 test on a weekly basis. The frequency of the testing will be re-evaluated over time in view of the status of the epidemic in New York City and the campus.

Detailed information on Columbia’s Test and Trace program and symptom self-checking can be found on the COVID-19 resource website.

Facilities Management and Cleaning

Cleaning and Disinfecting information is provided on the University’s COVID-19 resource website.

Campus Monitoring of COVID-19

The University now offers a COVID-19 Testing Surveillance dashboard with updated statistics on testing across the Morningside campus.

New York City has also implemented a COVID-19 Tracing App, which can be downloaded on your mobile phone.

Cost and Financial Aid

Cost of Attendance in 2020-2021

The cost of attendance is set by the University and approved by the Board of Trustees and includes tuition, room and board and other mandatory fees.

Tuition and Mandatory Fees

We have continued to hear from our students and families regarding their financial difficulties during this pandemic. We recognize how challenging this time is for many in our community. In response, Columbia will absorb the previously communicated 2% tuition increase, bringing the 2020-2021 undergraduate tuition rate flat to last year's value.

Undergraduate tuition has been set at $60,098 less $1,178 for a final 2020-2021 undergraduate tuition rate of $58,920 which is flat to last year’s value.

Undergraduate tuition and fees for 2020-2021 has been set at $61,671 for the full academic year.

Room and Board

For students approved for full-year Columbia residential housing (for both fall and spring terms) due to special circumstances Room and Board charges for 2020-2021 will be $15,130 for first-year students. This covers on-campus living charges for the fall and spring semesters. Upper class rates will vary based on meal plans selected.

Special COVID-related Support

In recognition of challenges that students and families may be facing during this pandemic, Columbia College is offering the following additional support in the upcoming year:


Off-campus Living Allowance

When calculating financial aid awards for students living off-campus, Columbia College will take into account an off-campus living allowance of $4,000 per semester to help with living and technology expenses related to remote learning.

Waiver of Fall 2020 Employment Expectation

Columbia College has waived all student employment expectations for the fall semester, in recognition that students will not have the typical on- or off-campus work opportunities available.


Columbia College offered the opportunity to apply for a one-time emergency grant paid directly to students to help with challenges in finding paid work that would have supported expenses such as food, housing, course materials, and technology. Priority will be given to students who receive University aid. This unique grant opportunity will be funded by the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds for aided students who are eligible for US federal financial aid programs.


Students enrolled full-time in summer but living off-campus may apply for a special summer study grant, in recognition of additional living costs associated with studying full-time this summer during the ongoing pandemic. For those approved, the grant will provide a $1,000 one-time award to students.

Change in Family Circumstances

Columbia College continues to be committed to providing need-based aid to our students. We recognize that during this pandemic family circumstances may change. As always, our Financial Aid Office will work with each family to evaluate changes in circumstances and potentially adjust financial aid awards.

All financial aid questions should be directed to the Financial Aid and Educational Financing office at or make a virtual appointment.


Fall 2020 Semester

Labor DayMonday, September 7
Classes BeginTuesday, September 8
Exams for Immersive CoursesTuesday, October 20-Friday, October 23
No ClassesMonday, November 2
Election Day, University HolidayTuesday, November 3
No ClassesWednesday, November 25-Friday, November 27
Thanksgiving, University HolidayThursday, November 26
Last Day of ClassesMonday, December 14
Reading and Exam DaysTuesday, December 15-Wednesday, December 23
End of SemesterWednesday, December 23

Spring 2021 Semester

Classes BeginMonday, January 11
Martin Luther King Jr. Day, University HolidayMonday, January 18
Exams for Immersive CoursesTuesday, February 23-Friday, February 26
Spring BreakMonday, March 1-Friday, March 5
Classes ResumeMonday, March 8
Last Day of ClassesThursday, April 15
Reading and Exam DaysFriday, April 16-Friday, April 26
Semester EndsMonday, April 26
Commencement WeekTuesday, April 27-Friday, April 30

Summer 2021 Semester A&B

Classes BeginMonday, May 3
Memorial Day, University HolidayMonday, May 31
Reading and Exam DaysTuesday, June 15-Friday, June 18
BreakMonday, June 21-Friday, June 25
Classes ResumeMonday, June 28
Last Day of ClassesFriday, August 6
Reading and Exam DaysMonday, August 9-Monday, August 16
Semester EndsMonday, August 16

Explore Frequently Asked Questions