The overall education system in Columbia deserves extra credit, with strong universities and colleges in place along with a well-regarded public school district and respected private schools. Education is also one of the key reasons that Columbia enjoys a stable and vital economy. Here is a quick overview:
The Old Colleges Try
The city has three institutions of higher education – University of Missouri, Columbia College and Stephens College. The city serves as home base for the entire University of Missouri System, with the main campus in Columbia and satellite facilities in St. Louis, Kansas City and Rolla.
Enrolling Right Along
Columbia and much of the surrounding area lies within the Columbia Public Schools district that enrolls more than 17,000 students annually, and has a budget of nearly $250 million. The district is above the state average in attendance percentage and graduation rate, and operates three public high schools that cover grades 10-12 – David H. Hickman High, Frederick Douglass High and Rock Bridge High.
Hickman High has been on Newsweek magazine’s list of top 1,300 schools in the country for the past three years, and has more named Presidential Scholars than any other public high school in the nation. Rock Bridge High is one of two Missouri high schools to receive a silver medal by U.S. News & World Report, putting it in the top 3 percent of all academic-achieving high schools in the nation.
There are also several private high schools in Columbia, including Christian Chapel Academy, Christian Fellowship School, Columbia Independent School, Heritage Academy and the new Father Augustine Tolton Regional Catholic High School that opened in August 2011 for students in grades 9 and 10. Tolton High will expand in 2012 to include grade 11, and again in 2013 to add grade 12. It is named for Missouri native Augustine Tolton, the first-ever black Catholic priest in the United States.