Tuition assistance cuts

CC supports servicemembers during sequestration

Columbia College military students at Rogers Gate in Columbia
By Jennifer Truesdale

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.

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.”


Jay Zimmerman said...

Columbia College,
You guys have always gone above and beyond to help me out with every aspect of my college journey, and I can see that you guys will continue to do so no matter what happens. You have my heartfelt thanks!

Vet1996-2002 said...

As a veteran, and patriot, it makes me proud to attend a college that values it's millitary demagraphic, and is willing to take action for the people who take action for the country. I am not sure of the policy's of other continued education programs. I would not mind helping to carry the expense a bit as well, maybe a fund could be set up specifically for this purpose as our president has decided to put funding elsewhere. Thank you for actually supporting true patriots by doing more than putting a sticker on your car.

Anonymous said...

I hope that Vet1996-2002 will learn better research skills and spelling skills when he tries to blame the Commander in Chief. That is not very patriotic.

Anonymous said...

As a Columbia College alumni and active duty service member it’s great to see institutions like Columbia College take in inconsideration the situation we as service members have to deal with in regards to tuition assistance. If only more schools would do the same!

Anonymous said...

I am very pleased with the assistance the school has provided for us. I had gave up on all my educational goals until I read this information. Once again I will always be loyal to Columbia College.

Anonymous said...

I am proud to go to a school that goes above and beyond for members of the military. I hope that a long term solution can be found. Thank you Columbia College.

CC Student/USN said...

There is a reason why you have made these lists year after year. Thank you Columbia for supporting those of us who defend our nation's freedoms. Very proud to call Columbia college my alma mater!

Bob Proctor said...

It is for these reasons that I have chosen Columbia College as my higher learning avenue to the future. I can't express the appreciation I have for your forward thinking and support for our military members!

Anonymous said...

To the first Anonymous post...patriotic is support someone else's opinion without the criticism. The CIC must take responsibility for everything that happens to each service member, that is, after all, the definition of a great commander.

Anonymous said...

I love when people toot their own horn through PR. If CC really wanted to help, they would reduce tuition for people losing TA this term, not just wait a few weeks longer for payment. Sure, we're thankful for anything, but don't act like you're doing such a huge and glorious favor.

Stacey Smith said...

Columbia College needs soldier students more than soldier students need Columbia College...there are many options available online that give the same caliber of education at a significantly lower seems to me that the nationwide and online campuses of CC support the main campus which gives many generous scholarship packages to students (most who are in better financial situations than the average soldier)...I am a CC graduate and have found that my degree is viewed as a piece of paper from a diploma mill--and I have a high GPA. I agree with the previous post, if CC wants to brag about how "patriotic" they are, reduce military tuition, or subsidize the tuition entirely--as a non-profit, it would not be hard for them to do so. They owe the military students for their enormous success...does main campus really need improvements to infrastructure when soldiers and vets are at risk of losing educational opportunities. Shame on you Columbia College for your flawed plan to "help" can and should do much more! There's a lot of competition offering online degrees...

Anonymous said...

Holy cow, Stacey. I've never read anywhere that Columbia College is a diploma mill. Maybe it's what you are doing with your degree, not where it came from that is affecting your perspective. Infrastructure is important - Main Campus can't support the activities of Nationwide Campuses if they are lacking the proper foundation. It's a sound business principle whether a college is non-profit or for-profit. Considering that active duty students at my campus do get a tuition break, first chance to register for courses and various other perks in a dog-eat-dog world, plus can get financial aid and apply for any scholarship that is available to Nationwide student, I would say that the playing field is tilted. It would also do well to remember that scholarship eligibility is defined by the person endowing the scholarship. By electing to attend a Nationwide campus, a student must realize that they are forgoing some of the advantages to attending a traditional bricks and mortar location. You can't have it both ways.

Anonymous said...

I agree that CC is NOT a diploma mill but a quality higher education program. I can also say with experienced knowledge that too many of the military is using their tuition funding not only to pay for their education but to support themselves so they don't have to work. I have been in way too many classes in which those with outside funding, not just military funding, are in class just because someone else is funding the bill. I agree that not everyone is using the funding this way but it does give one a sour taste when you see that students are not doing their work, preparing for class, and expecting a handout.

I'm sure this will upset some people but I have seen it in too many of my classes.

Millie Villafane said...

I am a Service Member and I am very happy to say that CC has been more than friendly with accomodating my military duties so that I can continue my classes. In my experience, this was the most cost-effective and flexible college that I found, and have been taking classes since 2009. And, if anyone has any complaints about the college, they are always free to go somewhere else.

ashmw01 said...

A diploma mill? The statistics on graduates do not even support that. And CC was named in US NEWS top colleges. Diploma mill? That makes absolutely no sense.