Columbia College

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What changes should I expect?

Registration

Evening, Graduate, Online and Nationwide Students will now be able to register for both the early and late eight-week sessions of each semester: fall, spring, and summer. Your enrollment status of full-time, half-time, or less than half-time will be calculated based on your enrollment for the semester.

Payments and Financial Aid

As a result of the multi-session registration, your payment plans and financial aid eligibility will change. Please see the FAQs for billing and payments and financial aid for more information.

Academic Calendar

The academic calendar will be different from years past. As you can see in the image above, your breaks will occur at different times. For day campus students, your in-seat class times will be different.

What is Six Sessions?

Columbia College now offers a total of six eight-week sessions in one academic year in our Evening, Graduate, Online, and Nationwide programs. With two sessions offered each semester (Fall, Spring and Summer), all college venues, locations and programs operate on the same academic calendar.

 

How will this benefit me as a student?

  • You can now register for the entire semester, or both early and late eight-week sessions. This allows you to plan more effectively and spend less time registering for classes.
  • You can choose to complete your degree more quickly. For example:
    • Associate degrees can now be completed in just over one and a half years.
    • Bachelor’s degrees can now be completed in less than 3.5 years.
    • Master’s degrees can now be completed in as little as 12 months.
  • You can take two sessions in the summer semester and still have time for a summer vacation!

General Questions


  • 1.

    Enrollment status is measured over a 16-week semester (made up of two eight-week class sessions) and includes all the credit hours you take during that period of time. In other words, whether you qualify for full-time or half-time enrollment status depends on the number of credit hours you take in a given semester. You are now able to register for courses at the beginning of each 16-week semester for both eight week sessions that are included in that semester. 

    Why is this important?

    If you are required to maintain an enrollment status for financial aid purposes, loan deferments, private scholarships, student discounts, or public assistance qualification, this is how you meet those requirements. Therefore, if any of the above applies to you, we encourage you to register for both the Early and Late 8-Week Sessions for each of the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters.

    For example, if you have enrolled in six credit hours for the Early 8-Week Session, but do not register for the Late 8-week session, you will be considered half-time - even if you intend to enroll later for six credit hours in the Late 8-Week Session. Enrolling for both sessions at the start of the 16-week semester helps you avoid this scenario.

    The following chart defines enrollment status for a semester for undergraduate students:

    Full-time

    12 credit hours

    ¾ time

    9 - 11.9 credit hours

    Half-time

    6 - 8.9 credit hours

    Less than half-time

    1 - 5.9 credit hours

     

    Please see the Financial Aid section for additional information.

  • 2.

    With the added session, a scheduled course rotation will be created to ensure you can plan accordingly.

  • 3.

    At this time, there are no plans to offer 16-week courses over the Summer semester. The course schedules will continue to be created by each campus. With the sixth eight-week session, there is a possibility that 16-week courses could be scheduled. Make sure to check the course schedule regularly for updates here: https://www.ccis.edu/schedule.aspx. Typically, these schedules are available one year in advance.

  • 4.

    To be considered full-time, you need to be registered in a minimum of 12 credit hours during a 16-week semester (which is made up of two eight-week sessions.)

  • 5.

    Registering at the same time for both eight-week sessions in a semester will not affect your ability to adjust your class schedule should the need arise. You will have the ability to add course sections through Wednesday of the first week of class or drop course sections, without financial liability, through Monday of the second week of class.

  • 6.

    You are encouraged to obtain textbooks by session instead of semester. Waiting to obtain textbooks will allow flexibility to adjust class schedule should the need arise.


Financial Aid


  • 7.

    The number of credit hours you take in each 16-week semester (made up of two eight-week sessions) determines your enrollment status and eligibility for financial aid. 

    For example, half-time enrollment (six credit hours for a semester) is required for Direct Loan eligibility.  So if you plan on taking three credit hours in each eight-week session that makes up a semester, you would have to register for both sessions a once to qualify for half-time enrollment status. 

  • 8.

     

    Enrollment status is measured over a 16-week semester (made up of two eight-week class sessions) and includes all the credit hours you take during that period of time. In other words, whether your qualify for full-time or half-time enrollment status depends on the number of credit hours you take in a given semester. You are now able to register for courses at the beginning of each 16-week semester for both eight-week sessions that are included in that semester.

    The following chart defines enrollment status for a semester for undergraduate students:

     

    Full-time

    12 credit hours

    ¾ time

    9 - 11.9 credit hours

    Half-time

    6 - 8.9 credit hours

    Less than half-time

    1 - 5.9 credit hours

     

    You are eligible for Pell Grant (depending on the results of your FAFSA) if you qualify for any of the enrollment statuses listed above.

    You are eligible for Direct Loans if enrolled at least half-time (at least six credit hours) for a semester.

  • 9.

    Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for financial aid will be reviewed annually at the end of the spring semester. 

