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navigating the path to philanthropy at columbia college

Navigating The Path To Philanthropy at Columbia College

As the pursuit of higher education becomes increasingly important in today’s society, universities are continually seeking innovative ways to support their student’s academic journey. Columbia College’s aCCess Card Program, Student Emergency Support Program, and Tuition Installment Program all stand out as remarkable initiatives aimed at empowering students and fostering their success. Keep reading to see how these programs enhance student experiences, promote financial well-being, and open doors to valuable resources.

About the aCCess Card Program

Program Description

With living costs in Vancouver rising by the year, Columbia College is offering the aCCess Card Program to its students to offset the cost of a Compass Card for those who use public transportation throughout Metro Vancouver. With an aCCess Card, Columbia College’s students can ride the bus, Skytrain, and Seabus using a pre-loaded value, which can be applied towards a Monthly Pass or to pay for transit in and around Metro Vancouver. Students who currently use Adult Compass Cards (19 and over) can request to have the subsidy applied to their existing card.


  • Students with Concession Compass Cards (13-18 years) are not eligible for the aCCess Card program.
  • To be eligible for the program, students are required to be enrolled on a full-time basis (9 credits or more)
  • Each student will receive the card (added value) once per academic year


  • New students can obtain their aCCess Card during school orientations at the beginning of their first semester. 
  • Returning and/or continuing students who already have a Compass Card must provide their card number to the school by week 4 of the first semester to receive the added value. Once the deadline passes, card numbers will be provided directly to Translink, and Translink will then have the value added to each card. 
  • Students who miss the deadline will have to wait until the next semester to request to have the value added. Approval for the request is subject to the school’s available funding. 
  • Students with Concession Compass Cards (orange), who later turn 19 during their studies at the school, can request to switch to an aCCess Card at the beginning of the following semester within the first 6 weeks. 

About Student Support Programs

To help students who have been affected by the impacts of COVID-19, Columbia College has implemented two programs that are aimed at helping students access resources. 

Student Emergency Support Program (SESP)

Columbia College’s Student Emergency Support Program (SESP) is designed to help students access funding to support their needs in emergencies or times of unexpected need. SESP funding is intended to help students get back on their feet in cases of extreme or critical changes in their personal lives. (Funds are not intended for non-essential needs). To learn more about how to access SESP funding, students are encouraged to first reach out to a school counselor or a member of Student Services. 

Students can apply for funding in the following categories:

  • Food and groceries
  • Clothing
  • Transit
  • Emergency health and/or medical expenses
  • Accommodation 
  • Living costs

To read more on eligibility requirements and how to apply, see here

Tuition Installment Plan (TIP)

The Tuition Installment Plan (TIP) is designed to help students unable to pay their tuition fees in one installment. For those enrolled in Summer 2023 courses, the TIP allows fees to be paid in three installments. Students who are not covered under the B.C. Medical Services Plan (MSP) must pay for Medical Insurance, along with their first tuition installment. 

Although broken down into three installments, students taking Summer 2023 courses must pay their entire semester tuition by July 4, 2023. See here to learn more about payment methods. 

To be eligible for the TIP, students must be registered in:

  1. A minimum of 9 University Transfer (UT) credits, with the exception of students in their graduating semester who have less than 9 credits remaining to complete their Associate Degree
  1. A minimum of 3 Secondary (Sec) courses (or an equivalent combination of UT/Sec) 
  1. A minimum of 3 ELC courses for a 12-week period (or an equivalent combination of ELC/UT, ELC/Sec)

Community Connections Program

Practical experience in the workplace provides an important step along the path to career success. For many newcomers it can be incredibly challenging to gain work experience in Canada aligned with their long-term career goals. In this program, Columbia College will cover the employment costs for students to take on projects and provide support services to local community benefit organizations. 

The impact of funds invested in this program is twofold:    

  • Aspiring newcomers to get valuable work experience, and build relationships, with local organizations   
  • Local community benefit organizations get additional staff support at no cost

See here for more information on SESP and TIP. 

For more information on the Community Connections Program, see here

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Sources: Columbia College: Charitable Programs for Students

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