Harrington College of Design Announces Intent to Enter into Agreement with Columbia College Chicago

April 1, 2015 General 0 Comments

Harrington College of Design Announces Intent to Enter into Agreement with Columbia College Chicago

Plan Calls for Columbia College Chicago to Assist in Serving Harrington Students, Affording Opportunities to Complete Degree Programs

CHICAGO, Ill. (April 1, 2015) – Harrington College of Design and Columbia College Chicago announced today that they have reached an agreement to provide an ongoing educational pathway for Harrington students through Columbia College effective August 2015. The agreement, pending accreditor and regulatory approval, is designed to afford Harrington students a reasonable opportunity to complete their program of study before their college discontinues operations, which Harrington anticipates will be in August of 2018. It also affords certain Harrington students the opportunity to complete their programs of study at Columbia, while others will continue their enrollment with Harrington but at designated classroom and office space provided by Columbia College Chicago.

Harrington regrets having to make this decision, but it became necessary because of increasing financial deficits caused by multiple years of continuous declines in enrollment, as well as increased regulatory burdens facing private sector higher education institutions like Harrington.

“While this is a sad day indeed, I have assured Harrington students that through our plans with Columbia College Chicago they have opportunities to continue their studies and earn their degrees,” said Jim McCoy, Vice President of Operations for Harrington College of Design. “We appreciate the ability to partner with Columbia College to continue providing excellent and prestigious design education to our students.”

Pending accreditor and regulatory approval, this plan aims to provide the up to 360 current Harrington College students a smooth pathway to graduation. Both institutions are regionally accredited by the Chicago-based Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Harrington and Columbia have informed staff at HLC, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Indiana Board of Propriety Education, and the Council for Interior Design Accreditation about the plan and agreement with Columbia. The Harrington-Columbia agreement and plan require final HLC approval, which the colleges hope to obtain in mid-June.

Harrington graduates have left their mark on the design community for decades,” McCoy said. “Examples can be seen through alumni who are leaders of design firms around Chicago and beyond. I’m confident the graduates through 2017 will also continue making contributions for years to come.”

Dr. Stanley T. Wearden, Senior Vice President and Provost of Columbia College Chicago added, “Harrington and Columbia College Chicago have each been educating accomplished design students alongside each other for decades. We are pleased to assist Harrington College through this transition so students are provided with a seamless option to complete their studies. We look forward to welcoming Harrington students, faculty and staff to our campus community.”

Bachelor’s Degree Students – Transfer to Columbia College
Under the plan and agreement that Harrington College and Columbia College have proposed to HLC, students in Harrington College bachelor’s degree programs would have the opportunity to transfer and enroll in the same or substantially similar program offered by Columbia College. Columbia College would accept all Harrington students, and transfer credits would be awarded for all Harrington credits earned. Tuition for Harrington transfer students would be maintained at no more than the Harrington rate.

Harrington and Columbia will create a transfer process that minimizes any burden on students and provides a seamless pathway for continued enrollment. Students 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.

Master’s and Associate Degree Students – Relocated to Columbia College Chicago, Taught by Harrington faculty
Subject to accreditor and regulatory approval, master’s and associate degree students at Harrington would continue to be taught by Harrington faculty and eventually receive their credential 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 there. This is a considered a “teach-out” process.

Columbia College Chicago is a not-for-profit institution that currently enrolls nearly 10,000 students. It has ample classroom space to accommodate Harrington students at its buildings in the vicinity of South Michigan Avenue and Harrison Street. The college is located two blocks east of the Harrison Street “L” stop on the CTA Red Line and is about a 1-mile walk from the Harrington campus.

Harrington’s legacy as a leading design institution in Chicago will live on through thousands of alumni found in a range of design professions across the city and beyond. Frances Harrington, a practicing interior designer from New York, first began a lecture series in Chicago for professionals in 1931. She later expanded her education offerings to the public, eventually offering a diploma to day and evening students.

Later named Harrington Institute of Interior Design, the school continued to expand its offerings through the remainder of the century. In 2003, Harrington Institute became Harrington College of Design to better reflect the introduction of additional career-focused design and design-related programs, such as digital photography and graphic design.

To celebrate its rich history and long legacy of educating design professionals in Chicago, Harrington College of Design is planning a Reunion Weekend to which all students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and other supporters will be invited. Details will be shared as they are finalized.

About Harrington College of Design
Harrington College of Design an institution of higher learning is committed to creating the next generation of design professionals to lead and serve the global community. Harrington has been a member of Chicago’s design and higher education communities since 1931 and seeks to foster an environment that maximizes students’ intellectual and artistic potential. Harrington offers associate of applied science degrees in digital photography; bachelor of fine arts degrees in interior design, commercial photography, and graphic design; a master’s degrees in in interior design and communications design. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (230 South LaSalle St., Suite 7-500 Chicago, IL 60604-1411). Find employment rates, financial obligations and other disclosures at Harrington cannot guarantee employment or salary and is part of the Career Education Corporation network of schools (NASDAQ: CECO). For more information on Harrington College of Design, call 312.939.4975 or visit

About Columbia College Chicago
Columbia College Chicago is an urban institution that offers innovative degree programs in the visual, performing, media and communication arts for nearly 10,000 students in more than 120 undergraduate and graduate programs. An arts and media college committed to a rigorous liberal arts curriculum, Columbia is dedicated to opportunity and excellence in higher education. For further information, visit

Ericka Lawrence, statement. (847) 851-7028


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