Columbia College One of Country's Best Military-Friendly Schools

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COLUMBIA - The Military Times' voted Columbia College onto its "Best for Vets: Colleges 2014" list, making it one of only 120 schools in the nation to receive this honor.

Columbia College was founded in 1851, and about a quarter of its students are veterans, service members, or dependents of service members. These students can be part of many of Columbia College's network of campuses, 35 across the nation, including 18 on military bases alone.

This list was made to give service members information on schools with good degree programs. Columbia College was one of 600 applicants for the award.

One student, who is a Navy veteran and also works at the school, says it was the perfect choice for him.

"The school had the right pricing, the right degree. It had the right set of people, the teachers versus the students, and I just thought that this was going to be a great fit for me so we went with Columbia College," said Chris Hillery.

Hillery is studying management information systems, after having worked with information technology while he was in the Navy. He said his experience of getting to work in his career field is something he can't get anywhere else.

"Being a help desk analyst, I get to do the things that I'm studying right here, as I'm doing it," said Hillery. " And so if I wasn't working here also, there's no way I would gain that type of experience."

Keith Glindemann spent 24 years active duty in the Army and is the assistant director of Veterans Services at Columbia College. He said he thinks Columbia College's success with the military stems from years of military support.

"We have a long relationship with the military," said Glindemann. "About 40 years ago, we were reaching out to military and veteran students on military campuses during the Vietnam War when most people were pushing their military students off campuses."

Glindemann also said he thinks the college's success with military students might be the help the college provides.

"We help them line up their benefits through the GI bill. We might help them with tuition assistance questions and problems they might have to get their funding through the government," said Glindemann. "We also help them line up tutor services if needed. We make referrals to outside agencies such as counseling through the VA and any other issues that might come up."

The rankings on the other schools will be published in the November edition of Military Times Edge magazine.