Frequently Asked Questions Alumni Services
Who is eligible for the Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) UNI-protected services?
All graduates from Columbia University are eligible. Graduates from affiliate schools (Barnard, Teachers College, Union Theological Seminary, and Jewish Theological Seminary) are not eligible.
What's my UNI?
Your UNI (University Network ID) is your Columbia virtual ID, equivalent to a username or log-on on other systems. It is preassigned, usually based on your initials and an arbitrary number. For example, Samuel Johnson's UNI might be sj2036. If you had a UNI as a student, in most cases your UNI carried over after graduation.
I already have an alumni username from email forwarding. Is that the same as a UNI?
Yes. If your email forwarding address is firstname.lastname@example.org, your UNI is jd123.
How do I get my UNI?
Visit the Log-In Help page, where you can look up your UNI and set a password.
My password isn't working. Am I doing something wrong?
Your password should be at least eight characters long, chosen by you. See below if you have forgotten your password. Also, make sure you use lower case letters when entering your UNI on our log in page.
I forgot my password. What should I do?
Use the Login-In Help page to reset your password.
How do I change my password?
Use the Login-In Help page to change your password.
Can I give my UNI and/or password to someone?
Computer and network accounts provide access to personal, confidential data. Therefore, individual accounts cannot be transferred to or used by another individual. Sharing accounts or passwords is not permitted. For more information, read Columbia University Information Technology's full network use statement.
What information do you collect?
Columbia University and authorized third-party service providers collect information about users’ activities and experiences while visiting a Columbia University website. Examples of tools that collect such information include but are not exclusive to: browser cookies, web beacons, flash cookies, tracking pixels, and similar technologies.
Columbia uses data gathered about website activity (e.g., demographic data, browser type, IP address, pages visited, the day and time of visit) to target users for certain types of content, or to match up with email subscriber lists and/or to provide a better user experience. For example, to recognize new visitors to CU websites, recognize past users, better understand the interests of users and website visitors, and to improve the website to enhance the visitor experience. For more information, read the Columbia University Website Cookie Notice.
What is the Online Alumni Community?
The Online Alumni Community is a free, searchable online database of information about alumni from all schools within Columbia University. It does not include information about alumni from Columbia's affiliate schools (e.g., Barnard College, Teachers College, Jewish Theological Seminary, and Union Theological Seminary). To search for alumni from affiliate schools, please contact their respective alumni offices, listed on this site's homepage. The Community also does not list alumni who have "hidden" their information. In addition to our online Community, you can also search for fellow alumni by contacting the alumni office of the appropriate school.
What information is available online?
The online Community includes name; graduation degree, School, and year; and home and business contact information. It also includes "blind" email addresses and, if posted, a photo and a personal profile.
How do I register for the Community?
What is blind e-mail?
Blind email is a feature that allows you to send an email to a fellow alumnus/a without actually seeing the fellow alumnus/a's email address. This protects each individual's privacy while helping alumni to connect.
Who has access to the Community information?
The Community is password-protected, so only Columbia University alumni are able to search it. In addition, each alumnus/a has the option to hide any or all of his/her Community listing by using the options in the My Listing page of the Community.
Does the Community affect my e-mail forwarding?
No. When you update your email address in the Community, it does not change the preferred e-mail address for your Columbia email forwarding. To manage email forwarding, go to Columbia's Email Forwarding Management page, log in with your UNI password and follow the instructions to manage your email forwarding.
What email services does Columbia offer for alumni?
The Columbia Alumni Association offers two free email services for alumni: Web-based, hosted email (email with an inbox) and email forwarding (an email address that will forward messages to any email inbox you choose). Both services require that you sign up with a UNI and password.
Alumni email services will be available to you about ninety days after graduation; during this period, you will continue to have access to your student email account. Once your student account expires (you will be notified by CUIT), you will be able to utilize alumni email services. If you were using LionMail as a student, email service on this account will remain uninterrupted.
Please note: Graduates of Teachers College and Barnard are not currently eligible for this service. Information about affiliate School services can be found on the CUIT website: http://cuit.columbia.edu/email-alumni.
Attention: As of October 22, 2019, you are no longer able to create new forwarding to email systems outside the University. Existing forwarding will continue to function until it is removed on January 7, 2020. After January 7, UNI mail-forwarding to Columbia systems (Ex. email@example.com to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com) will continue to be available. For detailed information, click here. For a full list of permitted forwarding destinations, click here.
Please visit the Online Alumni Community to update your contact information with your preferred email address.
How do I enroll in email forwarding?
How soon after I sign up or change my forwarding address will the forwarding take effect?
It takes up to three business days for both new and updated addresses to take effect. Please plan ahead to avoid any gaps in service.
How many email addresses can I forward to?
Email forwarding requires you to choose one address for all of your forwarded email.
Will I be able to send email from this address?
