Columbia College Chicago Announces New Scholarship Initiatives

Responding to the need for creative solutions to increased financial pressures on college students and their families, the Columbia College Chicago board of trustees has approved several initiatives designed to assist current and prospective students as they continue to pursue a college education during these tough economic times.

“Our first priority is keeping our current students in school and assisting them in practical ways that will help them graduate with a minimum of long-term debt,” said Dr. Warrick L. Carter, president of the arts and media college. “We also must continue to be able to bring new students to Columbia, providing them with increased financial assistance as they pursue their educational and career goals.”

Beginning with the 2009 fall term, Columbia will increase its scholarship funds by nearly 50%. Scholarships will be available for both continuing and new students and will be heavily geared to students with demonstrated need.

Also increasing by 50% is institutional support toward the Columbia’s “Third-Party Scholarship Award.” For this award, the college matches qualifying scholarship dollars obtained from outside sources by students.

An innovative scholarship fund raising initiative has also been announced. Scholarship Columbia is a $1 million challenge grant to raise unrestricted scholarship dollars for continuing students with demonstrated need and merit. Primarily targeting Columbia alumni as donors to the fund, the college will provide a two-to-one match on alumni gifts up to $25,000. The college will match alumni gifts above $25,000 and non-alumni gifts on a one-to-one basis. All matches are based on new and increased giving. An anonymous donor has given a launch gift of $100,000 to jump start Scholarship Columbia.

In addition to increasing financial assistance through scholarships, the Columbia trustees have set the 2009-10 tuition increase at a modest 3%, bringing annual tuition for next year to $18,490. Columbia continues as one of the most affordable private arts colleges in the country.

Regarding cost containment, Columbia has frozen the salaries of senior administrators at and above the vice president level, cut travel and entertainment expenditures and has instituted an ongoing review process for all non-classroom related expenditures; campus renovation projects will focus on building safety and infrastructure and the learning environment.

“I believe strongly that as an institution we should take the long-term view,” adds Carter. “We must make every conceivable effort to help support our students’ aspirations. It is imperative for our society and each individual in it that young people continue to dream, to learn, to create and to meet their futures with energy and enthusiasm. As the most diverse arts and media college in the country, it is especially incumbent upon Columbia to continue to provide access to higher education so that our graduates, who represent the many visions and voices of contemporary America, can continue to author the culture of their times.”

“When Warrick Carter began his tenure as President of Columbia less than 5% of our students received financial assistance from the institution,” explains Kelly. “We are currently providing assistance to 14% of our students and with the new scholarship initiatives, that figure will increase to about 20% in the fall. We will continue to work together to exponentially increase scholarships. Our goal is to continue to increase institutional assistance to as many students who have need, while remaining one of the most affordable private colleges in the country.”