BREAKING: College announces 10% tuition hike

By Anna Busalacchi, Managing Editor

President and CEO Kwang-Wu Kim discusses the tuition increase at the Columbia Student Center, 754 S. Wabash Ave. Jared Callaway

Columbia college undergraduate students will face a 10% tuition increase beginning Fall 2022, President Kwang-Wu Kim announced late Tuesday. Kim said he believed it to be the largest percentage increase in the college’s history.

After approval from the board of trustees on Oct. 28, Kim announced the increase in a Student Governmental General Assembly meeting organized by the Student Government Association on Tuesday. He spent the day meeting with leaders throughout the college and sent out an email also signed by Board Chairman William E. Wolf to faculty, staff and students at 6 p.m. outlining the increase.

Tuition will increase by $2,660 to $29,270 for one academic year for full-time and international undergraduate students. Tuition for part-time students will increase by 10% as well. Kim noted that tuition was not raised for the past two academic years.

Additional fees for instruction, registration, technology, the health center and student activities will become standardized, costing $1,450 per year. This does not include fees for the study abroad and Semester in LA programs and the U-Pass. The college is eliminating the $175 graduation fee.

The cost of living in residence halls will increase by 2.5%. The college plans to share prices for each residence hall with the Chronicle on Wednesday, Nov. 17.

Beginning in Fall 2022, students will be able to take up to 18 credit hours with no additional charge, as opposed to 16.

The price of graduate tuition is still being determined but will most likely be announced in the first couple weeks of December, according to Kim.

In an interview with the Chronicle Tuesday, Kim said the college is currently operating with a “very severe deficit,” some of which was planned, and some of which is related to unexpected COVID-19 costs.

“We’re really struggling right now,” Kim told the students. “I don’t want you to worry that that means the college is in trouble because I can tell you we’re not, but there is so little to go around right now.”

Kim described Columbia as “extremely dependent” on tuition dollars because it is the source of 85% of the school’s revenue.

Kim said closing the deficit depends on increasing fundraising and the $235 million endowment.

“Part of what this tuition increase is about is trying to move the college’s financial model to one which is sustainable over the long-term,” Kim told the Chronicle.

Michael Joseph, vice president of Enrollment Management, said the college’s cost per student is on average $5,000 more than they pay in tuition.

The college also announced a $1.5 million “student aid pool,” which includes a new fund for scholarships for continuing students established by the board of trustees, according to the statement from Kim and Wolf.

“We want to do everything we can to make it possible for students who are at Columbia to not only continue, but succeed and thrive,” Kim said.

More updates to come.