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Standard Payment Policy
When a student is accepted for admission, the student, parents or guardians accept the standard payment policy of Columbia College. Students incur financial liability when registration is complete through a submission of an official Columbia College registration form. Liability is not dependent upon a student receiving a billing statement.
The personal payment portion of the student’s educational expenses (educational expenses less financial aid or assistance award) is due in full at the time of registration. (See the Financial Aid section of the undergraduate catalog for detailed information).
If full payment is not possible, students are required to enroll in a deferred payment plan. The arrangement requires payment of a pre-determined installment of the personal payment portion at the time of registration (or a due date near the start of the session), with the remaining portion due by end of the session for which the student is registering. The student must be up-to-date on scheduled payments or have a zero balance when registering for a subsequent session even if the student is under a deferred payment plan from the previous session. Missed payment plan installments may result in assessment of late payment charges for each missed payment. The student commits to this when he or she checks the box signifying agreement to the deferred payment plan on the online registration form. Deferred payment plans are valid for only one session and must be requested for each individual session.
Employer Tuition Assistance: Students who receive employer tuition assistance may have the costs of educational expenses paid by their employer through direct billing or through reimbursement. Students should check with their employer to determine which plan is appropriate for them.
- Direct Billing: A student may register for classes and have tuition charges billed directly to their employer if a letter from the employer authorizing such an arrangement is provided to the student’s campus.
- Reimbursement: A student attending under the employer reimbursement is required to follow the college’s standard payment policy and then receive reimbursement following the guidelines of the established employer.
Under either form of tuition assistance, students are responsible for any portion of their educational expenses that are not paid by their employers. Students whose employers have contingencies on their payment (such as attaining a certain grade) are required to pay as if they did not have employer tuition assistance and will be reimbursed after the employer makes payment.
Military Tuition Assistance (MTA): Students receiving military tuition assistance (MTA) are required to present an approved MTA form at the time of registration. Students are personally responsible for any educational expenses not paid by the military and are required to follow the standard payment policy for their portion of educational expenses. Students may not register for a subsequent session if in arrears for payment of their personal share of fees for courses taken during the previous session. It is imperative that military students contact the appropriate educational services officer for guidance and assistance in completing MTA paperwork.
Veterans Educational Assistance: An individual who is currently serving or has served in our nation’s armed forces may be eligible for educational assistance from the Veterans Administration (VA). It is imperative that VA eligible students complete paperwork required to establish VA eligibility. VA students must present evidence of eligibility at the time of registration. The VA pays benefits directly to eligible individuals. Students are personally responsible for payment of their educational fees and are required to follow the standard payment policy of the college.
Failure to Pay
Students are financially responsible for the payment of educational expenses that may be associated with courses for which they are enrolled. When a student fails to settle this responsibility, Columbia College may bar a student from enrollment in any course(s) in any subsequent session. The bar to enrollment will continue until the account has been paid in full.
Failure to comply with the payment policies of the college will result in further collection activity by an outside collection agency or attorney. When this action occurs, students are responsible for paying all collection expenses which can, in some cases, exceed 50% of the balance owed. 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 when the student fails to remit the personal payment portion of their account balance.
Degrees, diplomas, transcripts and letters of honorable separation are withheld from students who have not settled their financial obligations to the college. This includes all collection fees, attorney fees, and court costs when applicable.
Requests to add/drop/withdraw from a course will not be accepted by telephone. Students are required to complete the appropriate form to cancel a course enrollment. Confirmation of receipt is the responsibility of the student. Should circumstances prevent the student from completing the appropriate form, the student should contact their campus for special arrangements to cancel the enrollment. The Campus staff reserves the right to request substantiating documentation to support the student’s inability to complete the add/drop/withdrawal in person.
Students with financial aid who drop or withdraw from a course(s) need to be aware that their financial aid could be affected. For more information, please refer to the Financial Aid and Scholarships section of the undergraduate catalog.
- Full Refund: A student is entitled to full reduction of tuition when s/he drops from a course(s) during the first week of the eight-week session, providing a Columbia College add/drop/withdrawal form has been completed and submitted prior to the close of business on Monday of the second week of the session. Students who received books for dropped courses are required to return books to avoid book charges.
- Partial Refund: During the second through the eighth week of the session, a student could be entitled to a partial refund of tuition when she/he withdraws from a course(s) due to extraordinary circumstances. Extraordinary circumstances are narrowly interpreted to mean the development of unexpected circumstances beyond a student’s control that prevents continued attendance in all classes. Examples of extraordinary circumstances include serious illness, death in the immediate family, significant change in the terms, location and/or conditions of employment, call to active military duty or TDY, etc. Mere inconvenience, discomfort with the academic workload, or minor schedule changes in employment are not deemed to meet the definition of extraordinary, mitigating, or extenuating circumstances.
To be considered for a partial refund, a student must submit a complete withdrawal form. This form must be accompanied by a letter or email from the student to the Campus office explaining the circumstances surrounding the withdrawal and the desire for financial consideration. In addition, Columbia College requires substantiating documentation to support the student’s request, i.e. a letter from a physician, military orders, etc. Student should be aware that a refund is not automatic; rather, requests for financial consideration are subject to review and approval on a case by case basis.
- No Refund: No refund will be granted to a student who voluntarily or involuntarily (administratively) withdraws from a course(s) during the second through the eighth week of the session, unless extraordinary circumstances apply (refer to partial refund listed above).
- Refund Requests: Credit on a student account that results from the transfer of financial aid does not require a request for refund. These credit balances will be automatically refunded. Credit balances due to overpayment or a change in enrollment status require the student to complete and submit a refund request form. The form will be routed to the Accounting Office and inform the staff that the student wants to have a refund rather than have the credit apply to a future balance.
Students interested in applying for financial aid should see the Financial Aid section of the catalog. Specific aid information for online and nationwide students can be found here .