Education for our military

Columbia College has been formally involved with educating military students since the early 1970s. In fact, the college was a charter member of the Servicemembers Opportunity College and remains today a military-friendly institution. From a handful in the early 1970s, over one-third of the college's 25,000 annual student population is now military, military dependents or VA enrollees, mostly attending our Nationwide, Evening or Online campuses. The college also is affiliated with all three ROTC programs and students can earn commissions in the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps while pursuing a degree with Columbia College.

The college's escalating success with military students is due to better access to education and an increased military population. Online education has become a necessity for many military members as they seek to pursue their education while serving the country in an era of deployment and operations tempo not witnessed since WWII.

Columbia College understands this. In the past 14 years, senior leadership with deep military experience has been embedded in the college. The vice president for Adult Higher Education, four deans and 12 of 34 campus directors are retired military. The number of campuses on military installations has increased from eight to 17, with eCLEP and DSST testing centers at 12 military installations. Columbia College is also a GoArmyED and eArmyU partner; has joined the Navy’s distance learning partnership; participates in the Air Force and Marine Corps academic portals and has established solid working relationships with the Army Guard, Coast Guard and Community College of the Air Force.

Service members may take courses in-seat at any of the college's 34 campuses, solely online or combine the two. All courses are delivered in eight-week sessions, and troops may start and stop as duty and home schedules dictate. The college's robust online program now serves 15,000 students annually through 19 degree programs including associate and bachelor's degrees in business administration, criminal justice administration, psychology, human services and general studies. The college also offers online master's programs in business, criminal justice and teaching.

Based on a 2007 survey of recent graduates, the overall placement rate (employed full-time) for all programs is 79 percent. The overall placement rate for adult learners was 87 percent. The majority of our military students fall into this category.

Number Percentage
Air Force 430 5%
Air National Guard 89 1%
Army 1913 23%
Army National Guard 303 3%
Coast Guard 246 3%
Marine Corps 341 4%
Navy 2440 29%
Veterans (using VA benefits) 2169 26%
Military Dependents 519 6%
Total 8,450 100%

Of the approximately 25,000 students attending Columbia College in 2007, 8,450 (33.8 percent) were associated with the military. The chart provides the breakout of these students.

Educating military members and their families in today's volatile world is not easy. But Columbia College is committed to doing so with superior customer service and innovative curricula delivery while maintaining the academic quality that is the college's hallmark.