Policies and Procedures


Policies and Procedures

It is the desire of the Columbia Institute of Fine Arts to operate in a manner that respects the instructors and the students.  CIFA teachers are well-trained professionals who make their living through instruction in their artistic field.   Students enrolled in the Columbia Institute of Fine Arts are seeking excellent training from instructors who value them and their abilities.  The following Policies and Procedures insure that both instructors and students are treated with respect and dignity.

Payment Schedule and Late Fees:

  • CIFA Registration will be completed for the school year (fall and spring semesters).  Students will be billed for the fall semester in September, and the spring semester in January.  Tuition for each session is payable at time of registration.
  • Students may elect to pay for a session in the following ways: 

    a) Entire tuition paid at registration for each semester.

    b) Two Payments: half due on or before the first lesson and the balance due within 45 days for the 18-week Fall and Spring session; 4 weeks for the 10-week Summer session.

    c) Tuition billed in 4 monthly payments; $5.00 monthly processing fee charged for this option.

  • No lessons will be provided until initial payment is made.
  • A late charge of $25 will be assessed for each 30-day period in which payments are past due.
  • Lessons missed due to late payment will not be made up, and students will be charged full tuition for the session.
  • All tuition payments must be paid before enrollment in a subsequent session.
  • A $36 fee will be assessed for any returned checks.


Students are charged for all lessons in the sessions in which they have registered:

  • 18 lessons in Fall/Spring sessions
  • 10 lessons in Summer session
  • Prorated tuition in cases of registration after session has begun

This assures the student of a weekly lesson on the instructor’s schedule.

It is expected that students and instructors will strive for perfect attendance, however, it is recognized that there will be occasions in which either the student or instructor will be unable to attend a lesson as scheduled.  With respect to private lessons, a student-initiated absence will be considered excused:

  • Under special agreement with the instructor with 24-hour notice
  • Due to personal illness or family emergency provided that the instructor or CIFA office has been notified by 10:00am on the day of the lesson.

All other student-initiated absences will be considered unexcused.  Students are responsible for notifying instructors or the CIFA office of anticipated absences

Make-ups, Lesson Credits and Withdrawal for Private Lessons:

It is expected that instructors and students will make every effort to make up eligible lessons.

  • Students are allowed one (1) makeup lesson each session due to a student-initiated excused absence.
  • All lessons cancelled due to inclement weather or closing of the church building are eligible for makeup.
  • If a student and instructor agree not to make up an eligible lesson, appropriate credit will be posted to the student’s account.
  • No makeup lessons or credits will be given for other missed lessons.
  • Instructors have the right to terminate lessons in the case of excessive absences.
  • In the case of excessive instructor absences, students should notify the CIFA office. 
  • Withdrawal from private lessons during a session requires two (2) weeks notice. 
  • Requests for withdrawal must be made to the instructor and the CIFA office in writing.  Withdrawal forms are available in the CIFA office.

Make-ups, Lesson Credits and Withdrawal for Group Classes:

  • Group classes consist of a fixed schedule of lessons.
  • Students pay in advance for all lessons.
  • No refunds are given for student-initiated missed class days or withdrawal.
  • Instructor-initiated missed class days will be rescheduled.
  • If makeup classes cannot be scheduled, appropriate credit will be posted to the student’s account.
  • Withdrawal from group lessons during a session requires two (2) weeks notice.
  • Requests for withdrawal must be made to the instructor and the CIFA office in writing.  Withdrawal forms available in the CIFA office.

Summer Session Modification

  • Allowance is made for students participating in the summer program to modify the number of lessons they are taking due to pre-planned absences such as vacation time or camp.
  • Requests for modification of summer lessons should be made in advance in writing to the instructor and the CIFA office.  Modification forms are available in the CIFA office.


  • If students are late for lessons/classes, the instructor will use the remaining time scheduled for the lesson or class.
  • Credit will not be given for the portion of the lesson or class missed.

Progress Reports and Conferences:

Instructors will provide adult students and the parents of students under the age of 18 with written reports at the midpoint and end of each session.  Please contact the instructor if a conference is needed.

School Closings:

  • CIFA will be closed on any day that the Federal Government is closed or has early dismissal.  Missed lessons will be eligible for makeup.
  • On days when the Federal Government is open, but Fairfax County Public Schools are closed or dismiss early, lessons may be taught at the discretion of the teacher and student.  If both instructors and students/parents feel they can travel safely, lessons will be taught as normal  If either the instructor or the student/parent feels they cannot safely get to Columbia, the missed lesson will be eligible for makeup.  Students/parents should contact the instructor BEFORE traveling to Columbia to confirm that lessons will be taught that day.
  • When inclement weather develops in the afternoon, CIFA reserves the right to cancel lessons and classes for the remainder of the day.  Under this scenario, call the CIFA office for cancellation notices or building closings.

Expectations of Student Practice:

  • Regular practice is essential and expected for proper musical/artistic learning.
  • Instructors will discuss practice requirements with students and parents.
  • Instructors have the right to terminate lessons if a lack of proper practice becomes evident over a period of weeks.  
  • Prior to terminating lessons, instructors will discuss the lack of practice with the student and parents, and provide a probationary period.
  • Credit will not be given for lessons missed due to termination of the student.

Grievance Procedures:

  • Students and/or parents should discuss any difficulties concerning lessons or classes with the instructor.
  • If a problem cannot be resolved with the instructor, or if students and/or parents feel that an instructor is acting inappropriately, the Director of the Columbia Institute of Fine Arts should be contacted immediately.
  • Students and/or parents should document concerns.
  • If the Director cannot resolve the problem, it will be addressed by the Pastor for Worship, Music and Arts and the Columbia Institute of Fine Arts Board.

Standards of Conduct:

The Columbia Institute of Fine Arts expects that all students and faculty conduct themselves at all times on the church property in a manner demonstrating the highest moral character.  Students or faculty members who, while within the church building or on church property, must not use:

  • Smoking materials
  • Alcohol
  • Illegal drugs
  • Or under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.

A Ministry of
103 W. Columbia Street
Falls Church, VA 22046
703-534-2508 - www.columbiabaptist.org/cifa