Columbia College Review

Columbia College is based in Columbia, Missouri, and offers an array of accelerated bachelor's and master's degrees that cater to working adults and military students.

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The Good

Affordable tuition:

Tuition per credit hour is very affordable at all degree levels, but Columbia College really stands out for having some of the lowest tuition rates for graduate credits when compared with other top online schools. Tuition rates at Columbia College are also very transparent in that they do not tack on extra fees each term, such as a technology fee or activities fee, which is common at many other schools. You should keep in mind that since Columbia College offers five terms a year and you can take as many or as few credits as you want, your costs per term can vary but are likely to remain comparatively low.

Respectable rankings:

The latest online education rankings from U.S. News & World Report name Columbia College with three different rankings in the top 100. The Columbia College online bachelor’s program is ranked number 69 out of 160 different online programs, and offers a wide selection of 15 different majors. The school also earned rankings for two graduate programs, including a number 95 ranked online graduate business program and a number 90 ranked online graduate education program. Aside from the online programs, the university itself was included in the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 Regional University Midwest rankings.

Multiple year-round start dates:

At Columbia College you can get started on completing coursework towards your degree with five different academic start dates. Many schools limit new students to one set of spring or fall start dates, but Columbia College gives you more flexibility with start dates in January, March, June, August, and October. Online classes run for eight-week sessions, which is why there are so many new term starts per year. The eight-week schedule is considered an accelerated pace that can be especially accommodating if you have work, military, family, or other obligations.

The Bad

Certain programs not offered in every state:

Prospective online students should keep in mind that four of the specific degree programs are not available in every state due to current accreditation regulations. If you are considering a master’s of education in educational leadership, or a bachelor of arts in political science, public administration, or English, you should check on the eligibility of your home state before applying. In some cases the degrees are strictly not available to residents of certain states. It is something to keep your eye on, though, as Columbia College is currently seeking approval to offer these degrees through their online campus.

Relatively low graduation rates:

There are consistently low graduation rates across several online degree programs at Columbia College. The online bachelor’s program has a reported 42% graduation rate for the 2011-2012 academic year, and near exact figures were reported for each of the previous three years. The online graduate business program has better figures with a 2011-2012 graduation rate of 59%, which is an improvement over 43% from the previous year. Finally, the online graduate education program has a reported 53% graduation rate for 2011-2012 which is a huge improvement over 35% from the previous year. Columbia College may be inching towards improvement, but the school still comes up short when compared to other top online colleges which have consistently higher graduation rates.

The Details

General Information

  • Application Fee: $35 - $55
  • Location: MO
  • Region: Midwest
  • School Type: Private
  • Term Schedule: Other

Number of Programs

  • Online Bachelor's: 13
  • Online Graduate Business: 1
  • Online Graduate Education: 2
  • Online Graduate Engineering: None
  • Online Graduate IT: None
  • Online Graduate Nursing: None

Tuition Rates (per credit)

  • Online Bachelor's (In-State): $245
  • Online Bachelor's (Out-of-State): $245
  • Online Doctorate (In-State): N/A
  • Online Doctorate (Out-of-State): N/A
  • Online Master's (In-State): $335 - $345
  • Online Master's (Out-of-State): $335 - $345
  • Online MBA (In-State): $345
  • Online MBA (Out-of-State): $345

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