Columbia College offers new grant to military members and families

Tuesday, August 20, 2013 | 7:11 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Columbia College is introducing a new grant for military members and their families, according to a news release from the college.

The Military Family Member's Opportunity Grant, which covers tuition costs for one undergraduate course, is available to members of active duty, the Active Guard Reserve program and their spouses and dependents, the release said. In order to qualify, military members and their family members must enroll as first-time students at Columbia College and take the course in a classroom, not online.

Mike Lederle, assistant dean for military and federal programs at Columbia College, said what makes the grant interesting is that both spouses and dependents of active military members can utilize the award. Also, family members can receive the grant regardless of whether their active military relative is affiliated with Columbia College.

"There is no catch," Lederle said. "It is open to any spouse or dependent of an active duty or active guard and reserve member."

Columbia College has been partners with the military for more than 40 years, Lederle said.

Currently, more than 25 percent of Columbia College students have ties to the military, according to the news release.

Lederle himself was a command sergeant major in the Missouri National Guard for 27 years. He said that based on his experience, educational programs are critical to families of service members because they demonstrate the families' importance.

In addition to the Military Family Member's Opportunity Grant, Columbia College also offers other grants for military students and their spouses.

"It's our way of giving back," Lederle said. "We've seen success in the fact that with grants, spouses have gone on to complete their education ... We truly believe service members need opportunity to advance their education goals."

Supervising editor is Margaux Henquinet.

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