    If you are placed on financial aid approved probation will be reviewed at the end of each semester.

  • 10.

    Enrollment is required to receive financial aid. You must be enrolled to receive a Pell Grant and must be enrolled at least half-time to receive federal loans.

  • 11.

    You will initially be awarded financial aid for the academic year, inclusive of the fall and spring semesters (both made up of two eight-week sessions).  As in prior years, if you have not used all of your annual eligibility (Pell Grant and/or Direct Loan), you may have eligibility for the summer semester.  You may also request that any loans be reduced for fall and spring semesters and apply for loan funds for the summer semester.

  • 12.

    The annual Pell Grant amount has not changed. 

    Pell Grant eligibility will be based on your enrollment status for each 16-week semester (made up of two eight-week sessions.

    See the “Disbursement” section for specific information regarding Pell re-calculation.

  • 13.

    Financial aid is based on your enrollment for the full 16-week semester.  So if you are a new student in a Late 8-Week Session, you must be enrolled half-time (six credits) for a Direct Loan.  Pell Grant eligibility is determined based on the results of your FAFSA and your enrollment status.  Please note that if you attend part-time (three credits) for only one of the two eight-week sessions that make up a 16-week semester, you will not be eligible for Direct Loans.

  • 14.

    Your enrollment status is reported to the National Student Clearinghouse by the Office of the Registrar at Columbia College.  The six-month grace period for student loan borrowers begins the day after you are no longer enrolled at least half-time.  In addition, an in-school deferment for student loan borrowers requires at least half-time enrollment.  This requirement has not changed.

  • 15.

    The College’s academic calendar has changed to include a sixth eight-week session. This addition allows three semesters with two eight week modules each.

  • 16.

    If you plan on enrolling for all three 16-week semesters, you can review your annual loan limits and request funds to cover that period of time.  (Pell Grant funds may be available for three semesters if you have not used your full Pell Grant amount for the academic year).

  • 17.

    Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) for financial aid will be reviewed annually at the end of the spring semester.  Students who are placed on financial aid approved probation will have a semester review.  For example, if a student appeals after being placed on suspension at the end of the spring semester and that appeal is approved on probation in time for summer, the student has two eight-week sessions within the summer semester to improve their SAP before they are reviewed again by the Financial Aid Office.

    Appeals are reviewed weekly. Specific appeal dates can be found at this link.


Registration


  • 18.

    The last day to add classes will be Wednesday of the first week of class. This has been the practice across several of our venues and will now be the same policy across the board for all venues. Early registration is encouraged to ensure that financial aid arrangements are handled prior to classes beginning.

  • 19.

    You can register in person at any campus, by visiting or calling the Enrollment Service Center at the main campus, or through the Schedule and Register (Self-Service Student Planner) link on CougarTrack. Through Student Planner, you will be able to plan your courses for your whole degree, request a review of your plan from your advisor and register for classes. Contact your academic advisor with questions. 

  • 20.

    Beginning with the 2016-17 academic year, you will be able to register for two eight-week sessions (one 16-week semester) at the same time. The following is a sample timeline.

    July 2016 – Registration opens for the Early Fall session and Late Fall session.

    November 2016 - Registration opens for the Early Spring session and Late Spring session.

    April 2017 - Registration opens for the Early Summer session and Late Summer session

  • 21.

    Registration for the Early eight-week session of the semester will open approximately five weeks before classes begin, as it does currently. However, at the same time registration will open for the Late eight-week session of the semester. Therefore, providing approximately 13-15 weeks to register for the Late eight-week session.

    Registration will open during week six of the Late eight-week session that is currently underway. For example, registration for the Early Fall 8-Week and Late Fall 8-Week sessions in 2016 will open the first week of July.

  • 22.

    The 16/17 academic calendar for the eight-week sessions will allow for a two-week break between the end of classes in December and beginning of the January session, a one-week break between the end of classes in April and the beginning of the session in May, and a one-week break between the end of classes in August and the beginning of classes in August. The Day Campus will have a two-week break between classes ending in December and starting in January.

  • 23.

    A typical full-time student will take a maximum of six credit hours per session for a total of twelve credit hours in each of the three semesters: Fall, Spring, and Summer. Over six eight-week sessions, or three semesters, this would be thirty-six credit hours, if each of those classes were three credit hours. That would result in twelve classes completed in one academic year! 

  • 24.

    Course prerequisites will be enforced the same as they are now. If you are registered in a course that is a prerequisite for another course, you will be allowed to register in the subsequent course, provided that you have completed or are currently enrolled in the required prerequisite. In the event that you do not earn the minimum passing grade in the prerequisite course, you will be required to drop the subsequent course since you no longer meet the criteria for enrollment.

    We expect there to be no impact on enrollment in pass/fail classes.

  • 25.

