Columbia College established an independent and separate non-profit society. The Columbia Learning Society was the name given to this society. Its principle aim is to provide bursaries and scholarships based on financial need to learners (children and adults) attending or wishing to attend Columbia College. The Columbia Learning Society has been active since September 2002. Since then over 4,500 adults and children have utilized bursaries and scholarships to attend courses, programs, sessions, workshops or tutoring at Columbia College. The Society is proud to have provided over $2,000,000 in bursaries since it became active and will strive to continue to expand this service to as many Calgarians as possible.

Distinctive Outcomes

Columbia College understands that donors are becoming less interested in supporting an educational institution when that institution seems more focused on delivering courses (process-oriented) than achieving graduate outcomes (results-oriented).

Since its inception almost 30 years ago, Columbia College has been committed to two fundamental outcomes. First, providing an excellent learning environment where traditional learners, as well as higher-barriers/non-traditional learners, achieve outstanding academic and graduate employment success. Second, where the cost of delivering educational programs in this institution is, in real terms, lower than similar programs in other institutions. 

The following list briefly outlines the success Columbia has achieved in both these fundamental outcome areas. 

Key Outcome Areas

1. Completion Rates of Students in Certificate and Diploma Programs

The current completion rate in Columbia’s certificate programs in 95% while our diploma is 97% Completion rates at public colleges in Alberta is 41% and 61% respectfully.


2. Employment Rate of Graduates

The employment rate of graduates, in their field of training, is 89% for Columbia College as a whole. The Department of Advanced Education does not produce comparable data for public colleges at this time.


3. Degree of Employer Satisfaction

The overall rate of employer satisfaction with Columbia College professional program students is 88%. Alberta Advanced Education rates are currently not available for public colleges.


4. Degree of Student Satisfaction

The overall rate of Student Satisfaction with their course instructor is 89%. Alberta Advanced Education rates are currently not available for public colleges.

5. International Comparison of Quality Education

In a recent quality study that included some 500,000 college students across North America, Columbia College was ranked in the top 10% of Colleges in both Academic Challenge, as well as Active and Collaborative Learning. Columbia ranked above average in every other area measured.

6. The Comparative Cost of Education for Adult Learners

In the chart below, the overall cost in real terms to deliver one year of education at a public college is compared with the cost to deliver one year of education at Columbia College.

The Comparative Cost of One Year of Adult Education in Alberta

The Columbia Learning Society invites you to become a vital part of our mission by supporting us through a donation.

As an established educational society, the Columbia Learning Society relies on the generosity of individuals like you to continue providing valuable programs and services to learners of all ages. This year, our goal is to raise an estimated $200,000, with an incredible 90% of all donated funds directly contributing to enriching the lives of children and adult learners.

Your Contribution Matters:

Your support enables us to empower learners and create meaningful educational experiences. By making a donation to the Columbia Learning Society, you contribute to the growth, development, and personal achievement of individuals in our community.

Making a Donation:

Donations should be made payable to The Columbia Learning Society and sent to The Columbia Learning Society c/o Columbia College 802 Manning Road NE Calgary, AB T2P 7N8

Note: The Columbia Learning Society is a CRA-registered charity, tax-deductable donation receipts will be issued for all contributions.


Thank you for supporting the Columbia Learning Society in its mission to create accessible and transformative educational opportunities for our community. Your contribution helps us open doors to a brighter future through education.

Get Involved

To find out more about how you can make a difference through your donation, please reach out to Caroline Edworthy


The following list describes the range of activities that donated funds would support at Columbia College. Some of these activities have already started up but are operating on a limited basis. Other activities could be established when adequate donations are provided.

Donors would receive a tax deductible receipt from The Columbia Learning Society. Ninety percent of all donated funds will be used to provide programs and services to children and adult learners.

A. Established Services Needing Additional Funding

College Preparation

College Prep serves to help barriered individuals access post-secondary education where, in most cases, they face financial and personal hurdles.

This group of professionals assess prospective students’ current academic readiness to enter a professional program at Columbia College. Prospective students are assessed in such basic high school competencies as math, science, and language arts. Where needed, learners are assigned to relevant courses designed to improve their academic competency. Successful adults are then allowed to enter their desired program of study.

Students are not charged tuition unless they need to repeat a course. They only pay for their textbooks.

Practicum Delivery

While a large portion of students attending public universities and colleges are not required to complete practicum/cooperative education course(s), they are required to complete these courses at Columbia College. These are very expensive courses to deliver, however they provide extensive opportunity for students to apply the theory they are learning in class to a real world work environments in industry that are related to their program of study. This experience improves employment opportunity.

Donations will allow Columbia to expand this aspect of our students education and enable us to produce even more competent graduates that are even more valued by employers.

Weekend Free Workshops

Columbia has been delivering free weekend workshops for many years. These workshops are designed to meet the changing needs of learners (youth and adults) in the community. Topics include such areas as computer applications, language enhancement, tutoring school age children, and managing your family’s finances.

Donations would allow Columbia College to expand the number of workshops and respond to the many requests for various types of free workshops.

Professional Program Scholarships

For over a decade, Columbia has been providing scholarships to needy students that will enable them to attend one of our professional programs.

The need and demand for scholarships far exceeds The Columbia Learning Society’s current funds. Donor support would allow Columbia to provide more scholarships.

B. New Services Where Donor Funding Could Be Directed

Child Care Centre

In May 2014, Columbia plans to establish a new non-profit daycare. While monthly fees will only be able to cover basic daycare services, with the support of donors, Columbia intends to create a much more enriched learning environment. This will enable higher barriered children to have a greater chance to succeed in life.

Academic Upgrading

Academic Upgrading
While thousands of adult learners need to upgrade their high school skills in math, English, and science, the government has continued to reduce its funding to adult basic upgrading. In fact, adult learners cannot even apply for a student loan to pay for basic upgrading since such loans are no longer available to any Albertan who needs to upgrade their skills. Most high barriered adults need to upgrade their high school education in order to enter a skilled training or professional program at a college, technical school, or university.

Donor funding would be used to bring down the cost of academic upgrading and enable more adult learners to enroll in the courses they need to take to provide them with learning opportunities.

Placement Services

Many higher barriered adults are not prepared or confident in finding a good job that pays better than minimum wage. This often leaves them accepting marginal employment with lower wages.

Most placement companies focus their business primarily on the better educated adults who have less barriers to employment.

With the support of donated funds, Columbia College would establish an employment “placement service” that focuses on the employment needs of high barriered adults.

Trades Training

Columbia College has been advised by the Alberta Apprenticeship Board that they will entertain submissions from Columbia College to establish a number of trade programs.

As high barriered adults require more than the basic education offered in most programs, donor support would be used to cover such costs as tutoring, the purchase of specialized material, workshop equipment, furnishings, facility lease, renovations, and program delivery costs. Donor support will also be used to reduce student tuitions.

C. Further Information

For further information on any of these projects please contact the Columbia Learning Society at