Discover Your Benefits

Columbia University offers a comprehensive benefits package to support your everyday needs and life events. You might be surprised to learn how many benefits plans and resources the University provides to you and your family everyday—as well as when the unexpected happens.

Back to School Means Changing Schedules

Changing Seasons Means Changing Schedules

Goodbye swimsuits. Hello school bags, briefcases, shorter days, holidays and jam-packed schedules. No matter what's on your calendar, September can be a stressful month as schedules readjust. 

Whether you want to use your time more efficiently or simply prevent burnout as summer ends and fall begins, use your Columbia benefits to alleviate some pressure and stay on track.

Tips to Beat September Stress

  • Research and Referrals: Ask the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)  for help completing your to-do lists (username “Columbia”; password “eap”).
  • Looking for support identifying early education, child care and/or K-12 schooling options? The Office of Work/Life’s School and Child Care Search Service can offer the guidance you need.
  • Need an elder care provider due to a new school or work schedule? The EAP can help you locate qualified providers in your area.​​

If you need support while looking for a new care provider, take advantage of Columbia’s Back-Up Care Advantage Program, provided by Bright Horizons. This program gives you access to a variety of resources and support for short-term care, including:

  • Babysitters, nannies and housekeepers
  • Elder care services
  • Center-based child care

For more information, including copays for services, visit Columbia’s Office of Work/Life’s Back-Up Care webpage.


  • If the cost of your child care has changed, don’t forget that you can increase or decrease your Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) election (during Benefits Open Enrollment and/or if you have a qualified life status change).
  • Serious about improving your scheduling habits (and much more)? Learning & Development offers courses and workshops on everything from time management to team building. 

Organize your child’s medical records and emergency contact information.

Schedule medical and dental check-ups before school starts:

  • Update immunizations
  • Consider vision and hearing tests (impairment can affect learning) and sports check-ups

Complete a consent-to-treat form and share with school nurse and day care providers

  • Develop action plans for health issues, like asthma or food allergies
     

Don’t miss your shot.

Now is a good time to think about the immunizations you and your family might need. The University’s medical plans cover preventive immunizations and boosters. Ask your doctor about which ones you and your family should have.

A change in schedule, or a new school or after-school activity for your child can be stressful for you. Don’t let stress get the upper hand; Columbia has resources to help:

Fit for Duty: Meditation has multiple benefits, from coping with feelings of sadness to balancing emotions, and clearing the mind to better navigate new challenges. Start your path to a more mindful life with Aetna’s step-by-step guide to meditation at work.

Life Coach: Identify and work towards achieving your goals and/or lifestyle changes. Your own, private life coach is available by phone,email or online chat through the University’s Employee Assistance Program*. Go to the Humana website (username “Columbia”; password “eap”) to gain access.

Mindfulness Apps** Go to the Humana website (username “Columbia”; password “eap”) to access these apps at a discounted cost: 

  • Talkspace: Confidential and secure mental health support. Users can send text, video and audio messages to dedicated therapists 24/7.
  • Stop, Breathe & Think: Meditation and mindfulness programs to help you tackle life’s ups and downs.
  • Five Minute Journal: Simple, directed journaling exercises to help you focus on the good and positive things in your life.
     
  • Audio-guided meditation and yoga videos can be found on the Office of Work/Life Mental & Emotional Well-being webpage.

*Available to benefits-eligible employees, whether enrolled in a University medical plan or not.

**You can also download these apps in the App Store or Google Play.

If you have children in high school, you’re probably already thinking about college. The University provides resources to help you through this exciting process. You may be eligible to receive Tuition Exemption for your children attending Columbia University, Barnard College, Teachers College or other accredited colleges and universities. Go to Tuition Programs for eligibility and program details.

Access guidance about the school search process and life at college through the Employee Assistance Program (username “Columbia”; password “eap”) to gain access. Click “What’s on your mind” and select “Education.” Resources include tools to help you calculate budgets and find information on:

  • Back to school
  • Online Educational Resources K-12 and college
  • College and University search tools
  • Professional development
  • Returning to or starting school as an adult

If you or your child (age 18 or older) is anxious or overwhelmed by college prep, speak with an Employee Assistance Program counselor.

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