UPDATE Oct. 21, 2013: The college will extend the "add" period for online undergraduate courses until Friday at 11:59 p.m. for those seeking to hear about their MTA funding. We know there may be a backlog of MTA requests, but we want to give ample time for students to enroll in the October session.
UPDATE Oct. 15, 2013: The college will expand its tuition deferment program to include military veterans as well as military servicemembers. Details are available here.
One month ago, Columbia College celebrated 40 years of educating military and adult learners. The college has been especially proud to support military servicemembers and their families in their educational goals as they serve our country.
Until recently, military members could rely on assistance from their service branch in the form of military tuition assistance. As of Oct. 1, tuition assistance will not be authorized or granted for new classes due to the federal government shutdown.
In light of the shutdown, Columbia College will defer tuition charges for the term beginning Oct. 21 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.
“This is an opportunity to create some consistency and stability for our military students,” said Mike Lederle, assistant dean for military and federal programs. "Columbia College has been a leader in military education since 1973. We value the contributions of our service member students, and we want to continue to help them during this time of uncertainty."
This is not the first time the college has made this step to help its military students. In March 2013, all branches of the U.S. Military ceased distribution of tuition assistance. Columbia College stood by its military students and offered additional support.
“During that time, Columbia College advised students of several options for continuing their education. One option was to apply for Federal Financial Aid,” said Lederle. “Of the military personnel who applied for the Federal Pell Grant following sequestration in March 2013, 73 percent were eligible.”
The principles of excellence that Columbia College has established work well for military servicemembers, said Brig. Gen. Dave Newman of the Missouri Air National Guard at the AHE 40th celebration event on Aug. 29. The college was destined to have a partnership with the military, he said.
“Last year nearly 10 percent of what the Missouri National Guard spent on education went to Columbia College,” Newman said at the Aug. 29 event. “Columbia College makes the Missouri National Guard and the U.S. military stronger, which makes us a better nation, and it makes us safer. It’s more than just educating.”
To assist military members year-round, the college offers scholarships and discounts for service members and their spouses and dependents, the ability to mix in-seat and online classes, start-and-stop flexibility and course credit for military experience.
Columbia College recognizes that many will be affected by the shutdown. During the 2012-13 academic year, more than 7,000 military students completed Columbia College coursework at campuses across the country. Of those 35 locations, 18 are located on military bases, including one in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
These are the details of Columbia College assistance for the October 2013 academic session:
Affected students must:
- Be eligible for military tuition assistance
- Apply for or have a current FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) on file
- The opportunity to withdraw from classes through Nov. 29, 2013, without financial or academic liability
- The opportunity to enroll in an extended six-month payment plan, with the first payment due Nov. 22, 2013