Frequently Asked Questions

Business Office

The description and instructions below go along with the image below - Please click on the image below to see it in full size as you read this guide. 

 

1. Total Direct Expense > Actual to Date Month: Any transactions that occurred in the given month being reported on will be reflected in this column. If there is any spending that occurred on your account in the given month, a PDF of the detailed spending by category will be attached for your review.

2. Total Direct Expense > Balance Before Commitment: This value reflects your balance before any Encumbrances such as Encumbrances such as Purchase Orders and Open Vouchers (Reimbursements).

3. Total Direct Expenses > Open Vouchers: Please refer to any category where the "open vouchers" column is populated. This reflects pending reimbursements and/or invoices for that category.

4. Total Direct Expenses > Encumbrance: Please refer to any category where the "encumbrance" column is populated. This reflects a commitment (usually a Purchase Order or salary) for that category.

5. Total Direct Expenses > Budget Balance Available: This value reflects your balance after Encumbrances, Open Vouchers and Salary/Fringe totals. So it includes all PO's, commitments, reimbursements, salary charges and more accurately reflects the actual budget left to spend on the account. 

 

Please click the image to see it in full size!

Department: 

(Please refer to the screenshot below that correspond to the following list numbers)

  1. Total Direct Expense > Budget Balance: This value reflects your balance after Encumbrances, so it includes all PO's and commitments and more accurately reflects the actual budget left to spend on the award. Please refer to this column to your SPFRs to see what each balance award is.
  2. Please refer to any category where the "encumbrance" column is populated. This reflects a commitment (usually a Purchase Order or salary) for that category
  3. Total Direct Expense > Balance Before Commitment: This value reflects your balance before any Encumbrances such as Purchase Orders
  4. Current F&A Base and Rate: The percentage of Indirect Cost Funds taken out of the Total DIrect Cost
  5. Total Expense > Budget Balance Available: Any transactions that occurred in the given month being reported on will be reflected in this column. If there is any spending that occurred on your grant in the given month, a PDF of the detailed spending by category will be attached for your review.

(Click here or on the image to see full size)

Department: 

Travel ‐ Reimbursable Expenses

  • Baggage handling
  • Storage expenses
  • Business office expenses
  • Business‐related calls and faxes
  • Up to 3 personal calls per day of reasonable duration
  • Currency conversion fees
  • Gratuities to porters, bellhops and other service personnel
  • Internet access
  • Laundry or cleaning expenses on trips lasting over 5 days
  • ATM fees and traveler check fees
  • Ground transportation
  • Parking and tolls
  • Travel change/cancellation fees (if required for business needs)

Travel ‐ Non‐Reimbursable Expenses

  • Airline club membership dues or one‐day admission fees
  • Air‐phone usage
  • Baby‐sitting
  • Barbers & hairdressers
  • Clothing (purchase or rental)
  • Toiletry items
  • More than 3 personal calls each day, unless emergency circumstances are documented
  • Expenses related to vacation taken before, during, or after a business trip.
  • Frequent flyer miles
  • Helicopter services for local travel/entertainment
  • Snacks
  • Loss or theft of cash advance
  • Loss of airline tickets
  • Loss or theft of personal fund
  • Lost baggage
  • Luggage and briefcases
  • Personal reading materials
  • Medical expenses while traveling
  • Mini‐bar alcoholic expenses
  • Movies
  • Personal entertainment
  • Pet care
  • Recreational expenses
  • Saunas, massages
  • Shoe Shines
  • Souvenirs, or personal purchases
  • Travel Insurance 

Employee Entertainment Expenses:

Reimbursable Business Occasions

  • Dissertation defense
  • Promotion
  • Welcoming a new hire to the University
  • Leaving the University
  • Years of Service/Retirement
  • Graduation of an employee/student
  • Awarding of tenure
  • Publication
  • Event or performance opening
  • Sabbatical
  • Recognition of achievement, departmental goal, honor, or thank you

