COLUMBIA, Mo. -

Columbia College announced Tuesday it is expanding its tuition deferment option to veterans affected but the federal government shutdown.

Earlier this month, the college said it would offer a withdrawal policy or six-month payment plan to current service members who had their assistance suspended.

"In keeping with our steadfast dedication to those who serve our country, it only seemed logical to expand this option to our veteran students as well, to help keep them in school," said Mike Lederle, assistant dean for military and federal programs.

The college is offering those affected to withdraw from classes through Nov. 29 without any liability or the opportunity to enroll in an extended six-month payment option.

Those enrolling for the term, which begins Oct. 21, will need to show proof of eligibility as well as apply for or have a current Free Application for Federal Student Aid on file.

Columbia College says more than 3,500 students with veterans benefits completed coursework through the college during the 2012-2013 academic year.