Columbia College was recently honored as the No. 4 higher education institution in the United States for military-affiliated students and spouses of service members by MilitaryFriendly.com, which advocates on behalf of service members, veterans and their families.

The college earned the gold designation in the private, non-doctoral-degree institutions category for the third consecutive year and has been ranked every year since 2010. CC was ranked No. 6 overall in 2023.

“Ensuring quality educational opportunities for military-affiliated students and their families is not only an investment in their future but also a commitment to the strength and resilience of the U.S. Armed Forces,” said Columbia College President Dr. David Russell, a retired Army lieutenant colonel. “Columbia College is committed to removing barriers and providing a personalized academic journey that is flexible, affordable and enriching.”

“Ensuring quality educational opportunities for military-affiliated students and their families is not only an investment in their future but also a commitment to the strength and resilience of the U.S. Armed Forces.”

Columbia College President Dr. David Russell, a retired Army lieutenant colonel

Military Friendly® Schools ratings are assessed by evaluating both public data about the institution and proprietary data gathered through an annual survey. The assessment is offered to more than 8,800 institutions nationwide. Each year, schools taking the survey are held to a higher standard than in previous years via improved methodology, criteria and weightings developed with the assistance of an independent research firm.

“Columbia College helped me discover something I am passionate about, all while I was navigating a demanding military career,” said Jeffrey Johnson ’20 ’22, a veteran of the U.S. Army who earned bachelor’s degrees in General Studies and Marketing and is now pursuing his Master of Business Administration through the Columbia College Online Program.

Columbia College celebrated 50 years of its partnership with the U.S. military in 2023 and has over 20,000 military-affiliated alumni. The college serves current service members, veterans and military families online and at more than 20 locations nationwide, 14 of which are on military installations.

The college was recently the first higher education institution to receive a commendation from the Silver Star Families of America. It is also a Purple Heart Institution, recognizing its commitment to the country’s men and women in uniform. Military Times also honored the College on the “Best for Vets” list in 2023.

Earlier this month, the college expanded its popular Military Affiliated Benefit program. All military installation employees nationwide and all spouses and dependents (up to the age of 25) of currently serving military members are now eligible for the benefit. Spouses and dependents of installation employees, meanwhile, receive 15% off the college’s regular tuition rate.