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Columbia College chosen for Obama-backed Project Win-Win

Columbia College is one of 64 colleges and universities across the nation participating in Project Win-Win. The goal of the project is to help more Americans obtain college degrees by providing grant money to aid institutions in identifying former students whose academic records already qualify them for a two-year degree and arranging for them to graduate and receive a diploma. These students were originally pursuing bachelor’s degrees but for varying reasons withdrew from school. Institutions also will identify students who are one to three classes short of an associate degree and will advise them on how to complete their degree.

“We are honored to be a part of this national effort,” said Dr. Gerald Brouder, president of Columbia College. “The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics consistently reports that workers with an associate degree have a lower unemployment rate than those without a degree. In this economy, we are especially pleased to assist these former students in obtaining credentials that will have a lasting effect on their livelihood.”

The project is a partnership with the State Higher Education Officers (SHEEO) and the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP). The initiative is funded primarily by the Lumina Foundation for Education and is backed by the nation’s governors and President Obama.

Participating community colleges and four-year institutions are located in nine states including Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia and Wisconsin. All institutions were recruited by their state system higher education authority and received a small grant of $15,000 to cover costs such as graduation fees with the intention of having an impact on local graduation rates.

“We’ve identified more than 2,000 students who meet the requirements for this program, and we are committed to assisting everyone who responds,” said Tery Donelson, assistant vice president of Enrollment Management.

For students who have met all requirements for their associate degree, Columbia College is waiving its $75 graduation fee, and students can choose to be a part of an upcoming graduation ceremony. However, a diploma will be mailed to them whether or not they attend a graduation ceremony.

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. With more than 30 campuses across the country, 18 of which are on military installations, 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 of Colleges and Schools. Columbia College educates more than 30,000 students each year and has more than 70,000 alumni worldwide. For more information, visit