CIS is an independent, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization which charges a tuition figure that can often seem high. But did you know that CIS tuition is on par with Columbia Public Schools expenditures? In the 2016-17 school year, the latest data available, CIS lower school tuition was within $250 of CPS expenditures per student.

The costs of funding staff salaries, maintaining the facilities, and providing the educational programs are covered by tuition and fundraising efforts each year. Board members serve on a volunteer basis without compensation because they believe in the school’s value, just like members of other nonprofit boards. Administrators and teachers earn reasonable salaries, but they will generally say that they place the greatest value on their excellent working conditions, with motivated students, supportive parents, and a school culture of high standards. 

2018-2019 Tuition

Lower School (grades JK-5): $13,100
Upper and Middle School (grades 6-12): $14,900 

New Student Fee

All newly admitted students are asked to pay a one-time New Student Fee at the time of enrollment. This is a non-refundable $250 per student fee, with a family maximum of $500 per year. The fee cannot be waived or covered by scholarships or financial assistance. 

Need-Based Financial Assistance

CIS is committed to enrolling qualified students, regardless of their families’ ability to afford full tuition. Need-based financial assistance is available for families who cannot pay the full tuition amount and creates an economically diverse school community within the limits of the school’s budget. Nearly 40% of CIS families receive some level of need-based financial assistance.

A family’s whole financial picture is taken into consideration, including both income and assets; the result is a report of what the family is likely to be able to afford toward their child’s education. All information will be kept confidential and need-based financial aid decisions will be based on FACTS recommended award amounts. There can be no guarantees in advance of any certain level of need-based aid as the process creates a level playing field and treats everyone equitably. A need-based financial assistance award is issued for one year only as families must reapply each year in order to be eligible. Please note that admission decisions are made separately from financial aid decisions.

Current and prospective CIS families may apply for need-based financial assistance through FACTS Grant & Aid Assessment. Visit to apply by April 5, 2019.

CIS also offers merit-based scholarships to students in grades 6-12.