Columbia College among the nation's top 20 military-friendly institutions

Columbia College recently was named one of the nation's top 20 military-friendly institutions by Military Advanced Education, a national magazine that covers education issues for members of the armed services. The list was published in the December 2008 edition.

MAE invited more than 2,000 colleges and universities to submit a 100-word essay explaining its military-friendly policies; 60 were selected for the 2008 Honor Roll. The magazine explains that the judges singled out the top 20 institutions as "a further tribute to those schools whose military-friendly policies set the gold standard for this honor." The schools were selected by an independent panel of judges from education and the military; selections were based on each institution's favorable policies toward servicemembers.

Mike Randerson, a veteran and vice president for Adult Higher Education at Columbia College, said the recognition is particularly gratifying because the honor highlights the mission of the school.

“We started in adult higher education because of the military," said Randerson. "We feel we’ve worked hard to serve the military over these years and to have military friendly policies. It validates who we try to be as an institution.”

Columbia College began educating military servicemembers in 1973. Today, more than one-third of Columbia College's 25,000 annual student population is comprised of military, military dependents or veterans. One half of the college's 34 campuses are on military bases, including one in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Through a partnership with the University of Missouri–Columbia, the college is affiliated with all three ROTC programs, allowing students to earn commissions in the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps while pursuing a degree with Columbia College.

"I'm grateful but not surprised that Columbia College has been honored in this way," said Ramona McAfee, assistant dean for military and federal programs for Columbia College. "The entire faculty and staff at our home and 33 other campuses make an inspired effort to make it easier for our men and women in uniform to advance their careers by enhancing their educations."

Columbia College's winning 100-word essay:

Accredited and nationally recognized, Columbia College has four decades of expertise awarding nontraditional credit for military training and experience; accepting ACE recommendations for military training and CLEP, DANTES and ECE examinations; maintaining a liberal withdrawal policy for military-related circumstances; and accepting up to 60 hours of nontraditional credit toward our bachelor's programs. Add our partnership in GoArmyEd, EArmyU, NCPACE and NCPDLP; availability at the home campus to Army, Naval and AF ROTC programs; offering of in-seat courses at 18 military installations; and national test center responsibilities on 13 military installations, and you'll see how Columbia College earns the designation "military-friendly."

For more information about Columbia College's educational opportunities for the military, visit or contact Ramona McAfee at (573) 875-7579.