Columbia College Chicago

Columbia College Chicago


Columbia College Chicago is a creative liberal arts college focused on rigorous academics, hands-on learning, collaboration and career preparation. With more than 120 years of deep experience, we encourage students to take creative risks, develop an authentic voice and author the culture of their time. Columbia offers an inclusive learning community and an educational philosophy that weds theory with practice. Columbia gives students the opportunity to practice and perfect their craft from day one while grounding them in a liberal arts curriculum. Our location in Chicago—one of the most vibrant, forward-thinking cities in the world—provides students access to an array of cultural and professional experiences, and our award-winning faculty of working professionals prepare graduates for successful careers and leadership roles in their field.

Programs Supporting First-Generation College Students

Pre-College Prep & Outreach Center for Community Arts Partnership

The Center for Community Arts Partnership, which has played an integral role at Columbia since 1998, oversees a variety of college-community partnerships in the arts. Two of its initiatives, Project AIM and Community Schools, are committed to building meaningful, sustainable partnerships by uniting the college, public schools, and the local community. It is through these unique relationships that all partners are able to create innovative arts programming that builds stronger schools and neighborhoods. Under the auspices of the Center for Community Arts Partnerships, Columbia College also offers a graduate concentration in Arts in Youth and Community Development. Learn more about Center for Community Arts Partnership

Scholarship & Financial Aid Scholarships

Columbia offers a number of scholarships to both incoming and continuing students. Each of these scholarships is awarded based on a unique set of criteria which may include some combination of financial need, academic achievement and creative merit.

Student Diversity

  • 7,809
  • 42/58
  • n/a
    First-generation college students
  • <1%
    American Indian or Alaskan Native
  • 3%
  • 14%
    Black or African American
  • 13%
  • <1%
    Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
  • 55%
  • 5%
    Two or more races
  • 6%
    Race and/or ethnicity unknown
  • 4%

Student Success

  • 71%
    First-to-second year retention
  • 44%
    Six-year graduation
  • n/a
    Six-year graduation for underrepresented minority groups
  • n/a
    Freshmen who live on campus
  • 22%
    Undergraduates who live on campus
  • 374
    Full-time faculty
  • n/a
    Full-time minority faculty
  • 17:1
    Student–faculty ratio
  • Top 5 Majors

    Film & Video, Art & Design, Photography, Theatre, Writing

  • Multicultural Student Clubs and Organizations

    Asian Student Organization, Black Student Union, Common Ground, Latino Alliance, Black Actors Guild, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Hillel, American Sign Language Club


Cost of Attendance

  • $25,580
  • n/a
    In-state Tuition
  • $372
    Required Fees
  • $13,630
    Room and Board

Financial Aid

  • $42,300,000
    Total institutional scholarships/grants
  • $13,155
    Average aid package
  • n/a
    Average student loan debt upon graduation (of those who borrow)
  • n/a
    Pell Grant recipients among freshmen
  • 79%
    Students with financial need
  • 86%
    Students with need awarded financial aid
  • n/a
    Students with need awarded need-based scholarship or grant aid
  • n/a
    Students with need whose need was fully met


Applicant Academics

  • 11,000
    # of applicants
  • 88%
  • 3.10
    Average HS GPA
  • 23
    ACT Composite
  • n/a—n/a
    SAT Critical Reading
  • n/a—n/a
    SAT Math
  • n/a—n/a
    SAT Writing
  • yes
    SAT/ACT optional


  • rolling
    Regular application closing date
  • $35
    Application Fee
  • $35
    Application Fee (online)
  • yes
    Fee waiver for applicants with financial need
  • n/a
    Early decision plan
  • n/a
    Early decision application closing date
  • n/a
    Early action plan
  • n/a
    Early action application closing date