Harrington College of Design Agreement FAQs

Published on Apr 01, 2015

What is the news about Harrington College of Design students transferring to Columbia College Chicago?
In September, Columbia College Chicago will welcome up to 360 students from Harrington College of Design to our campus community. Harrington College has been a leading institution in Chicago for the past 84 years, but due to difficult circumstances, it will soon begin a transfer and “teach-out” process that will lead to its eventual closing.

Like other colleges across the U.S., Harrington College faced increasing financial deficits caused by multiple years of continuous declines in enrollment, as well as increased regulation facing private institutions of higher learning.

What are the next steps in the agreement between Columbia and Harrington?
Harrington College and Columbia College Chicago share a continued commitment to the students who have been working toward their degrees at Harrington. There are many synergies between our two schools, and we’re pleased to provide a smooth path to graduation for Harrington students.

Here are key facts you should know about the plan:

  • Upon approval by accrediting body Higher Learning Commission (HLC), this plan will provide current Harrington College students a smooth path to graduation. The colleges hope to obtain this final approval in mid-June.
  • Upon accreditor approval, the agreement will become effective following the summer term ending in August 2015.
  • Harrington and Columbia have informed staff at HLC, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Council for Interior Design Accreditation and other bodies about the plan with Columbia.

What will be the impact on Columbia College Chicago?
Under the plan and agreement that Harrington College and Columbia College Chicago have submitted to the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the students in Harrington College bachelor’s degree programs would have the opportunity to transfer and enroll in the same program offered by Columbia College.

  • Columbia College would accept Harrington students and transferable credits would be awarded.
  • Most transfer students would be enrolled in the Photography, Interior Architecture and Graphic Design programs and would receive their degrees from Columbia College Chicago.
  • Tuition for Harrington transfer students would remain at the Harrington rate.
  • The colleges would work together to create a smooth transfer process and provide a seamless path for continued enrollment.
  • Students who are within a year of graduation would be able to complete their studies at Columbia College, but receive their diploma/degree from Harrington College, if they so choose.

Subject to accreditor and regulatory approval, the master’s and associate degree students at Harrington would continue to be taught by Harrington faculty and eventually receive their degrees from Harrington.  However, beginning this fall, Harrington faculty and staff would relocate to Columbia College so that students in the master’s and associate degree programs could complete their programs here.

  • This is referred to as a “teach out” of Harrington’s master’s and associate degree programs. No new students will be admitted, but those in the programs would be given a reasonable opportunity to complete their studies as Harrington students attending classes at Columbia following Harrington’s curriculum and taught by Harrington faculty.
  • Harrington faculty, staff and students participating in the “teach out” would have designated office and classroom space at Columbia.
  • Harrington associate degree students may also choose to enroll in comparable discipline bachelor’s programs at Columbia.

How many students from Harrington are expected to attend Columbia? Which programs will be affected?
We will not know the official number of students coming over from Harrington until after registration closes during fall semester. Most will be enrolled in the Photography, Interior Architecture and Graphic Design programs. If all Harrington students choose to attend Columbia, the number could be up to 360 students.

How will the curriculum of Harrington students differ from current Columbia students?
Teach-out students (those finishing their Harrington master’s and associate degrees) will still be Harrington students following the Harrington curriculum. As a general rule, teach-out students will be served by Harrington faculty and staff.

Transfer students (those obtaining their bachelor’s degrees) will be moved fully into the Columbia curriculum and will be served by Columbia faculty and staff. We already have complete articulation plans worked out for transfer students. Advisors will work with transfer students on specific individual enrollment plans.

How long will the “teach out” take?
One year.

How will Harrington students be successfully integrated into Columbia?
Harrington students will be advised by Columbia advising staff to ensure they receive the support they need at Columbia and will graduate on time.

After Harrington transfer students make the decision to enroll at Columbia, they will be Columbia students in every respect. They will take Columbia courses alongside continuing Columbia students. In some cases, very advanced students transferring from Harrington (juniors and seniors) may be enrolled in coursework that is part of our brand-new 2015 curriculum requirements. We expect that these particular courses will have more current Harrington students and fewer continuing Columbia students. The College will implement a comprehensive plan to welcome and orient the Harrington students to our campus and immerse them into our community.

How will current Columbia students be affected by incoming Harrington students?
For the most part, your Columbia experience shouldn’t change, except there will be more students at the College just as eager as you to earn a degree and accomplish career goals. The Provost’s office and department chairs have been working closely to ensure a smooth transition.