The American College of the Building Arts

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Keeping College Affordable

ACBA has been in operation since 2005 and the Board of Trustees has never voted to raise tuition. This is a huge departure from so many institutions of higher education, but one that is completely understandable when you get to know us.

We are a small non-profit that exists to provide educated artisans to the world. ACBA was not designed to earn dividends for shareholders, or to view its students as a revenue stream. In fact, tuition accounts for less than a third of our annual budget.

As the cost of college keeps rising across the country, ACBA has remained committed to educating students without graduating them with a mortgage worth of student loans. We straddle the line between receiving enough income to keep our dream alive while also ensuring our students will have the brightest future possible.

Interest-Free Tuition Payments

Many families are unable to make an entire semester's tuition payment at the outset of the semester, but also want to avoid student loans. Knowing this, ACBA allows students and their families to pay their tuition over a period of months, up to 12, without incurring any interest!

Financial Aid

Financial need is determined by the Office of Financial Aid. All students are required to complete an annual Estimated Family Contribution form to determine their financial need.

For students and families that qualify for needs-based assistance, ACBA offers financial aid in the form of Achievement Loans, Scholarships, and Work-Study.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with the Office of Financial Aid, please click here to access Mr. Urban's calendar.

EFC Form

EFC forms are due by Wednesday, May 31 for returning students and Friday, June 30 for incoming students.

If you would like to complete an EFC form for the 2017-2018 Academic Year, please click here to download the form.

Please note, the EFC form is in Excel format. If you do not have access to Excel, there are two PDF files available for download at the above link as well. Simply download these two files, print them out, and complete them manually.

There is a helpful FAQ located here for some of the more common questions students and parents have while completing the EFC. Please feel free to refer to it to help you.

When you have completed the forms (in either format), please either scan and email them to, or mail them in to:

649 Meeting Street
Charleston, SC 29403.

Achievement Loan

Achievement loans are a hybrid student loan and scholarship. They operate much like conventional student loans: they do not accrue interest or require repayment while enrolled, and they are set at a fixed interest rate of 5% (much better than the current federal rate).

What makes achievement loans unique is their is principal forgiveness based upon a student's cumulative gpa at graduation. This serves as a way for meritorious students to ensure that they graduate with as little student debt as possible!

Bachelor of Applied Science Graduates
  • 3.5 - 4.0 GPA: 50% principal forgiveness
  • 3.0 - 3.49 GPA: 30% principal forgiveness
  • 2.5 - 2.99 GPA: 20% principal forgiveness
  • 2.0 - 2.49 GPA: 10% principal forgiveness
  • Associate of Applied Science Graduates
  • 3.5 - 4.0 GPA: 25% principal forgiveness
  • 3.0 - 3.49 GPA: 15% principal forgiveness
  • 2.5 - 2.99 GPA: 10% principal forgiveness
  • 2.0 - 2.49 GPA: 5% principal forgiveness

  • Scholarships

    Through the immense generosity of our donors, ACBA offers scholarships for qualified students. These are not national scholarships that students compete for across the US, rather they are available only to ACBA students.

    All scholarships at ACBA have been designed for students with demonstrated financial need. Financial need is determined by the Office of Financial Aid. All students are required to complete an annual Estimated Family Contribution form to determine their financial need.

    If you have any questions about our scholarships, please contact Stephen Hanson.

    Work-Study Program

    ACBA operates a work-study program for qualified students that is paid at a rate of $10 per hour. However, rather than receiving a check every payday, instead the amount earned is removed from a student's tuition debt.

    The work study program is designed to remove some of the debt required to attend college. ACBA tries to not over-work any of its students and thus caps the amount of hours a student may work at 100 per semester. This results in $2,000 of tuition savings!

    If you need a copy of the workstudy time-sheet please click here.

    Contact Us

    Mr. Chad Urban at
    Phone: 843-577-5245
    Fax: 843-764-9832

    Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 5:00PM

    Mailing Address:

    Office of Financial Aid
    649 Meeting Street
    Charleston, SC 29403

    Tuition and Fees

    Tuition: $9,936 per semester
    Shop Fees: $350 per semester
    Matriculation Deposit: $300 (applied to Fall tuition bill)
    Application Fee: $50
    Graduation Fee: $100

    Estimated Additional Costs

    Tools make up the most significant additional cost for students. Most of the tool costs are incurred during the first semester of the first year, and costs vary by craft specialization.

    Students are given a set of tools during orientation with the costs, by craft specialization, outlined below. ACBA purchases tools for the students in bulk to receive the lowest cost possible.

    The Drafting Supplies are purchased by the students at a local store that puts together a kit of all professor required materials.

    Iron Books/Tools: $450
    Masonry Books/Tools: $550
    Wood Books/Tools: $900
    Drafting Supplies: $250

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