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Tuition assistance

Military tuition assistance

The most common source of financial aid for military service members is military tuition assistance (MTA). MTA is a benefit paid to eligible members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard for tuition expenses. MTA is a unique, distinct source of financial aid available to eligible service members. Each service has its criteria for eligibility, obligated service, application process, and restrictions. This money is usually paid directly to the institution by the individual services. 

When applying for financial aid (federal, state, local, private, or institutional), MTA is the first form of financial aid administered to the tuition expense. For example, MTA funds are applied to the service member’s tuition account before student loans or PELL grant funds.

The process for applying for military tuition assistance varies between the Services but comes down to the following basic process:

  1. Discuss with military supervisor; commander approval is often needed  
  2. Meet with an Education Services Officer or a military education counselor 
  3. Receive information on Military Tuition Assistance (eligibility, responsibility, restrictions)
  4.  Apply for Tuition Assistance through the appropriate portal (account registration needed to use portal)
  5. Receive Tuition Assistance approval from appropriate Service representatives 
  6. Submit Tuition Assistance approval to Columbia College; register for approved courses


Tuition Assistance will not be billed until after the last day to drop each session has passed. Until your TA is applied to your student account it will show a balance. If you have not seen your TA applied to your student account after the third week of class, please contact the Enrollment Service Center at or by phone at (573) 875-7252 or 1-800-231-2391, ext. 7252.


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