MCO and colleges team up to offer free classes to COs and their families

*Page last updated February 9, 2022.

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. As a dues-paying member, you and your immediate family can earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in certain areas online for free.

MCO does not pay for this benefit.  Keep reading for more details.

MCO and SEIU have partnered with Eastern Gateway Community College (EGCC) and Central State University (CSU), both in Ohio, to offer free online classes to dues-paying members and their families. Associate’s degrees offered through EGCC include Criminal Justice, Business Management, and more. Or, you can earn a bachelor’s degree through CSU in Education, Business Administration, Criminal Justice, or Interdisciplinary Studies. Additional majors may be added in the future.

View more information on the SEIU Member Benefits website or read EGCC’s Frequently Asked Questions list or CSU’s FAQ sheet.

Here’s how it works:

These programs 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. This flyer has more info about exactly how to get started today.

Other important info:

  • MCO does not pay for this benefit. The benefit works as a “last-dollar scholarship,” or grant, through EGCC and CSU, 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 EGCC and CSU.
  • EGCC and CSU are fully-accredited colleges. 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 take ECGG classes. To enroll at CSU, you must have a high school diploma (or GED) and an associate’s degree or 60 credit hours with a GPA of 2.2.
  • 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.

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.

If you take advantage of this program, let us know.  Email MCO Member Support Specialist Adam Earley 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 updated: February 9, 2022.