Unpaid Bills

On This Page:

Late Charges and Financial Holds  |  How We Collect Unpaid Bills  |  Students Who Withdraw With An Unpaid Bill  |  Outside Collection Agencies Contact Us

When Bills Are Not Paid On Time

We want to do everything we can to assist you in paying your bill on time and avoiding unpaid balances.

This page explains late charges, holds, and other impacts when a bill is not paid.


Unpaid Bills Are Subject To Late Charges and Financial Holds



Payments must be posted by the due date listed on the Student Statement Schedule to avoid late payment charges.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the University modified its late fee policy in March of 2020 and suspended all late fees until January 2021. 

As communicated previously, beginning on January 22, 2021, a late payment fee of $150 will be assessed for any unpaid charges remaining from bills issued before and on December 18, 2020.  In the future, late payment fees may be imposed in subsequent terms for bills paid after the due date. 

Additional charges that result from any course registration, or program changes made after the first statement of the term is issued, must be paid at the time of the change. A late fee will be assessed if these charges remain unpaid at their due date. 

Please note that a late fee is not assessed when students are on a monthly payment plan, Details on this payment mechanism can be found on our payment plan page. 

As part of the response to the COVID-19 crisis, since March 2020, the University will continue to temporarily suspend its monthly fee of 1.5% of balances due on unpaid charges for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 but may reinstate monthly charges in the future. 



If the balance on your student account is $1,000 or greater, your account will be placed on a financial hold prior to the start of registration for the subsequent term, and you will not be able to register until the balance is paid. Graduation holds are placed 30 days prior to the graduation date, and you will not be able to receive a diploma or transcript until the balance is paid. Registration and graduation dates are listed on the academic calendar

At initial course registration, Columbia students affirm a financial responsibility statement. Please note that Columbia may withhold academic certification if tuition charges are not paid. Students are encouraged to meet with their school financial aid advising team if they are facing financial hardship or a change in financial circumstances. 

Students who are allowed to register because they are on a payment plan or because they have made a payment will have that registration reversed if the payment is canceled or unable to be completed due to lack of funds.


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How We Collect Unpaid Bills

As mentioned, students with past due balances may be prohibited from registering, changing programs, or obtaining academic certifications, a diploma, or transcripts.  The University may utilize external parties in pursuit of unpaid balances as described in the financial responsibility statement.

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Students Who Withdraw With Unpaid Bills

Any student who leaves the University with an unpaid balance that remains unpaid for sixty days or more may be subject to collection activities. The costs associated with collecting an unpaid account will be added to the student’s outstanding debt and must be paid in full. Non-registered students with an outstanding balance of $50.00 or greater are prevented from registering for future courses, and from obtaining academic certifications, a diploma, or transcripts.

The Student Accounts department in the Student Financial Services Accounting and Business Management team provides delinquent account management for students who are no longer enrolled. Our office works very closely with students until all outstanding balances billed are paid in full.


Other Services We Offer

  • Arranging six (6) month payment agreement for past due balances
  • Reviewing collection agency inquiries
  • Reviewing inquiries related to accounts referred to the University’s attorney
  • Managing 1098-T inquiries
  • Managing Federal/CU Loan Entrance and Exit Counseling via Student Services Online (SSOL)

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Outside Collection Agencies

If the account is more than 6 months past due, it may also be forwarded to an outside collection agency. Non-payment of delinquent accounts will prevent students from registering for future semesters and from obtaining academic certifications, a diploma, or transcripts. Failure to pay may result in the account(s) being placed with an outside collection agency for final collection action. Once this occurs, you will need to deal directly with the collection agency to which your account(s) has been assigned. This action can be avoided by staying in contact with our office and making satisfactory arrangements to pay outstanding obligations.

Please Note: If your account is with a collection agency, any payments made towards your account balance will be updated within 30 days. If your account has not been updated within 30 days, please contact us by email.

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Contact Us







Please call the U.S. Department of Education at 1-800-433-3243.

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