Columbia College Chicago Commits $7 Million to Support MAP Grant Students for 2015-16 Academic Year

CHICAGO (April 4, 2016) – Columbia College Chicago announced today that it will support its students by covering the $7 million balance owed to them by the State of Illinois for the 2015-16 academic year. The state’s budget impasse this year left more than 20 percent of Columbia’s undergraduate students without Illinois’ Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant funding, which assists with the payment of tuition and fees for students in need. 

“We recognize that Illinois is in the midst of a budget crisis, but expecting college students to carry the burden of the state’s budget failure is unconscionable,” said President and CEO Kwang-Wu Kim. “I’m proud to lead a college that puts students first and commits to supporting them in a substantial way under these extraordinary circumstances.”

Columbia College’s decision to cover the 2015-16 costs for its students comes at a time when students are preparing to register for fall classes or preparing for graduation this May. For many students, not being able to cover the costs the state promised them would have delayed registration or left them unable to return to school.

“We’re all in this together,” Kim adds. “Institutions across the state are also asking themselves the same hard questions about how to fund students this year without compromising the quality of education students expect and deserve.”

Columbia College Chicago, like several higher education institutions across the state, has committed to funding students for the 2015-16 academic year, but cannot continue to do so in 2016-17. For most institutions already, the difficult decision to compensate for the state’s budget failure comes amidst a time of declining enrollments and stretched budgets.

“We are fortunate to have the ability to step in and assist our students at this time when many other institutions cannot,” said Kim. “We continue on our path with a strong strategic plan, a strong board and outstanding faculty and staff, but we all understand that this means making some very hard decisions next year.”

There are 1,833 Columbia College undergraduate students currently funded by the Illinois MAP program. In addition, nearly 20 percent of all students at the college are first-generation college students. The annual tuition for an undergraduate student is $23,640. 

Columbia College Chicago is a private, non-profit urban institution offering a distinctive curriculum that blends creative arts, media, liberal arts and business for 9,000 students in more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Dedicated to academic excellence and long-term career success, Columbia College Chicago creates a dynamic, challenging and collaborative space for students who experience the world through a creative lens. For more information, visit


Media Contact: Cara Birch, 312.369.8695,