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Columbia College to defer tuition costs for military service members affected by Sequester

COLUMBIA, Mo., March 12 -- In light of federal cuts to military tuition assistance for service members, 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.

“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.”

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

Since early March, the Departments of Army and Homeland Security announced that all students not currently utilizing tuition assistance through their respective services would have to use federal or personal funds, or VA benefits to pay for future coursework. Recent cuts to tuition assistance already have taken effect for members of the Army, National Guard, Reserves, Marines and Coast Guard.

In 2011, more than 8,500 military students received tuition assistance for Columbia College coursework. Many of those affiliated with the military are enrolled throughout Columbia College’s campuses across the country. Of those 35 locations, 18 are located on military bases, including one in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Founded in 1851 in Columbia, Mo., Columbia College has been helping students advance their lives through higher education for more than 160 years. As a private, nonprofit liberal arts and sciences institution, the college takes pride in its small classes, experienced faculty and quality educational programs. Students may enroll in day, evening or online classes. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association. Columbia College educates more than 30,000 students each year and has more than 74,000 alumni worldwide. For more information, visit