University Rights

Essential Policies contains valuable information to help students, faculty, and staff understand some of the policies and regulations of the University. Policies on this website pertain to campus safety (including harassment and discrimination), the confidentiality of student records, drug and alcohol use, student leaves, and political activity, as well as others.

Who Is Governed by These Policies?

  • All students, faculty, staff, affiliates, and visitors to Columbia University.

Who Should Know These Policies?

  • All students, faculty, staff, affiliates, and visitors to the University.

This is a useful reference to several important policies Columbia University maintains, but it is not exhaustive.

This policy online reference is intended to provide information for the guidance of the Columbia community. The editors have exercised their best efforts to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein, but accuracy cannot be absolutely guaranteed. 

Information presented here is subject to change, and the University reserves the right to depart without notice from any policy or procedure referred to in this online reference. These Essential Policies are not intended to and should not be regarded as a contract between the University and any student or other person.

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Columbia University
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Social Security Number Usage Policy

To comply with current and anticipated Internal Revenue Service mandates, Columbia University requires students who will be receiving financial aid or payment through the University payroll system to report their Social Security number at the time of admission. Newly admitted students who are eligible but do not have a Social Security number should obtain one well in advance of their first registration.

Read full Social Security Number Usage Policy here.

Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Policy (FERPA)

The University abides by the provisions of the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. This act ensures a wide range of rights, including but not limited to: information about student records that the University maintains, who maintains them, who has access to them, and for what purposes access is granted. The act also permits the University to release “directory information” without a student’s consent. In addition, the act guarantees students access to their records and restricts the access of others.

Students at Columbia University Irving Medical Center may restrict access to their directory information at the Registrar’s Office located in 1-141 Black Building. The guidelines are available on ColumbiaWeb and in Essential Policies for the Columbia Community. Questions about the interpretation of the guidelines should be referred to the University’s Office of General Counsel (412 Low Library).