Residence Hall Access


Residence halls are access-controlled buildings. Access is granted based on a resident's status within the Columbia Undergraduate Residential Community, with special considerations for non-residents/commuter students. Non-residents/commuter students are defined as students who are enrolled but who do not live in Columbia Undergraduate Housing.

Building Access

Current Columbia Undergraduate Housing residents have access into all undergraduate residence halls except for brownstones. Access is programmed onto residents’ Columbia University ID cards at the beginning of each academic year and is updated as needed. 

​​​Tap your card at the card reader at the building entrance or at the Public Safety desk in the building lobby to gain access.​​ 

​​​​Note:​ The first time you use your card, you will need to tap twice to activate access.​​ 


  • Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL)  – All FSL student members have access to their organization’s brownstone regardless of residence hall assignment
  • Special Interest Communities (SIC) – Access is restricted to SIC residents of that brownstone
  • Residential – Access is restricted to the brownstone’s residents

Most rooms can be accessed electronically using your CUID, but some buildings use hard key locks. Residents living in suites are granted access to the suite entrance and their individual room assignment.   

Visit your building page to learn about your residence hall’s access type.    

Hard Key

Hartley and Woodbridge Halls are hard key buildings. Residents will receive their key when they check in.  

Please note: access to individual rooms is by hard key; access to the building is by CUID.

Electronic CUID Access

Most Columbia Housing buildings use either electronic swipe or tap locks.

Starting Academic Year 2023-2024, a multi-year project to convert all locks to electronic tap locks will begin. Students will be notified if work is scheduled to occur while they are in residence.

Swipe Access 

To use an electronic swipe lock, insert your CUID into the nearest encoder to activate pre-programmed door access. 

Tap Access

To use an electronic tap lock, tap your CUID at the door lock to activate pre-programmed door access.  

If the door does not open, please wait 30 seconds and try again. 

Lounges are always available to residents unless there is a scheduled event. Please do not leave personal belongings unattended in lounges. The University is not responsible for lost or damaged items. Please be respectful of community spaces and clean up after yourself.

Non-residents or commuters are defined as students that are currently enrolled but do not live in Columbia Undergraduate Housing.   

The application for Commuter Access is sent out to all currently-enrolled CC/SEAS undergraduate students by Residential Life, typically the week before fall classes commence. Applications must be submitted by the communicated deadline. Applications submitted outside of this timeframe will not be reviewed. Residential Life will communicate with applicants regarding the status of their access. Once approved, access will be added to the student’s Columbia University ID card. ​To enter the residence halls, non-residents or commuters must swipe their CUID at the security desk or card reader.  

For additional questions or concerns regarding non-residents/commuter access, please contact Residential Life.

​​Residents of East Campus, Broadway Hall, and Hogan Hall can request special access to additional entrances in order to transport personal belongings in or out of the building. East Campus residents can request access to the B2 entrance, which leads into the Faculty House courtyard. Broadway Hall and Hogan Hall residents can request access to the street-level doors which lead onto West 114 Street.  ​​​ 

​​To submit a request, complete the Special Access Request Form. Signs are also posted by these access points with QR codes to complete this form. Requests are reviewed during the Hartley Hospitality Desk hours of operation. Approvals are sent through a confirmation email with instructions.