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Columbia College Chicago (CCC) was established as a private art college in 1890 in downtown Chicago and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Offering undergraduate and graduate degrees across a spectrum of fields including visual and performing arts, journalism, communications, and more. CCC also boasts an undergraduate and graduate student population of nearly 7,000 students from various cultures and backgrounds, making up its diverse student body.

Overview of Columbia College Chicago (CCC)

Columbia is affiliated with several prestigious organizations and centers, such as the Center for Black Music Research that explores African Americans' contributions to music; as well as celebrating bookbinding and printmaking art through their Center for Book and Paper Arts.

CCC believes in the transformative power of art to enliven and enrich communities, which it does through its Center for Community Arts Partnerships by working closely with local organizations to offer arts education programs for youth while creating social change. Furthermore, its Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago offers contemporary dance training and performances on campus. CCC stands as an institution with a long and rich history that strives to foster creativity, community engagement, future artists, scholars, and performers.

General Information

School Type Private not-for-profit
Campus Setting City: Large
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 15 : 1
Graduation Rate 47%
Year Founded 1890

Student Enrollment

Total Students6,646


Undergraduate Student

Male 2,570
Female 3,854

Graduate Student

Male 89
Female 133

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Top Rankings For Columbia College Chicago

CCC Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Male 2,781
Female 4,920


Male 2,586
Female 4,723

Acceptance Rate95%

Male 93%
Female 96%

Enrollment 1,610

Male 621
Female 992
Application Fee NA
High School GPA Not Required, But Considered
High School Rank Not Required, But Considered
High School Transcripts Required To Be COnsidered
College Prep Courses Not Required, But Considered
Recommendations Not Required, But Considered
Formal demonstration of competencies Not Required, But Considered
Work experience Not Required, But Considered
Personal statement or essay Not Required, But Considered
Legacy status Not Considered
SAT/ACT Not Considered
Other Test (Wonderlic,WISC-III,etc) Not Considered
English Proficiency Test Required To Be COnsidered
Application Deadline August 1
Common Application Accepted Yes

CCC Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

Tuition costs for undergraduate programs vary based on both program type and student status (part- or full-time), but an estimated average tuition and fees total for the 2022-23 academic year was approximately $53,716, with costs being the same for both in-state and out-of-state students. The cost of tuition was around $31,000, with books and supplies costing another $1,700, room and board costing $18,000, and other various fees adding around $3,000 to the total. Graduate programs at Columbia College Chicago vary significantly in tuition rates. On average, tuition ranges between $857 and $1,035 per credit hour with most programs taking 36 credit hours to complete. Students should budget accordingly for all expenses.

CCC is more expensive than public institutions because the cost is unsubsidized by the state. However, the institution also provides a diverse array of financial aid options and scholarships to assist its students with covering educational expenses. The average net price for students after financial aid was applied in 2021-22 was $28,387.

Average net price 2021-2022
Net Price $28,387
Average Total Aid $18,020
Students Receiving Financial Aid 99%
Room & Board $18,000

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $31,026
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $31,026
  • Books and Supplies - $1,700
  • Room & Board - $18,000
  • Other - $2,990

Popular Academic Programs at CCC

Columbia College Chicago provides a range of academic programs for both undergraduate and graduate students, most of which spring from the school’s focus on the arts. Undergraduate students can select from over 50 degree programs such as Film & Video Production, Graphic Design, Fashion & Apparel Design, and Music, as well as unique offerings such as Comedy Writing and Performance, Fine and Studio Arts Management, and Interactive Technology and Special Effects. Columbia also offers an MFA program in Creative Writing, which offers highly regarded training in creative writing skills across genres. CCC stands out among academic institutions by offering these many specialized programs and areas of study and its emphasis on arts.

Student Population Total

Student Population 6,646

Evening Classes : N/A
Online Learning : N/A

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

All Visual and Performing Arts Majors 746 Total Graduates / 59%
Cinematography and Film/Video Production 111 Graduates
Graphic Design 76 Graduates
Photography 61 Graduates
Fashion/Apparel Design 58 Graduates
Communications Technologies/Technicians and Support Services 253 Total Graduates / 20%
Animation, Interactive Technology, Video Graphics, and Special Effects 209 Graduates
Recording Arts Technology/Technician 44 Graduates
Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs 121 Total Graduates / 10%
Radio and Television 49 Graduates
Journalism 20 Graduates
Advertising 16 Graduates
Communication, General 14 Graduates
All English Language and Literature/Letters Majors 51 Total Graduates /4%
Creative Writing 40 Graduates
English Language and Literature, General 11 Graduates
All Business Majors 36 Total Graduates / 3%
Marketing/Marketing Management, General 33 Graduates
Retail Management 3 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 5%

Outcome & Salary

Columbia College Chicago graduates have achieved remarkable career successes and opportunities since completing their education at this renowned institution. Columbia prides itself on offering comprehensive programs designed to prepare its graduates for work across many industries in media, arts, and communication.

CCC boasts an outstanding alumni network that helps its graduates navigate their career paths successfully. Past Columbia alumni have gone on to excel in fields such as film, television, theater, photography, journalism, and more; this includes David Lynch, Lena Waithe Kathleen Hanna, and Bob Odenkirk, among others. Columbia College Chicago graduates have solid job placement rates upon completing their education thanks to strong industry connections and career-centric programs at the college. Columbia's Career Center also provides invaluable resources and support such as networking events, job fairs and internship opportunities that help give them real world experience. CCC graduates experience significant long-term career success upon leaving the school, often making headlines and winning major awards in their respective fields.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $49,500
College Grads Average Salary $65,000
College Grads Mid Career Salary $88,700
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $650,000
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,537,000
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $113,548
10 Year Projected ROI $536,452
20 Year Projected ROI $1,423,452
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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