Update: As of April 10, 2013, military tuition assistance for the Army, Marines and Air Force has been reinstated. If you have questions, please contact your campus.

Columbia College military students at Rogers Gate in Columbia

For 40 years, Columbia College has been proud to support military service members and their families in their educational goals as they serve our country. To assist military members, the college offers scholarships and discounts for service members and spouses, the ability to mix in-seat and online classes, start-and-stop flexibility and course credit for military experience.

Until recently, military members also could rely on assistance from their service branch in the form of military tuition assistance. However, that assistance has been suspended for members of the Army, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. In early March the Departments of the Army, Air Force and Homeland Security announced that students not currently using military tuition assistance would need to begin paying for their education using federal or personal funds, or VA benefits.

With recent federal cuts to military tuition assistance for service members, Columbia College is proud to stand by its military students by offering additional support. Columbia College will defer tuition charges for the term beginning March 25 while military students seek other funding. For those unable to secure other financial assistance, the college will offer a no-liability withdrawal policy or an extended six-month payment plan for those affected.

And Columbia College recognizes that many will be affected. In 2011, more than 8,500 military students received tuition assistance for Columbia College coursework at campuses across the country. Of those 35 locations, 18 are located on military bases, including one in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

“This is an opportunity to show our military students how much we value their service to our country as we support the goal of higher education for all,” said Mike Lederle, assistant dean for military and federal programs. “Columbia College has been a leader in military education since 1973, and we will continue to serve our service member students and assist them during this period of transition.”


These are the details of Columbia College assistance for the March 2013 academic session:

Affected students, including new military students who would have been eligible for Military Tuition Assistance before benefits were suspended, must do the following:

  • Be eligible for military tuition assistance
  • Have a current FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) on file

Columbia College will offer the following to affected students:

  • Defer tuition until April 26
  • Offer students who meet the above criteria the opportunity to withdraw from the class through April 26 without financial or academic liability
  • Offer a six-month payment plan, with the first payment due April 26

Students with questions about the withdrawal policy or extended payment plan should contact their campus for details or check CougarMail for an email with additional details.

“This is where the rubber meets the road as far as military friendliness goes,” said Lederle. “We have been named to the Military Times “Best for Vets: Colleges 2013” list; recognized as a leader in military-friendly education by Military Advanced Education; and selected as a military-friendly school by G.I. Jobs. We believe this is a true example of how we assist students who also serve our country.”