    In the past, students were only able to register for one eight-week session at a time. For example, you could only sign up for courses in the Early Fall Session in August. Now, you will be able to register for both the Early and Late Fall Sessions in August. This means you'll only have to plan and register for courses three times per year!


    What if I only want to register for one session, or missed the early session and want to start during the late session?

    You are not required to register for two sessions. In these cases, it is important that you contact us to ensure you have the proper enrollment status and meet eligibility requirements for any financial aid you are receiving.

  • 26.

    You are not required to register for two eight-week sessions (semester) at a time. However, not registering for both sessions of the semester prior to the first eight-week session start date may negatively impact your enrollment status and financial aid eligibility. Beginning with the 2016 -17 academic year, you will be required to enroll in 12 credit hours over the span of the semester (two eight-week sessions) in order to be classified as a full-time undergraduate student. This change will be important to your financial aid eligibility. Financial aid will be awarded on a semester basis, therefore at the time you are reviewed for aid purposes at the beginning of the semester (Early eight-week session), you should be enrolled in all of your classes for both of the Early and Late eight-week sessions.

  • 27.

    Beginning with the 16/17 academic year, final grades for all venues will be due Tuesday at noon, following the end of the term.

  • 28.

    To be considered full-time, you need to be registered in a minimum of 12 credit hours during a 16-week semester (which is made up of two eight-week sessions.)

  • 29.

    Registering at the same time for both eight-week sessions in a semester will not affect your ability to adjust your class schedule should the need arise. You will have the ability to add course sections through Wednesday of the first week of class or drop course sections, without financial liability, through Monday of the second week of class.

  • 30.

    You are encouraged to obtain textbooks by session instead of semester. Waiting to obtain textbooks will allow flexibility to adjust class schedule should the need arise.


Billing and Payments


Day Campus


  • 36.

    Day students are not currently eligible for scholarships during the summer. Your institutional scholarships can only be applied to the Fall & Spring semester tuition charges. Some financial aid may be eligible to use in the summer sessions, but you must let the Financial Aid office know that you intend to take summer courses so that those financial aid awards can be disbursed accordingly.

  • 37.

    You now have two class session options during the summer instead of one, which could help you complete your degree more quickly. Please visit this page of the Six Sessions site for additional information.

  • 38.

    Yes, if you are enrolled in summer classes at Columbia College. Rates are announced in April for the following summer period.

  • 39.

    Day students can take summer courses with no restrictions or approvals.

     

    Day students requesting permission to enroll in Evening, Online or Nationwide Campus course(s) (during fall or spring) must meet the following eligibility criteria:

    • Day students enrolling in a minimum of twelve semester hours of traditional day in-seat courses may also take an additional three hours of credit in another Columbia College venue during that semester
    • Must have an overall minimum GPA of 2.5
    • Academic departments may impose additional restrictions
    • First year students in first semester not eligible

    View the current course catalog for details.


GoArmyEd


Veteran Students


  • 50.

    Columbia College eight-week sessions are considered an accelerated term by the VA. So, there will be no change; the VA will still view six credit hours as full-time status for undergraduate students and three credit hours as part-time. Please note this is different from new financial aid policies.

    For graduate students, the VA relies on the college’s definition of full-time. Currently, the college policy is that three graduate credit hours per eight-week session is equal to full-time.

  • 51.

    MTA is restricted to a maximum 30 days prior to request of approval and our education services officer request that military students should not be registered into a course until they provide the college with an approved MTA voucher.

    Students are not required to register for a semester (two sessions) at a time. In instances where maintaining a full-time academic status is needed, GoArmyEd students will have the option to register for a semester through CougarTrack. If a GoArmyEd student opts to register themselves through CougarTrack, before the course sections are available through the military portal, they will be responsible for requesting Tuition Assistances (TA) when the sections are active in the portal, approximately 60 days before classes start.

  • 52.

    If you are a veteran student, you need to ensure that your certifying official is notified of any changes to your enrollment status in a timely manner. This will help ensure that the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) sends the correct payment amounts. In addition, if you sign up for two eight-week sessions at the same time, you will be required to sign up for two separate GI Bill payment plans.

  • 53.

    The VA requires that each course enrollment period be certified to show the encompassing dates. Therefore, each eight-week session will continue to be certified separately as it has in the past.   

    For Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation students (VR&E), a VA Form 28-1905 with encompassing course dates will be needed prior to registration for any session. This must be on hand before a book voucher that will be billed to the VA is provided.


Transitioning to Three Semesters

Second Eight-Week Summer Session

Different Breaks and Class Times

What To Expect Now And In The Future

The academic calendar will start in August every year with the Fall Semester.

Evening, Graduate, Online, and Nationwide have the same start and end dates, with the approved exception of the Charleston, South Carolina campus.

We have outlined the general changes to these areas on the "What you need to know" page.

Some of our student groups have more specific changes. Please be sure to visit the student sub-page to which you belong for more details: