Admissions Authentication Policy


The purpose of this policy is to define the identity authentication process as part of admissions to Columbia College.


This policy applies to all student applicants to Columbia College.


All Columbia College student applicants are required to authenticate their identity as part of the admissions review process. Main Campus Day Program admits will complete authentication as part of the registration and enrollment, rather than during admissions review. 

In order to be used for identity authentication, government-issued photo identification (e.g. driver's license, passport, permanent resident card, etc.) must be valid and current. Expired identification will not be accepted for authentication. The applicant's full name, date of birth, and other directory information must match their applicant and student file (as applicable).

Some applicants may be exempt from authentication. However, proof of citizenship status (i.e. permanent resident card, naturalized citizen certificate, etc.) is still required for admission review, including applicants who are exempt from authentication. Military service member (active duty, guard, and reserve) applicants from all branches are exempt from the Admissions Authentication Policy as they are verified and approved by the U.S. Military. Veterans, spouses, and dependents of military members, however, still need to complete identity authentication as part of their application to Columbia College.

To complete authentication, student applicants must show a government-issued photo identification and verify their identity. Applicants may complete authentication in one of the following ways:

  • Photo with ID: Student applicants can take a photo (i.e. selfie) with their government-issued, photo ID, with their ID next to their face in the photograph. The detailed information on their ID must be legible. It is recommended that in addition to this photo, an image of the ID also be submitted for review. Photos can be submitted to for verification.

Photo Guidelines: Submit a color photo taken within the last month. Take a clear image of your face. No shadows or filters commonly used on social media should be used. Do not have any distracting or image-altering accessories (i.e. hats, sunglasses, etc.). Exhibit neutral face expression or natural smile. Ensure both eyes are open. Do not digitally alter your photo.

  • Video Session: Applicants not located near a Location may show their government-issued photo ID to their Admissions Counselor in a scheduled video meeting via webcam (i.e. Skype or Zoom).
  • At Location: Applicants with access to a Columbia College Nationwide Location may show their government-issued photo ID to a full-time staff member at their Location.
  • Notary Form: A Notary Public will confirm the applicant's identity by making a copy of the student applicant's government-issued photo ID and providing their signature (and notary stamp as applicable) on the Notary Public ID Authentication Form. The signed and completed form must be submitted to for verification.

New applicants with recent changes to their legal name must provide a government-issued photo ID with updated name or provide documentation (i.e. marriage license) to verify their recent name change. Applicants seeking readmission to Columbia College (i.e. student applicants with an existing student record) must also complete the Name Change Request Form with the Office of the Registrar in order to update their student record with Columbia College.