After you set up a forwarding email address, you will continue to send email via your existing email provider, and your true sending address will appear on the "From" line of your outgoing message. However, many email programs allow you to set the default "Reply" address on your messages to something other than the sending address. By setting your default "Reply" address to your Columbia email address, responses from your correspondents will be sent to your alumni email forwarding address and redirected to your inbox.
I'm concerned about privacy. Does alumni email forwarding make my mail any less secure?
Absolutely not. Your email will never be stored on a Columbia computer, so there is no added security risk when you use the service.
Can current Columbia University faculty and staff who are also alumni use this service?
They may. However, they should note that their email address as listed in the University's Alumni Community will change to their email forwarding address. Those who prefer to have the Community list their Columbia address should consult the forwarding email section of the AcIS website.
How much does the service cost?
Email forwarding is provided free of charge to alumni of Columbia University.
What is Web-based email?
Columbia's Web-based e-mail (which is provided in partnership with Google) is an e-mail account with all of the features of Gmail, but with an address of any name you choose @caa.columbia.edu. Please note: the Columbia Alumni Association does not provide technical support for Gmail. For Gmail help, please visit the Gmail Help Center.
Why would I want a Columbia-affiliated Gmail account?
Gmail offers robust e-mail features while allowing you to stay connected to Columbia. You can read about their current features on the Gmail website.
Why can’t I have an inbox @columbia.edu?
Columbia University Information Technology does not provide that service at this time.
If I sign up for firstname.lastname@example.org email, will I lose my UNI@columbia.edu email forwarding account?
No. You can have both addresses at the same time, and you can keep both addresses as long as you like.
Can I combine this account with my other Gmail account?
Sure. You can do this by forwarding your old account to your new account @caa.columbia.edu. Learn more about forwarding in Gmail forwarding help center.
Why can't I sign up with the nickname of my choice?
Most likely another user has already chosen the same nickname. You will need to pick another nickname for your account.
I've created a Web-based email account, but I'm not sure how to use it.
The Columbia Alumni Association does not provide technical support for Gmail. The fastest way to get questions answered about your new Web-based email account is to visit the Gmail Help Center. If you have questions that are not answered there, you could post a question to Gmail Help Discussion.
How do I get to my email?
Once you've set up your account, access your online inbox and manage your email forwarding account at alumni.columbia.edu/email. To download messages from your @caa.columbia.edu account onto your computer or mobile device, use POP/IMAP.
What is my POP/IMAP username/login?
Your UNI + “@caa.columbia.edu” is your username.
What are my POP/IMAP settings?
Check with the Gmail Help Center for the correct settings for your client or device.
Why doesn't my UNI password work when I use it for my POP/IMAP setup?
Your UNI password is only used to access your Web-based inbox. Anything you don't see in a Web browser, including POP/IMAP and the GoogleChat, requires the password you created when you set up your caa.columbia.edu address. If you’ve forgotten it, reset it at the account maintenance page. Log in with your UNI password and follow the instructions to set a new password. HELPFUL HINT: This password must be at least eight characters long.
I use a mail client or mobile device not listed in the Google-supplied documentation. What can I do?
Google supports all major mail clients and many mobile devices, including iPhones and Blackberries. If Google does not list your mail client in its documentation, you will not be able to use it with your caa.columbia.edu account.
How do I send messages from my alternate email address (i.e., email@example.com)?
You can send messages from your alternate email address by logging in to your CAA-mail inbox from alumni.columbia.edu/email. After you log in, you should see your inbox; click on the link in the upper right corner that reads "Settings." On that page that opens, choose the tab that reads "Accounts"; adjust your address according to the directions.
Why are there ads on my Web-based email account?
Google (which, in partnership with the Columbia Alumni Association, provides Web-based email for alumni) sells advertising space to defray the costs of your email account. Your messages are electronically scanned for terms that match their advertisers' products, and your inbox automatically displays ads that seem most relevant for you.
Does this mean my emails are being read?
Yes, but not by a person. In fact, most email providers perform this type of scanning, whether for targeting advertisements, screening out profanity/offensive content, or detecting malicious scripts that could harm your computer. No email is completely private.
Will Columbia sell or share information about me with any outside vendor?
Columbia partners with a few select companies to offer services like our online Community and some financial products. Doing so necessitates our sharing a limited amount of demographic information with those vendors. Our agreements with those vendors restrict them from re-selling that information to third parties.
Can I use both email forwarding and web-based email?
Sure! You can even forward your @columbia.edu address to your @caa.colum
Alumni may order transcripts from the Office of the Registrar.
Third parties who wish to obtain a student transcript must send their request by mail along with a clearly readable and specific release signed by the student. For more information, contact the Office of the Registrar.
If you are a graduate of Columbia and you wish to acquire Columbia regalia for use in commencement ceremonies elsewhere, please contact the Alumni Relations Office.
For current students
If you will graduate this year, you can obtain information on ordering academic attire from the University Commencement Web site.