New Student Information
Frequently Asked Questions


  1. How will I be paid?
  2. Students are paid either of two ways; as a Predoctoral Fellow (Fellow) or as a Graduate Research Assistant (GRA). Fellows are paid from Dean’s funds, department monies, or training grants. GRAs are paid from research grants or other sponsored projects. It is quite common for students to begin their studies as Fellows and then switch to GRA status in subsequent years.

  3. When will I be paid?
  4. Fellows receive stipend payments three times a year. The summer stipend covers July and August; the fall stipend covers September 1 through January 15; and the spring stipend covers January 16 through June 30.

    GRAs receive salary checks on the last business day of each month.

  5. Are taxes deducted from my check?
  6. Taxes are not deducted from Fellow’s stipend checks for US citizens, Permanent Residents, or foreign nationals whose country has an appropriate tax treaty with the United States. If you have not completed a tax treaty form or if you are not certain if there is a treaty in effect, please see the Office of Graduate Affairs. Foreign nationals whose country of citizenship does not have a tax treaty with the United States will have a 14% withholding tax deducted from their stipend check. We have found it is usually advantageous for Fellows to file quarterly estimated tax payments.

    Taxes are deducted from GRA salary checks. The W-4 (federal) and IT-2104 (city/state) withholding forms you complete will determine the amount of the deduction.

  7. Am I responsible for filing taxes on the monies I receive?
  8. All students who receive payments either as Fellows or GRAs are responsible for declaring these payments on their tax returns. However, the interpretation and implementation of the tax laws are the domain of the Internal Revenue Service and the courts. Columbia University takes no position on what the status may be for a particular taxpayer, and it does not have the authority to dispense tax advice.

  9. Will I receive a W-2 form from Columbia University at the end of the calendar year?
  10. Fellows will not receive a W-2 form from the University. GRAs will receive a W-2 form.

  11. Where will I receive my checks?
  12. Fellows can pick-up their stipend checks at the cashiering windows in the Black Building, Room 1-127.

    GRAs will receive their checks at their department offices.

  13. Can I have my check deposited directly into my bank account?
  14. Yes. Students who are paid as monthly GRAs should complete the appropriate form in the Office of Graduate Affairs and provide a blank, voided check. Fellows receiving stipend checks can complete the authorization form at

  15. What fees are my responsibility?
  16. In most cases, your acceptance to the Coordinated Doctoral Program included full coverage of University fees including Student Health, hospitalization, transcript, basic computer, and International Student and Scholar (ISSO) fees.

    You are responsible for any housing related costs as well as the cost of any extended computer support you may request. In addition, students who opt to take courses during the summer will be responsible for the cost of those courses. Health coverage for spouses and dependents is not covered by the Coordinated Doctoral Program.

  17. How do I enroll in the Student Health Service (SHS)?
  18. Upon your arrival, please proceed to the SHS enrollment office at 60 Haven Avenue, Room 3E. You will be asked to complete enrollment cards. Please keep in mind that you will need to complete enrollment cards at the beginning of every school year. Within a few weeks, you will receive a hospitalization benefit card, a prescription plan card, and a NY Presbyterian Hospital card with your unit number

    New York State law mandates that all students on this campus must prove immunity to measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) in order to register for classes. Please see Elsa Cadena, R.N. in the SHS for pre-registration immunization if you are unable to provide written documentation of current immunity.

  19. I received a housing assignment in Bard Hall. How can I transfer to the Towers?
  20. Throughout the academic year, students living in Bard Hall and the Georgian Residence may move to the Towers by filing a vacancy in a student apartment. A number of 1, 2, and 3 bedroom apartments in the Towers hold what is called a "joint & several" lease. This means that the current student "tenants of record" are jointly and severally responsible for the apartment, the rental, and filling of all vacancies. A list of these unfurnished vacancies is published monthly. To fill a vacancy in a currently occupied apartment, you should obtain a copy of the current J&S vacancy listing, from the Housing Office at 50 Haven Avenue.

    If you prefer to transfer with a friend, the Towers Lottery and Apartment Draw assigns student groups to Bard-Haven Towers 1-Br, 2-Br, and 3-Br apartments for the upcoming academic year. Lottery applications and information brochures are distributed by the Housing Office in March.

  21. How do I register for classes?
  22. Registration is via telephone or the web. Your department will assist you with the appropriate course numbers. Upon your arrival, you will receive a letter, which provides your PIN number as well as the appointment times assigned to you.

  23. Will I be able to connect to the campus computer network from my apartment?
  24. Health Sciences housing is wired for both voice and data networks. You must register your computer in order to activate your Health Sciences Residence Network connection. Each Ethernet card

    will be registered by its unique hardware address and assigned an Internet address and host name. Questions regarding dorm connectivity can be directed to Jose Hernandez at 305-0507.