Here at MCO, we often talk about all the benefits of membership. Now we can add free college to that list. Yes, you read that right: free college.
MCO and SEIU have partnered with Eastern Gateway Community College in Ohio to offer free online classes to dues-paying members and their families. View more information on the SEIU Member Benefits website or read a Frequently Asked Questions list.
Here’s how it works:
The program will pay for any remaining tuition, fees, and e-books for certain degree paths after you receive federal or state student aid.
To get started, you must create an account with SEIU Member Benefits. You must also complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), submit any documentation the FAFSA requires, and claim any award offered.
More detailed information is on the SEIU Member Benefits website.
Other important info:
- MCO does not pay for this benefit. The benefit works as a “last-dollar scholarship,” or grant, through Eastern Gateway Community College, 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.
- Eastern Gateway Community College is a fully-accredited college. Any credits you earn are eligible for transfer. Any college you later transfer to will make a final determination as to whether they will accept the credits.
- You must have a high school diploma or GED to participate.
- This program can be used to obtain an associate degree in certain fields.
- This benefit is available to dues-paying MCO members and their immediate families (spouse, children, step-children, grandchildren, and financial dependents). Under no circumstances will free tuition be extended to union drop outs or other non-members.
- Classes don’t operate on a traditional semester schedule. Find out here when classes start next.
- Complete details are on the FAQ page.
This is an amazing opportunity for academy recruits who still need to earn their required college credits for employment. (Due to the staffing crisis, new recruits now have an 18-month grace period* to earn their college credits while they work, due to the staffing crisis.) Find out exactly which credits you need to continue with the MDOC or get an associate degree in criminal justice. This is another way MCO supports officers from the start of their career and sets them on a path for success.
But this program doesn’t just benefit recruits. It lifts up all members and their families who aspire to earn a higher education degree.
A union is more than just a contract. A strong union can help members and their families with the things that matter most, as this free program illustrates. Through collaboration and partnerships, we can develop programs that will make a deep impact on members’ and families’ lives. All of us should be rethinking what a union is and what it should mean for each of us.
If you take advantage of this program, let us know. Email MCO Communications Director Anita Lloyd about the difference this free college made for you and your family.
*Note as of April 13, 2020: Due to COVID-19, this grace period has temporarily been extended to 24 months.
Page last reviewed: Feb. 2, 2021.