Failure to Pay Policy


The purpose of this policy is to define a student’s failure to pay all fees or charges to the student’s account and outline potential consequences for such action. 


This policy applies to all students at Columbia College.  


By registering for classes students are agreeing to financial responsibility for their account balance, including but not limited to charges for tuition, textbooks, lab fees, and all miscellaneous charges.  This is regardless of any expected sources of assistance such as financial aid, scholarships, military or corporate sponsorships, 529 payments, etc.

Students may not register or attend future sessions if the financial obligations for which the student is responsible are not paid in full. Degrees and letters of honorable separation are withheld from students who have not settled their financial obligations to the College, including, if applicable, all collections fees, attorney fees, and court costs.

Failure to comply with the payment policies of the College may result in further collection activity by an outside collection agency or attorney. When this action occurs, students are responsible for paying all collection expenses which may exceed 50% of the original balance owed. Although every effort is made to contact a student prior to submission to a collection agency, Columbia College reserves the right to submit a student’s account for collection at any time when the student fails to remit the personal payment portion of the account balance.

Past-due Balances

Credit Card, Check or ACH payments returned unpaid to the College by a financial institution, no matter the amount or reason for the return, are considered past due.

Check and ACH payments will automatically incur a $25 NSF Fee in addition to the original obligation. NSF fees are not subject to exception. The Business Office will notify the student who submitted the returned payment via their Columbia College email. Full payment is due immediately. 

Columbia College takes credit card chargebacks seriously and will dispute all chargebacks. You are required to contact Columbia College and attempt to resolve all disputes. If we receive an unauthorized chargeback from your credit card company, we will notify you of the chargeback and place a hold on your account. A fine may be placed on your account, and you will be responsible for all charges incurred. 

Students with more than one returned payment are subject to payment restrictions. 

Students with a Columbia College balance are sent monthly billing statements via Cougar email. A student's balance is considered past-due if not paid in full by the last day of courses. Initial attempt to collect payment for a past-due balance will be made by Columbia College.  

Columbia College partners with Heartland ECSI to solicit payment after all attempts to do so have been unsuccessful by Columbia College.  Heartland ECSI will mail letters and make calls to notify students of their outstanding balance.  Mailed letters are sent to the most current address on file with Columbia College.  It is the student’s responsibility to ensure his or her address is correct.  Students can make one-time payment or setup a payment plan to pay their balance in installments with Heartland ECSI.  

Students with a past-due balance will not be allowed to obtain a diploma or apply for a residence hall room. Students with a past-due balance will not be allowed to register for any subsequent term, unless the balance is under current determined amount by Columbia College and the student is in an active payment plan with Heartland ECSI. If a student with a past-due balance pays with a personal check or ACH, he or she will have to wait fourteen (14) business days before being cleared to register, receive  a diploma.   


Columbia College will make the initial attempt to obtain payment for past-due balances followed by Heartland ECSI.  After an account has been with Heartland ECSI for ninety (90) days without being paid in full it will be sent to a collections agency.  

We currently work with two agencies that assist us in collecting old balances:

Recovery Management Services: 800-932-2851
Windham Professionals: 800-208-5076

Once a student's account has been sent to one of the above collection agencies, Columbia College and Heartland ECSI can no longer set up payment arrangements with the student. All payment arrangements and communication will need to be done through the agency.  Accounts sent to collections are subject to collections fees. The balance at Columbia College will not officially reflect any collection fees that may have accrued since the placement with the agency until the student makes payment (i.e. fees are not reflected in ePayment prior to a student paying on the old balance). The most accurate information regarding your balance, including any fees owed, may be obtained through the agency with which the account was placed.

All payments on collection accounts should be made directly with the collections agency. If a student in collections pays with a personal check, he or she will have to wait fourteen (14) business days before being cleared to register or receive a diploma.

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