We offer generous financial aid programs to help you pay for Columbia College Chicago. The proof is in the numbers:

  • $40.4 million in scholarships awarded during the 2016-17 academic year.
  • 90 percent of freshmen and 85 percent of transfers received financial aid in 2016-17.
  • $14,135—The average financial aid package for a Fall 2016 freshman.
  • $12,108—The average financial aid package for a Fall 2016 transfer student.

Estimate your costs and financial aid package using our net price calculator.

Percentages for full-time, domestic students. Packages include Columbia scholarships, federal grants, state grants, need-based employment programs, and Stafford loans.

Applying for Financial Aid

To be considered for all available financial aid programs, including scholarships, you should take the following steps upon gaining admission:

If you are selected for an academic achievement scholarship, we will notify you soon after you are admitted to the college.

Once you are admitted to the college and we receive your FAFSA, you will be notified of your complete financial aid package with a Financial Aid Award Letter. Your Financial Aid Award Letter will list all financial aid programs for which you qualify. These programs may include renewable scholarships that consider academic achievements, artistic talent and financial need, as well as federal grants, state grants (Illinois residents only) and federal student loans.

Other Financing Options

To pay for education, many families use resources beyond the awards offered on the Financial Aid Award Letter. These resources include the federal parent PLUS Loan, 529 college savings plan, veteran benefits and employer-sponsored tuition benefits. We also offer an affordable payment plan. Contact Student Financial Services for assistance in navigating all available financing options.

Annual Costs for Full-Time Students (2017-18)

Tuition: $25,580
Average room and board: $13,630

To help you get a better idea of your remaining costs after financial aid, we’ve created a few sample financial aid packages below. Keep in mind that each student is unique, and your actual financial aid package may differ from these examples.

Renee

In-state freshman, living on campus

Renee lives and breathes the theatre. She’s performed in every one of her high school’s plays, and she wants to pursue a degree in acting. During open house, Renee learned about the possibility of taking a semester at Columbia’s sister college, Rose Bruford College, located just outside London, England. Renee’s parents are divorced, and she lives with her mom and sister in Aurora, Illinois. She plans to live in a dorm on campus. 

  • 18 years old
  • Plans to live on campus
  • Illinois resident
  • GPA: 3.40
  • ACT: 25
  • Parents are divorced
  • Custodial parent (age 44): $55,000 income; $15,000 in assets
  • One younger sibling, not in college
  • Total cost: $41,500
  • Grants and scholarships: $8,200
  • Estimated net price: $33,300
  • Federal Direct Subsidized Loan: $3,500
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan: $2,000
  • Remaining cost after financial aid: $29,600

Terrence

In-state transfer, commuting to campus

After graduating high school, Terrence enrolled in a large state school in Illinois. He really enjoyed the TV production class he took, but the Television department at his school was small. Tony made the choice to transfer to Columbia for his sophomore year and enroll in the Television Production and Direction program. His parents reside in the Jefferson Park neighborhood of Chicago, and Tony plans to live with them and commute to Columbia. 

  • 19 years old
  • Plans to live with parents
  • Illinois resident
  • GPA: 3.20
  • ACT: 23
  • Parents are married
  • $25,000 + $70,000 = $95,000 household income
  • $30,000 in assets
  • One sibling in college
  • Student works part time ($15K/year)
  • $0 assets
  • Total cost: $29,000
  • Grants and scholarships: $8,200
  • Estimated net price: $20,800
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan: $5,500
  • Remaining cost after financial aid: $15,300

Imani

Out-of-state freshman, living on campus

Imani loves video games—and not just playing them. She took a video game programming class her junior year of high school, and she wants to pursue a degree in Game Development. She also plans on joining the Honors Program at Columbia. Imani lives with her parents are younger sibling in Ohio, and she plans to live in a dorm on campus. 

  • 18 years old
  • Plans to live on campus
  • Ohio resident
  • GPA: 3.90
  • ACT: 29
  • Parents are married
  • $60,000 + $100,000 = $160,000 household income
  • $50,000 in assets
  • Younger sibling, not in college yet
  • Student earned $1,000 working
  • $1,500 assets
  • Total cost: $41,500
  • Grants and scholarships: $8,200
  • Estimated net price: $33,300
  • Federal Direct Subsidized Loan: $3,500
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan: $2,000
  • Remaining cost after financial aid: $27,800

Tony

Adult with child, commuting to campus

Tony took courses at a community college a few years ago, but he never earned a degree. He’s been working at a men’s clothing boutique for years, and wants to go back to school to pursue a degree in Fashion Business. Tony lives with his wife and their child in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago, and he plans to commute to Columbia from home. 

  • 31 years old
  • Plans to commute
  • GPA: 3.20
  • ACT: 23
  • $20,000 + $55,000 = $75,000 household income
  • $6,000 in assets
  • One dependent child
  • Total cost: $29,000
  • Grants and scholarships: $8,200
  • Estimated net price: $20,800
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan: $9,500
  • Remaining cost after financial aid: $11,300