Columbia College's "Truition" initiative aims to avoid hitting students with unexpected fees. 

This fall, Columbia College, a private nonprofit school based in Missouri, will start offering something new to its students. Combining truth with tuition, the “Truition” initiative is the school’s promise to students that they won’t have any unexpected fees at the beginning of the year.

During the 2017-2018 school year, the average price for books and fees at a four-year, in-state school was $1,250, according to The College Board. These unexpected costs can be challenging for many students to manage figuring out how to pay for college, who are often stuck trying to navigate the financial aid equation by itself. This is why Columbia plans to get rid of all book costs and unexpected fees.

The school plans to implement digital curriculum into its courses. And because these materials will be part of the tuition costs, students won’t be stuck footing the bill for expensive books and course curriculum.

How Is Truition Coming into Fruition?

To make this happen, Columbia is partnering with Ed Map, a company that creates digital curriculum for higher education institutions. The school will take advantage of Ed Map’s OPENVUE platform, which streamlines online curriculum access for both students and educators. Students will automatically have access to their course materials beginning on the first day of the semester.

Piyusha Singh, the vice president of online education, said it was obvious the school needed to update its curriculum strategy. "Students were either paying a high price at the college bookstore, turning elsewhere to the open market or choosing not to buy at all," she said in a press release. The agreement with Ed Map will make this process easier.

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Columbia College has over 20,000 students located online and at campuses across the country. This move helps them compete with larger programs like Arizona State University Online, Campus Technology reported.

Not only is college expensive, most students have a difficult time anticipating how much they will have to pay each semester. There are ways students can anticipate what the full costs of college will be. Most schools provide an online Net Price Calculator to help parents and students estimate the cost of tuition based on their financial information. You can also tailor your search to schools that leave grads and parents with less debt.

The College Board also provides estimates of how much students can expect to spend at two-year, public, and private colleges. They account for tuition costs, room and board, books, transportation, and miscellaneous fees. Of course, this is just for one year and the price will likely continue to go up each year.

Working with a financial counselor can be a good way for families to plan for tuition costs every year. A financial counselor can help students anticipate upcoming costs, fill out a FAFSA, and recommend grants, scholarships or aid they may qualify for.