Alright, so you’ve got accepted to SIPA and you’re moving to New York in August, but you need a place to live. You’ve probably already been invited to apply for Columbia Housing through the University Apartment Housing portal (UAH) (located in your Welcome Portal), and may or may not have done so. While I personally do not live in university housing, many SIPA students do. I recommend you give it a shot as it’s a reliable and easy way to obtain housing while living in NYC compared to the trials and tribulations of doing an off-campus housing search (future blog post to come). Here are a few things to keep in mind if university housing is for you:
1. Location: Most SIPA students want to live near campus because it makes for an easy commute. UAH has capitalized on this and 90% of its apartment buildings are located around the Morningside campus (yay for walking to school!). However, there are a few buildings located farther away that the University provides a shuttle to (Check out the Arbor in the Bronx).
2. Take a Chance: Columbia Housing is a lottery, and there is no guarantee that you will get a placement. I recommend all incoming students that want to apply for university housing because UAH is a trusted landlord, and it’s the path of least resistance when it comes to apartment hunting in NYC.
3. How it Works: When applying I recommend looking at the UAH website here for important deadlines and instructions on the application process. Incoming students will create an account through the Housing Portal. This requires you to have a Sign-Up Code which you can obtain for the SIPA Housing Liaison. Once you have gained entrance to the Housing portal, you will be asked a series of questions about your living preferences and will complete the housing application. Once you have submitted your housing application, you will be notified over the summer of your housing decision. If you are not selected for housing, I recommend joining the waitlist just in case. This opens up in early August. If you receive housing I recommend you check out the UAH website for more information on signing the lease and moving in as well as payment options for rent.
4. Costs: UAH gives students a breakdown of average rents for their housing options here on their website. While this is the easiest option for incoming SIPA students to take, it is not always the cheapest option. Additionally, UAH offers both furnished and unfurnished apartments. So, if you find yourself in an unfurnished apartment it is important to factor in the cost of buying furniture.
I hope these tips were helpful in gauging what to expect when applying for UAH. The main take away is that while there is no guarantee you will get university housing, you should still apply because hey, what do you have to lose?