Columbia College is cutting tuition for adult students

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COLUMBIA – Adult classes at Columbia College are now going to cost just one fee for courses, and that fee covers everything.

Starting in the 2018 fall semester, evening and online undergraduate students will only pay $375 per credit hour for classes, and that includes books. 

"We found a way to essentially negotiate in bulk with the publishers," said Columbia College President Scott Dalrymple. "The college itself is buying the textbooks and we're passing those savings along to the students."

Columbia College calls this new way of charging tuition "Truition." The program is meant to give students who are also balancing a job an easier way to afford their education.

"Truition applies to all the other students we have across the country who are generally coming part-time and for whom fees and books are significant costs and barriers to going to college," Dalrymple said.

Students who take nine credit hours (three classes) will only pay $3,375.

Columbia College's administration came up with the $375 – $490 for graduates – by finding the lowest possible price to charge for tuition.

Truition doesn't apply to traditional, daytime campus students. Their tuition will stay the same because it pays for things like the student center and recreation center. Daytime students also have access to programs evening and online students don't.

"There are some scholarships that adult students are eligible for, but certainly not to the level that we have on the traditional campus, which has athletic programs and music programs and other things that you typically don't see in the adult venues," Dalrymple said.

At the same time, the lower price of online and evening classes won't affect the daytime campus either.

This isn't a pilot program to test the feasibility of a cheaper college education. This is how Columbia College plans to charge online and evening students from here on out.

"This is the way we do business now," Dalrymple said. "We think it's time for a college in America to stand up and say 'enough. Enough of these fees. Enough with the cost of textbooks."

Dalrymple said the student response to Truition has been very positive. He also said the college is excited about it.

"We think it's a new way of thinking about making college affordable," he said. "We are honored to be the ones to bring this to scale in the United States. We hope it's a sign of things to come, and frankly, we challenge other colleges to do the same."

Editor's Note: The original headline of this article was "Columbia College is cutting tuition for adult students." The headline has been changed to more accurately reflect what fees the Truition program affects.