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 e-mail forwarding. Is that the same as a UNI?

Yes. If your e-mail forwarding address is, your UNI is jd123.

How do I get my UNI? 

Visit our 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 our Login-In Help page to reset your password.

How do I change my password?

Use our 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 Alumni Community? 

The 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" e-mail addresses and, if posted, a photo and a personal profile.

How do I register for the online Community?

You need to log in with a University Network ID (UNI) and password. If you don't have a UNI, you can request one from our office.

What is blind e-mail?

Blind e-mail is a feature that allows you to send an e-mail to a fellow alumnus/a without actually seeing the fellow alumnus/a's e-mail 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 e-mail address in the Community, it does not change the preferred e-mail address for your Columbia e-mail forwarding. To manage e-mail forwarding, go to Columbia's E-mail Forwarding Management page, log in with your UNI password and follow the instructions to manage your e-mail forwarding.

What e-mail services does Columbia offer for alumni?

The Columbia Alumni Association offers two free e-mail services for alumni: Web-based, hosted e-mail (e-mail with an inbox) and e-mail forwarding (an e-mail address that will forward messages to any e-mail inbox you choose). Both services require that you sign up with a UNI and password.

Recent graduates:

Alumni e-mail services will be available to you about ninety days after graduation; during this period, you will continue to have access to your student e-mail account. Once your student account expires (you will be notified by CUIT), you will be able to utilize alumni e-mail services. If you were using LionMail as a student, e-mail service on this account will remain uninterrupted.  
Please note: graduates of Teachers and Barnard are not currently eligible for this service. Information about affiliate school services can be found on the CUIT Web site:

How do I enroll in e-mail forwarding?

First, activate your UNI. Then visit the e-mail forwarding management page, log in using your UNI and the password you selected, and fill in the form.

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 your service.

I currently use multiple e-mail addresses. Will my e-mail forwarding account allow me to forward e-mails to all of them or just one?

E-mail forwarding requires you to choose one address for all of your forwarded e-mail.

Will my Internet access and e-mail be provided by Columbia after I sign up for alumni e-mail forwarding?

No. Alumni e-mail forwarding works as a link to your existing Internet Service Provider.

Hotmail/MSN treats mail sent to my Columbia address as junk mail. How can I work around this?

Hotmail/MSN has a special feature that looks for certain criteria that are associated with spam (junk e-mails) and blocks those messages. To allow your Columbia e-mail forwarding to get past this protection, please go to Hotmail and click on "Options," then "Safe List," and add the domain (without italics). Then scroll down and click "OK." Next, click on "Mailing Lists" and add your full Columbia e-mail address ( Click "OK." 

You might also need to check the "Junk Mail" folder on a regular basis, depending on how you set your junk-mail filter. You can access the folder by clicking on the large blue link towards the top of the Inbox.

Will I be able to send e-mail from this address?

After you set up a forwarding e-mail address, you will continue to send e-mail via your existing ISP, and your true sending address will appear on the "From" line of your outgoing message. However, many e-mail 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 e-mail address, responses from your correspondents will be sent to your alumni e-mail forwarding address and redirected to your inbox.

I'm concerned about privacy. Does alumni e-mail forwarding make my mail any less secure?

Absolutely not. Your e-mail 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 e-mail address as listed in the University's Alumni Community will change to their e-mail forwarding address. Those who prefer to have the Community list their Columbia address should consult the forwarding e-mail section of the AcIS website.

How much does the service cost?

E-mail forwarding is provided free of charge to alumni of Columbia University.

What is Web-based e-mail?

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 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 University Information Technology does not provide that service at this time.

If I sign up for email, will I lose my e-mail 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 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 e-mail 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 e-mail 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 e-mail?

Once you've set up your account, access your online inbox and manage your e-mail forwarding account at To download messages from your account onto your computer or mobile device, use POP/IMAP.

What is my POP/IMAP username/login?

Your UNI + “” 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 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 account.

How do I send messages from my alternate e-mail address (i.e.,

You can send messages from your alternate e-mail address by logging in to your CAA-mail inbox from 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 e-mail account?

Google (which, in partnership with the Columbia Alumni Association, provides Web-based e-mail for alumni) sells advertising space to defray the costs of your e-mail 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 e-mails are being read?

Yes, but not by a person. In fact, most e-mail 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 e-mail 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 e-mail forwarding and Web-based e-mail?

Sure! You can even forward your address to your @caa.colum

Having trouble accessing CAA online services on your browser? Try clearing your browser cache. Here's some instructions on how to do this in Chrome and Firefox browsers.

To update your contact information, please log in with your UNI and password and enter your current information in our Alumni Community.

Ordering transcripts

Alumni may order transcripts from the Office of the Registrar

Third-party requests

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.

For alumni

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.