Types of Payments

Upon receipt of a bill or invoice from a vendor or an individual providing a service, you should hand deliver it to the Business Office for processing, or alert the Business Office if an invoice is being mailed or faxed. The Business Office staff will assist you in processing payment/s.

Check Requests

Under exceptional circumstances, it may be necessary to request a check as advance payment for goods or services, or in payment to individuals non-Columbia University personnel. 

Under these exceptional circumstances, you may need to submit a check request to the Business Office staff. 

A check request is usually required under one of the following circumstances:

  • If a vendor requires pre-payment and will not invoice for payment;
  • If reimbursement of payments advanced by individuals unaffiliated with the University is required;
  • If payment of lecturer fees to individuals unaffiliated with the University is required.
  • If payment is for a contest/award for an individual or group

Required Documents

  • Detailed description of purpose of check request
  • W9 form or W8 form if foreign
  • Check request funding source* (i.e. chart string)

* Check request forms are completed by Business Office staff. 
 

For Payment to a Vendor

You must provide the following to process payments to a vendor:

  • An invoice or quote to Columbia University describing the goods or services to be provided, and an itemized price list;
  • A flyer or agenda (when appropriate) describing the event;
  • The vendor’s Federal Tax ID number (if not on file the W-9 form is required to pay individuals and new vendors, and the vendor should be informed that the University is tax-exempt and will provide an exemption certificate upon request. (The University will not pay a vendor without this information.)

For Reimbursement to Individuals

You must provide the following to process payments to individuals:

  • Name of individual;
  • Business purpose of the expense (e.g. flight, dinner, etc.);
  • Original receipts showing payment of all expenses to be reimbursed and credit/debit card statement, if applicable ;
  • W-9 form completed and signed by the individual, if not already on file;
  • A flyer or agenda, where appropriate.

Please note: The University observes all INS and IRS regulations regarding payment to nonresident aliens.  Certain visa types preclude payment of expenses, professional services, per diem, or salary.  Before committing payment to a nonresident alien, check his/her visa type and ask the Business Office if payment can be made. Learn more

For Professional Services (lecture, meeting participant, etc.)

You must provide the following to process payment for professional services:

  • Name of the individual to be paid for professional services;
  • Description of the service for which payment is provided;
  • W-9 form completed and signed by the recipient, if not already on file;
  • Flyer or agenda, when appropriate.

Please note: Nonresident aliens holding certain types of visas are NOT eligible to receive payment for professional services. Please check with the individual about visa type and submit a copy along with your request for payment.

 

Processing Payments

All student group transactions must be routed through the Business Office. Procedures vary depending upon the type of expense involved.

  • Allow 2-3 weeks for processing. The speed of check processing depends upon the workload of the accounting staff.
  • Rush requests take 2-3 days and are approved at the discretion of the Accounts Payable Office.
  • Checks will be mailed directly to the vendor or student, unless the “check pick-up” option is requested.
  • The University also offers the convenience of direct deposit to all vendors, students, and staff.  

Please note: this is separate from payroll direct deposit.

If interested in this option for any non-payroll related payments, you should submit the Columbia University Direct Deposit Form.

Outside Vendors

Outside vendors should submit invoices directly to:

SIPA Business Office
Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs
420 West 118th Street, Room 1420
New York, NY 10027

New outside vendors must also submit a W-9 Form. Foreign vendors should submit a W-8 Form.

Vendor Accounts/Voucher System

A student group must complete and submit a Vendor Authorization Form before any event that will generate invoices, check requests, or student reimbursements.  Please attach a copy of the flyer or e-mail advertising the event to help track invoices and payments.

SIPA has billable accounts with many food and beverage vendors in the Columbia community.  If your preferred vendor is on the vendor authorization form, the form may be submitted electronically, or printed and submitted to the Business Office. The Business Office will authorize the form for faxing or for hand-delivery to the vendor.  If your vendor is not on SIPA’s list, the Business Office may be able to create an account.

Contact the Business Office before contracting a vendor without an account at Columbia University, and we will advise you on making arrangements to ensure that the vendor gets paid as quickly as possible.

You are encouraged to use vendors on the list to avoid spending your own funds. 

Remember: Your event must be approved by the Office of Student Affairs BEFORE you submit a vendor authorization form.