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Explanation of Tuition and Fees
Tuition: The basic charge for general instructional, general institutional, student services, library and plant operations. Tuition covers but a portion of these costs, which also are supported by generous gifts, grants and endowment income.
Room and Board: Covers the cost of residence hall operations, repairs and maintenance, utilities, contractual food service operations, etc.
Part-time Student Tuition and Fees: Covers a portion of the expenditures listed above for full-time students.
Audit Fee Per Semester Hour: A reduced rate of tuition designed for students and members of the community who merely wish to take a course without credit. The audit fee per semester hour enables an undergraduate to sit in on as many class periods as the student desires in any lecture course on the campus. Prior permission of the instructor is required and students will participate to the extent determined by the instructor. Audit students will not receive a grade or credit for the course.
Late Registration Fee: A special handling charge for students who register after the prescribed period each semester. Students are encouraged to register early to avoid this charge.
Overload Fee: The full-time tuition at Columbia College is predicated on a certain number of courses, available classroom space and an average student semester hour load which permits graduation within eight semesters of full-time attendance. Students who enroll for more than 18 semester hours per semester are normally required to pay the additional per semester hour fee.
Transcript Fee: A charge for processing a request for a certified transcript copy and mailing to prospective employers and graduate schools.
Graduation Fee: A charge for graduation processing. This fee is charged to all students regardless of participation in a commencement ceremony.
Fixed-Rate Tuition Program
Beginning with the 2012-13 academic year, the Columbia College Day Campus tuition rate for new, full-time academic students is set to provide a fixed rate for the four consecutive academic years traditionally associated with baccalaureate degree completion. A student’s fixed tuition rate is determined based on the first year of attendance in the Day Campus as a full-time (12 semester hours or more) student, beginning with the 2011-12 academic year. That year of first, full-time attendance is established as the student’s “classification” year. Tuition rates are set by classification year.
Classification years can only be established with enrollment and the receipt of a transcripted grade in the Fall or Spring semester of the Day Campus; Columbia College students that attended the Day Campus as a full-time student during the 2016-17 Academic Year, have their classification year established as 2016-17. All students attending the Day Campus as full-time students for the first time after January 2017 have their classification year established as the academic year of that enrollment. For example, a new, full-time student registering for the August 2016 (Fall 2016) semester has a classification year of 2016-17. A new, full-time student registering for January 2017 (Spring 2017) also has a classification year of 2016-17. Students who attended Columbia College prior to 2011-12, but did not attend Day Campus full-time during 2011-12, have their classification year established as the year they re-enter Columbia College as a full-time Day Campus student.
The tuition rates are fixed as to aid in a student’s financial planning of their four years of college. The fixed rate policy also acknowledges the reality of life’s interruptions that could extend the need to attend Columbia College beyond the four years. The fixed rate is held for the classification year plus the next four academic years, in essence giving students up to five consecutive years at their initial fixed tuition rate. With this added semester (or two semesters, depending on your starting semester) of the fixed tuition rate, no exceptions will be made to extend the initial classification tuition rate beyond the fifth consecutive academic year. Once the initial period of the fixed-rate tuition is exceeded, the student will transition to the lowest fixed tuition rate available for the current academic year. This rate will change with each succeeding year. Should a student leave the Day Campus and/or become a part-time Day Campus student, the student’s classification year will remain unchanged. If the student returns to the Day Campus full-time, they will continue at the rate associated with their classification year.
Policies on Payments, Credits, and Refunds
When a student is accepted for admission, the student, parents, or guardians accept Columbia College’s payment conditions. If any part or all of a financial aid package is reduced or eliminated, the balance created by the change is payable immediately. Degrees, transcripts, and letters of honorable separation are withheld from students who have not settled their financial obligations to the college, including, if applicable, all collection fees, attorney fees and court costs.
A student account that remains unpaid at the end of the semester may be submitted to an outside agency or attorney for collection assistance. More information on collection of past due accounts can be found in the Failure to Pay section.
All students who have moved or changed addresses in the past year should update changes through CougarTrack. The link to this form is called “Address Change” and is located in the “My Information” section of the CougarTrack main menu.
No student may complete registration for any subsequent term if an unpaid balance remains on account or if payments are not current on existing deferred payment arrangements.
Upon receipt of a letter of acceptance from the Admissions Office, a deposit of $200 is required by May 1 before the fall semester of initial enrollment or by December 15 prior to the spring semester of initial enrollment. The deposit is non-refundable after May 1 or December 15 respectively. This deposit is applied to the student’s semester charges and assures the privilege of pre-registration for classes offered the succeeding semester. If housing contracts are returned with the deposit, room is also assured.
Refunds are processed weekly based on financial aid procedures or when a student has excess payments or financial aid. There are no expedited or emergency refunds.
Upon registration, all students are required to pay the entire balance of their accounts (after financial aid awards are considered) by either full payment or through the deferred payment plan.
Deferred Payment Plans
If a student needs to pay educational expenses over a period of time, a deferred payment plan may be requested.
