Columbia College-Fort Stewart shares Army education success story: From GED diploma to four-year college degree

Troy C. Hope, Chief Warrant Officer 2, Third Infantry Division assigned to 4th Brigade Combat Team, B703 Maint., stands as a shining success story when it comes to military education in the United States Army.

Hope joined the Army in 1993 with a GED diploma, never having completed high school in Brunswick, Ga. He attended basic training at Fort Knox, Ky., and Advanced Individual Training for welding and metalwork at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.

Beginning at his first active-duty station in Fort Hood, Texas, Hope enrolled in Central Texas College using Army Tuition Assistance funding in pursuit of an Associate of Arts in General Studies. He eventually completed that course of study at Fort Bragg, N.C., in December 2002 with a 3.6 GPA.

While deployed to Hohenfels, Germany, in 2003, Hope continued his educational objectives toward a bachelor’s degree by enrolling in the University of Maryland University College. Subsequently, he completed Warrant Officer School at Fort Rucker, Ala., and Warrant Officer Basic Training at Aberdeen Proving Ground.

After an assignment at Fort Drum, New York, and two deployments to Iraq in support of the Global War on Terror, Hope was selected in October 2010 for the Army’s degree completion program. This program allowed him 18 months to focus solely on completing his bachelor’s degree, and he was assigned to finish with Columbia College-Fort Stewart. Hope also took advantage of DANTES testing at the first ACES National Testing Center managed by Columbia College at the SFC Paul R. Smith Army Education Center at Fort Stewart.

In October 2011, Hope completed his bachelor’s degree from Columbia College-Fort Stewart. His degree completion has allowed his promotion file to currently be “locked” as he awaits promotion to Chief Warrant Officer 3. Hope has plans and aspirations to move on to his next educational goal and complete an MBA in the near future.

The combination of Tuition Assistance funding, collaborative articulation agreements between colleges and DANTES testing availability clearly helped paved the way for soldier educational success stories such as Troy C. Hope, CW2 of the Third Infantry Division.