Other Reimbursable Employee Entertainment

  • Departmental celebration of a holiday
  • Collective celebrations of birthdays
  • Congratulations on business related individual achievement

Non‐Reimbursable Employee Entertainment

  • Showers for birth or adoption of baby
  • Engagements, weddings, anniversaries,
  • Individual birthday celebrations
  • Congratulations on personal related individual achievement

Department: 

Grants

(Please refer to the screenshot below that correspond to the following list numbers)

  1. Total Direct Expense > Budget Balance: This value reflects your balance after Encumbrances, so it includes all PO's and commitments and more accurately reflects the actual budget left to spend on the award. Please refer to this column to your SPFRs to see what each balance award is.
  2. Please refer to any category where the "encumbrance" column is populated. This reflects a commitment (usually a Purchase Order or salary) for that category
  3. Total Direct Expense > Balance Before Commitment: This value reflects your balance before any Encumbrances such as Purchase Orders
  4. Current F&A Base and Rate: The percentage of Indirect Cost Funds taken out of the Total DIrect Cost
  5. Total Expense > Budget Balance Available: Any transactions that occurred in the given month being reported on will be reflected in this column. If there is any spending that occurred on your grant in the given month, a PDF of the detailed spending by category will be attached for your review.

(Click here or on the image to see full size)

Department: 

Hiring & Payroll

My Professor offered me a position, what’s next?

Please fill out the Hire Data Form for Candidates.

I was accepted for a position with the QMSS program. What’s next?

The QMSS Program Coordinator will work with you to assemble your appointment package. You can reach the QMSS Program Coordinator at qmss@columbia.edu.

What hiring documents do you need from me?

Please refer to the hire checklists for Department Research Assistants or Casual Employees. Depending on your position, we will need from you:

  • CV
  • Academic Profile
  • W-4 tax form
  • One of the following forms: IT2104 (NYS residents.), IT2104.1 (Non-residents), IT2104E: (Full-time students under the age of 25).
  • Voluntary Race & Ethnicity form
  • Inventions/ Patents Agreement I-9 Verification

International students, please also include:

  • Passport copy
  • Visa copy
  • Copy of DS-2019/ or I-20

Undergraduate students:

  • Casual Employment form
  • NYS Department of Labor form

When will I get paid?

Please refer to Columbia’s Payroll Calendar.

I don’t have a Social Security Number. How can I get one?

You can request a Social Security Verification Form through iserp-hiring@columbia.edu, which you will need to apply for a Social Security Number.

Who can help me get a visa?

The International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) can help you in the visa application process.

My visa will expire soon, what should I do?

You will need to work with the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) and your home department if your visa needs to get extended. Please remember that you are not allowed to work on an expired visa!

How many hours per week can I work?

Full-time students can work for up to 20 hours per week. If you have multiple positions, make sure to not exceed this limit.

Can I extend my appointment?

If your PI would like to rehire you, s/he can complete the Hire Request form for PI’s, so we can initiate the process.

How do I complete an I-9?

See instructions here. The I-9 is completed in two parts. Part 1 may be completed online; part 2 must be completed in person at a designated I-9 service center. After you completed both parts, return the I-9 receipt to ISERP staff. Please do not begin work until your hire paperwork has been completed.

Do I need to be a full-time student to hold a position?

Yes, many appointment types require you to be a full-time student.

Can I work in multiple positions during a semester?

Student Officers of Research or Administration may only hold one such title at a time. Casuals may hold multiple positions concurrently, as long as these do not interfere with their academic commitment or pass the allowable threshold of 20 hrs/week. Additional restrictions may apply for international students.

I am not happy in my employment. What should I do?

Please always feel free to discuss your concerns with your PI, or ISERP staff to get some guidance on your options.

Do you offer internships for high school students?

Unfortunately, ISERP does not offer internships for high school students.

Department: 

You will need to work with the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) and your home department if your visa needs to get extended. Please remember that you are not allowed to work on an expired visa!

Department: 

Please refer to Columbia’s Payroll Calendar.

Department: 

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