The college offers various plans that allow payments to be deferred over a number of installments. Each plan has different terms, payment due dates and fees. The terms are provided upon enrollment in a payment plan. Payment plans offered are subject to change at any time without notice.
- 4-Installments (per semester) plan
This plan allows students to make payments for each semester in four installments. There is a fee charged to defer payments, which can vary by the payment plan(s) available.
Fall payment due dates: July 31, August 31, September 30 and October 30.
Spring payment due dates: December 28, January 31, February 28, and March 31.
- Financial aid fully funded plan
This plan allows students to enroll in a payment plan in which their account will be 100 percent paid by financial aid. This plan will show the entire balance due by a specific date, which will be near the end of the semester. However, the plan will become paid off when financial aid is posted to the student account, and no out of pocket payment should be due from the student. (If financial aid is cancelled/reduced and no longer will cover 100 percent, then payment would be due from the student by the listed due date.)
- VA/TA benefit plan
This plan is for students enrolling in a 16-week semester who receive VA benefits, Tuition Assistance, or sponsorship by another third party. You will be required to schedule automatic payments made on the due date via electronic check or credit card.
Add/Drop from Individual Courses
Financial liability for the semester is assessed from the time of initial enrollment in the course(s). If students add courses and this creates an overload for the semester, additional overload tuition fees are assessed and are payable at the time of registration for the overload.
Day students may drop a course(s) through Monday (or next business day following a holiday) of the second week of the semester without financial liability (not applicable to total withdrawal).
Cancellation of Registration
All financial charges are dropped if written notification of registration cancellation is received by the Enrollment Service Center prior to the first day of classes. Deposits are nonrefundable after May 1 before the fall of initial enrollment, or December 15 before the Spring of initial enrollment.
Total Withdrawal from College
After classes begin, tuition and room charges are determined as follows if the student completes the total withdrawal process from Columbia College:
|NOTE: Count all days of the week, including weekends
|First day of class through Monday of the second week of class
||Full-time student: $250
|Part-time student: $250
|Tuesday of the second week of class through the 14th day of the semester
||20% of original charges
|The 15th through the 21st day of the semester
||40% of original charges
|The 22nd through the 28th day of the semester
||60% of original charges
|After the 28th day of the semester
||100% of original charges
Students who wish to totally withdraw from classes must see the Dean for Student Affairs to complete the withdrawal process. If a student is removed from the residence hall, tuition and room charges are reduced according to the schedule listed above. Board charges are reduced at the rate charged per day for the days remaining.
Students receiving financial assistance should be aware that their financial aid package could be affected should they elect to drop/withdraw from a course(s). Students who receive any form of federal Title IV assistance and who withdraw may be required by federal regulations to return some or all of the federal aid received. This includes the federal Pell and SEOG grants, and the Stafford and PLUS loans. See the Financial Aid portion of the College catalog for additional information.
The $200 deposit is nonrefundable after May 1 before the fall of initial enrollment or December 15 before the Spring of initial enrollment and no reduction of charges will be made for laboratory/course fees, etc.
Some students must withdraw from all courses enrolled due to unforeseen, unexpected circumstances beyond a student’s control that prevent continued attendance in all classes (death of an immediate family member; certain changes in the student’s employment, and mental or physical illness befalling the student or member of his/her immediate family). Mere inconvenience, discomfort with the academic workload or changes in employment are not sufficient to meet the definition of extraordinary, mitigating or extenuating circumstances. Columbia College will assist students who must withdraw due to extraordinary circumstances with options regarding the proration of tuition, room and board. Columbia College reserves the right to require additional documentation and/or supporting evidence any time a refund or partial refund is requested by a student.
A student who withdraws for extraordinary circumstances, even with the College’s concurrence, may still be required to return some, or all of the federal financial assistance received for that term. The College follows the federal guidelines concerning return of Title IV funds, and does not have any authority to waive the rules regarding the return of federal assistance, even in extraordinary circumstances.
Columbia College recognizes that individuals serving in National Guard or Reserve units may be in need of tuition refunds or credits if called to active service. Columbia College will assist students called to active military service with options regarding their registration in classes including, but not limited to, course work completion, tuition refunds or tuition credits.
Failure to Pay
Timely payment of all tuition and fees is required to continue attendance at the College. If unforeseen circumstances occur that preclude timely payment, the Enrollment Service Center should be contacted to see if an alternative payment agreement can be arranged.
Failure to make initial payment for semester/session tuition have the following possible consequences:
- Course registration is invalidated.
- Course spaces may be given to other students.
- Campus services will not be available.
Failure to meet appropriate payment dates.
The total bill becomes due immediately. Any collection or legal expenses incurred, which can, in some cases, exceed 50% of the original balance owed will be the responsibility of the student/parent. Although every effort is made to contact a student prior to submission to a collection agency, Columbia College reserves the right to submit a student’s account for collection at any time when the student fails to remit the personal payment portion of the account balance. The privilege of deferred payments in subsequent semesters may not be permitted.
Outstanding balance from a previous semester.
Until the balance is paid, the student will not be allowed to:
- Register for any subsequent semester.
- Obtain a transcript of academic work.
- Receive their diploma.