Why Get Your Degree?
A Degree Makes A Difference
Did you know?
The OPEIU Free College Benefit
With the OPEIU Free College Benefit, you and your family members can earn a degree or certificate online with no out-of-pocket costs to you, which can save you thousands of dollars.
Retired OPEIU Members
Family of OPEIU Members*
The Free College Benefit covers any amount for tuition, fees or books that is not covered by Federal or Employer education grants.
* Family of OPEIU members are defined as children (or stepchildren), grandchildren (or step-grandchildren), spouses, domestic partners, financial dependents, siblings and parents.
Frequently Asked Questions
The benefit works as a “last-dollar scholarship,” or grant or waiver, that is intended to fill the gap between any federal, state, or employer education grants you receive and the cost of tuition, fees, and e-books for certain online degree programs at Eastern Gateway Community College (and other partner colleges). It does require an investment of your time and attention!
- Dues-paying labor union members of participating unions
- Unemployed, furloughed, laid-off union members
- Retired union members
- Widows/widowers of union members
- Spouses and domestic partners of union members
- Children of union members, including stepchildren and children-in-law (no age limits)
- Grandchildren of union members
- Financial dependents of union members
- Siblings of union members
- Parents of union members
Associate Degree and Certificate Programs offered through Free College:
- Associate of Arts
- Criminal Justice
- Teacher Education Degree
- Patient Home Navigator
- Professional Office Management
- Business Management Degree
- Focus options include:
- Cyber Security
- Data Science
- Digital and Social Media
- Healthcare Management
- Hospitality: Food and Beverage Management
- Hospitality: Hotel and Event Management
- Human Resources Management
- Information Systems
- Labor Studies
- Programming & Development
First, click on the Request more information button at the bottom of this page and complete the form with your contact and union information (for membership verification).
To receive the Free College Benefit, participating unions’ members (or their family members) who want to enroll in EGCC’s online programs will need to complete the following steps after completing the inquiry form on the website. Members can also call 1(833)465-2505 to talk to an admission counselor, or email [email protected] for assistance.
- Apply to EGCC.
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submit any required verification to the college. Any grant award must be applied to the tuition, fees and e-book charges at EGCC.
- Agree to use any employer tuition assistance.
- Verify High School or GED completion by submitting proof of High School graduation or GED completion to EGCC.
Students who are currently in default on their Federal student loans may receive the Free College Benefit but must get permission from EGCC’s financial aid office.
I Have Additional Expenses (Need A New Computer, School Supplies, Etc.). May I Take Out A Federal Student Loan To Cover These Costs?
This must be assessed by the college’s Office of Financial Aid. If you are utilizing the Free College Benefit, you may request to borrow up to $1,000 in Federal Student loans (if eligible) to help offset additional education-related expenses. While you may qualify for Federal Loan funding in excess of $1,000, should you elect to request more, you will forfeit your eligibility for the Free College Benefit*. This policy aligns with a primary goal of the Free College Program, which is to ensure that students are able to earn a degree with minimal or zero loan debt upon completion of their program.
*Rare and extenuating circumstances will be considered by the college as an exception to this policy. In order to be considered for a one-time exception, you must submit a request in writing to the college’s Financial Aid Office. The request must be signed, dated, and state (in detail): 1) the reason you are seeking an exception to the $1,000 loan limit, 2) the loan amount that you are requesting, and 3) an itemization of anticipated expenses that you intend to make with the additional funding. All requests will be reviewed by the college’s financial aid office, and if circumstances warrant, approved by the college for a one-time authorization for funds in excess of the program loan limit ($1,000). Please note that an expense such as ‘needing a new computer’ may be covered by the existing program loan limit, and is not considered as part of an extenuating circumstance exception.
A financial dependent is someone for whom you have financial responsibility. Neither your union nor EGCC assesses the level of financial dependence or the definition of a domestic partner. Family members do not have to live with you and there is no age limit for the scholarship.
If you are not an Ohio resident and you qualify for federal, or state grants you must use those at EGCC in order to receive the last-dollar scholarship. If a student elects to use their federal/state grants at another institution, they may still enroll at EGCC but will not receive the Free College last-dollar scholarship.
However, once you are enrolled as a student at EGCC, the college requires that students meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). An abbreviated summary of the SAP policy is below. The full definition of this can be found on EGCC’s website, in the catalog, or from your advisor.
Satisfactory Academic Progress: (SAP)
A student must maintain at least a cumulative GPA of 2.0 and successfully complete 67% of courses attempted in every semester. Please see EGCC.edu for more information.
The cost of e-books is included, so students will have no costs other than internet access and equipment (computers, software, etc.).
Students can also call directly to the U.S. Department of Education toll-free at 800-621-3115 for more information on completing the FAFSA and federal financial aid.
What If I Do Have Tuition Reimbursement?
Please check with your employer as to the details on how it works. We will work with you to ensure compliance.
EGCC’s coursework is rigorous and meets the high standards of the state of Ohio. We understand that not everyone can meet the same schedule. Therefore, EGCC’s highly qualified instructors provide a flexible, online learning format that gives students the opportunity to further their education while fulfilling responsibilities to both family and your career.
Classes are offered every 8 weeks during the semester.
Even as an online student at EGCC, you will have a support system available to aid in your success, including access to your instructor through office hours and direct communication, academic advisors, an online writing center, and free access to online tutors.
The Free College Benefit represents an investment from EGCC in you and your academic future. EGCC may terminate your scholarship if you have:
- Refused to complete FAFSA or first use your available grant money.
- Failed to maintain satisfactory academic progress.
- Failed to meet EGCC’s code of conduct.
It’s OPEIU’s mission to give you every advantage to get ahead. Through the OPEIU Free College Benefit, you and your family members can now earn a certificate or degree completely online — for FREE.
Visit OPEIU’s website for more information on member benefits.
Areas of Study
Free College Option
The Free College Benefit program provides students access to a variety of programs and classes to help you meet your education goals.
Whether you’re just starting college, enhancing your skills, changing careers, or looking for classes to enrich your life, we have a place for you in one of our program’s participating schools.
You can complete your degree online from anywhere and access your courses at any time of the day. This benefit program is designed for working professionals to have the opportunity to fit online education into their busy lives, with no debt.
Associate Degree Subject Areas:
- Associate of Arts (General Studies and Transfer)
- Business Management
- Criminal Justice
- Healthcare Administration
- Health Services
- Professional Office Management Degree
- Social Work
- Teacher Education Degree (Associate of Arts)
Certificate Subject Areas:
- Patient Health Navigator
- Business Management
Certificate of Completion Subject Areas:
- Cannabis Fundamentals
- Data Analytics
- Digital and Social Media Marketing
- Environmental Science
- Hospitality - Food and Beverage Management
- Hospitality - Hotel and Event Management
- Human Resources Management
- Labor Studies
- Operations Management
- Programming and Development
- Project Management Fundamentals
- Sustainable Environments
- Waste Management
Associate Degree subject areas offered, with some content fees:
- Fire Science
- Information Technology Degree
- Health Information Management
Certificate subject areas offered, with some content fees:
- IT - Essentials
- IT - Networking
- IT - Linux and Security
- Medical Coding Specialist
- Medical Scribe Specialist