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Information for Students

Frequently Asked Questions

Telephone Service

 How much will my basic monthly service cost me?

The feel for basic monthly phone service is included in your housing charge. This is a flat fee, which includes call waiting, voice mail and intra-campus calls (to other TC extensions)

Unlimited local calls within the 5 boroughs are also covered and toll free numbers, which include calls to area codes: 212,718,917,646,347,800,888,877, & 866.

 If I cancel my voice mail service will my basic rate change?

No. Your bill will remain the same regardless of the changes you make to your basic services.

What is NOT included in the basic monthly charge?

All residents will be charged separately for long distance and international calls.

Calls to Columbia University should be made using our tie line exchange followed by the extension number (see below).If dialed this way, they will be treated as internal calls and there will be no additional charge.


  • For 854 exchange, dial 714 + four digit extension
  • For 853 exchange, dial 713 + four digit extension

I have heard about "no-connect" calls. What are these?

For fraud protections, the Teachers College telephone billing program records as complete all unanswered calls that ring for more than 45 seconds or 10 rings. If these "no-connect" call charges appear on your bill, we are happy to issue a credit. This does NOT apply to calls answered by a fax line, modem, or by voice mail, regardless of the length of the call.  These calls will occur mostly on attempts made to call international numbers.

To receive credit for these no-connect calls:
Bring a copy of your telephone cost allocation detail, with all questionable calls highlighted, to the Telecommunications office in 54 Thorndike Hall This should accompanied by an explanation of your request. (Originals will not be returned, so please keep a copy).   Total the amount of the credit  you are requesting, including 3% federal and 8.25% state tax; and write this amount on the first page of your report.  If you are requesting credit for more than one month, please calculate and request credit for each month separately.  All request must be made within 60 days of the report date

When can I expect to receive a bill for the calls that I have made?

Telephone charges will be applied directly to your student account. These charges should be paid at the Office of Student Accounts in 133 Thompson Hall, along with your housing fees.

 Please contact the Telecom Office for call detail record of your monthly charges. You are responsible for your bill when it is posted to your account, even if you have not received  a copy of your call detail report.  If your find a discrepancy with your bill, please let us know.  If the discrepancy is valid we will make any adjustments necessary to your phone bill and reflect in your following month's bill.  


 In addition, if you are eligible for a credit

The credit will appear on your student account bill the following month provided we receive your request by the 20th of the month, and that these procedures are followed correctly. If we have any questions regarding your request, we will contact you.

Can I receive collect calls?

No. Carriers should not pass through collect calls; however, if they are transferred, you should not accept these calls. Accepting collect calls will cost you a $5 service charge per call in addition to the charge for the call. These charges will be applied directly to your account.


Can I use my own phone?

Yes. You can use a phone other than the one provided by TC in your room, including cordless phones. Students who choose to use a phone with no indication light must fill out a Student Work Request Form to have a stutter tone added on their line for notification of Voice Mail. When you pick up the receiver, the stutter tone will notify you with three quick beeps if you have a voice mail message. The original telephone must be in your room when you check out, or your will be charged for a replacement. The replacement charge is $100.000.

What if I want to use my own answering machine?

To cancel your voice mail and use your own answering machine, please fill out a Student Telephone Work Request form and indicate that you wish to "Remove Voice Mail." There is no charge for this type of service.

Voice Mail

How do I use the voice mail system?

When you fill out your telephone service request form, we will make sure your voice mail service is active. To use the system, you will need to personalize your voice mail box, as follows:


  • From your own phone, dial *8 or 3400
  • Enter your password (your starter password is the same as the last four digits of your phone number)
  • Use menu option 4, and follow instructions to record your name and greeting.



  • From an external phone, dial 678-3400, or from another TC extension, dial 3400
  • Follow instructions above.

After how many rings will voice mail pick up?

When you fill out your request form, indicate whether you want voice mail to pick up after 3, 4 or 5 rings or contact the Telecom Helpdesk ext. 3456


Whitter and New Resident Hall residents will need to use an authorization code in order to make long distance and international calls. (They are not needed for local calls). Codes will be given to you when you move in to your room.

These codes can be used from any phone on the TC campus. You will be billed for all calls made using your code, so DO NOT share this code with anyone else. To use the code, dial "1" +"6" + your six-digit code. When you hear a dial tone, dial "9" to get an outside line, followed by the number you are calling.


Other Telephone Service Features

1. How will Call Waiting work on my phone?
You will hear an interrupting 'click' notifying you that you have another incoming call. It will only click, however, for the caller's first three rings. After that, the call will be forwarded to your voice mailbox.

2. How can I deactivate call waiting while using my computer?
Dial #73. To reactivate call waiting, dial #72.

3. How do I use my fax machine and keep voice mail?
If you are expecting a fax while you are out, set the ringer on the fax to pick up after only 2 rings and voice mail will not pick up your call. Remember, you cannot receive voice mail when you have done this, so plan well when you use this option.

4. How do I use my calling card on this system?
Dial 9 to access an outside line; then dial the toll free number or access number of your service provider.

5. Will I be able to make three way calls from my phone?
No. However, if the call is set up by someone outside the College who has three way calling, then that person can make the call.

6. How do I get a "Student Telephone Work Request" and where do I turn it in?

You can pick one up from the following locations:

  • Telecom Office (54 Thorndike)
  • Bancroft Desk
  • Whittier Desk.

Please return this request to Telephone Services (54 Thorndike) during normal business hours and we will do our best to fill your request as soon as possible.

7. Is there a way for me to get my phone number listed with Verizon Directory Assistance?

No. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause. Unfortunately, this service is not available to students at colleges and universities with the same type of telephone system as ours.

8. Can I have caller ID service?

Yes. Every residents phone has caller id.


9. Whom can I call if I have questions or concerns?
If you have questions or concerns, the telecommunications staff can help. For voice mail questions or problems, call x3456. If your phone is not working, call x3456 or bring your telephone into our office and it will be repaired as soon as possible. For billing questions, call Sonya Jones at x4014. All of us can also be reached through Google Mail.

10. May I change my telephone number?
Only for serious matters, or your safety is in danger. If you are getting harassing phone calls, you must file a report with the Security Office in 28 Main Hall.


Who is the Cable TV Provider?  Who do I call to report a problem?

Privatel Inc. is the cable service provider. As you begin to connect your television to the cable wire you may also need to program your TV for "cable" not "antenna".   With your remote control press the menu and select program channels.  You should see all the channels listed on the the channel line up appear.  Once this is done all of your cable channels are programmed.
Your cable hook-up is located on the phone, data, and cable box located on the wall. Please DO NOT use the cable wire running from the wall in your room.  The cable wire running from the wall is not the correct cable connection.  Please use the connection on your labeled Phone and Cable Box.

You will be able to call or email the provider directly.  Privatel will provide 24/7 customer service support system with a 2 hour response time.  This does not mean that a tech will be at your door within two hours, but you will get a call back.  It is important to leave a message if you do not get a live technician.  Many problems should be fixable remotely.  Email is the preferred method of contact, for the fastest response time send your request  You may also call 732-974-1502.