Meet the Enrollment Team: Q&A With Rachel Esser

Rachel Esser, Enrollment Coach at Columbia’s School of Professional Studies, has been working in higher education for about seven years. Though she has only spent about one year at Columbia, she previously worked at schools in Florida in admissions, recruitment, advising, student affairs, and more. She earned an M.S. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from the University of Central Florida and an M.Ed. in Instructional Technology from the University of South Florida.

She says that, while going to college, she "hadn’t really thought about the people working behind the scenes." But due to an assistantship she had while doing her master’s, "I was hooked from there. I was really interested in being able to help students and see their progress from their freshman year throughout their four-year experience."

Here, she addresses some of the most frequently asked questions about non-degree offerings at the School of Professional Studies at Columbia University including application requirements, online options, and funding opportunities.

How much do our courses cost?

It varies depending on the term. The tuition for Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 is $1,640 per point. For students taking a single three-point course per term, there’s a flat rate of $5,520. It does vary somewhat per program, but that’s typically the cost for non-degree students.

Is financial aid available?

That definitely varies per person. Students who have questions should contact our Student Financial Planning office for details.

Often, U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are about to attend graduate school can get financial aid through federal student loans. There are many eligibility requirements, so check with the financial planning office.

If your course of study directly relates to your job, your employer may cover your class or program in part or in full. Prospective students should consult their HR department regarding tuition benefits.

For students who are veterans, you may be eligible for G.I. Bill benefits. We have a Veterans Affairs Office on campus that can work with you to cover the cost of your education in part or sometimes in full.

Some students do have outside scholarships from private organizations. Some international students get scholarships from their home countries. So there are a lot of different sources of funding for prospective students.

Does the School of Professional Studies offer online courses?

We do have online options for some classes. For instance, we have a business certification that can be done online. We also have an Actuarial Science and a Bioethics certification that can be done online. Some students can enroll in courses within those certifications without actually completing the entire certification, but it depends on the program and the circumstance. So, yes, we do have some online options, which helps if you’re a student who resides outside of the New York area.

What are the application requirements?

If you’re taking an individual course for credit, you have to submit a school transcript, a statement of purpose, and the application itself. International students may have to submit a World Education Services (WES) evaluation and English language proficiency scores.

What kinds of students enroll in the School of Professional Studies?

We have a diverse student population. Some students are younger and are still pursuing their bachelor’s degrees or recently completed them. Others have been out of school for several years but want to take classes for personal growth, build skills for their current job, or change careers with the help of a certification or even a master’s degree. We have all kinds of students in our classes, seminars, and programs.

Columbia University School of Professional Studies
203 Lewisohn Hall
2970 Broadway, MC 4119
New York, NY 10027