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Columbia College: While Expensive, Officials Say it’s Reasonable for an Arts School

Education - Josephine - February 17, 2020

Columbia College students often complain about the high price of school, but according to the Director of Admissions Recruitment, no school in Illinois gives more money to its students.

With tuition costs at more than $17,000 a year, students are often forced to work part time and take out handsome loans to pay for their education and housing costs. The financial aid office finds themselves constantly busy helping out students in need. The number one problem is that the students don’t have enough cash, said Maria Moreno of the Student Financial Services office. But one student, Bryson Martin, standing outside the financial aid office, said it was not just cash that he needs. He was ready to drop out of school because of the high costs.

Martin has no help from his parents to pay for his education. His method of payment is mostly through FAFSA loans. Like many other student at Columbia, he said the loans aren’t even enough. He planned on talking to the Student Financial Services Office, and if they couldn’t help him out more, he would have to drop out of Columbia and go to a cheaper school.

Columbia doesn’t have statistics on why students drop out, said the Director of Admissions Recruitment Patrick Fahy. Students are free to drop out of the institution without being interviewed to find out why. Money issues may or may not be the number one reason for students leaving Columbia. But even if that is the case, Columbia is the least expensive private arts institution in the nation, said Fahy.

Columbia may seem as if it does not give money to the students because it doesn’t usually give grants based on admission status. The school reserves scholarships for students who have the motivation to apply separately, said Fahy. The school already factors in the grant money with the up-front price. They charge a flat rate because they are trying to be fair to everybody.

One solution to lowering your costs at Columbia is to live off campus. When the rates are around $10,000 a year to live on campus, paying $450 a month for your own place doesn’t seem like a bad idea. That is exactly what one student, Walter Hurley, 21, is doing. Though he still has to take out loans to pay for his education costs, Hurley can pay for his housing with the money he makes from interning at Heroin Chic. Though it takes him about an hour to get to school, he can afford his own studio apartment in Rogers Park.

So Columbia may be an expensive school, but the reason is because it is a private arts institution. If you are determined to go to an arts school, Columbia may actually be cheaper than any other arts school you will find.

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