For more information on
this exciting educational
opportunity for FOP and FOPA
Members and their families.
call 888-590-9009.

Ohio FOP Free College Benefit FAQ


Q. What is the Ohio FOP Free College Benefit?


A. Thanks to the Ohio FOP, you can receive a scholarship that allows you to earn your Associate Degree from Eastern Gateway Community College—For Free! To be eligible for these scholarships, interested students must apply to the U.S. Department of Education for federal financial aid and use any grants to pay the tuition. Any remaining balance for tuition, fees, or books at EGCC will be covered by the Ohio FOP Free College scholarship. This ensures that no student has to pay out-of-pocket for any tuition or fees at EGCC—resulting in cost savings of thousands of dollars!


Q. Why is the Ohio FOP offering this benefit?


A: One of our Members’ biggest concerns is the cost of college. Today, only half of Americans who begin college will be able to finish, largely due to financial and work/life barriers. With this benefit, we’ve found a way to help our members and their families begin to alleviate this worry.


Q.  Is this a for real?


A.  It is for real and FOP members across Ohio have been taking advantage of this great opportunity since Fall 2015.


Eligibility requires that potential students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and apply any federal grants, as well as any employer or military tuition reimbursement or assistance for which they have eligibility.  Once the FAFSA is completed, the college may require that additional documentation be submitted.  All members must comply with the document requests by EGCC in order to complete the financial aid process to determine eligibility for federal aid.  The Free College benefit will cover the rest of the cost of tuition and fees for EGCC’s online programs.

Q.  Is EGCC Accredited?


A.  Yes.  EGCC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges. The Higher Learning Commission is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. This federally-recognized body provides assurance to students, parents and all stakeholders that EGCC meets clear quality standards for educational and financial performance,


Q.  Can out of state students take EGCC clasess?


A.  Yes.  EGCC seeks to deliver all of our online programs in every state. We work through the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) process and with states directly to ensure that when authorization or licensure is necessary, required approvals are secured. Ohio is a member of SARA and EGCC is an approved SARA institution. As such, we adhere to an established common set of standards for offering post-secondary distance education among member states, districts and territories. Participation in SARA is intended to make it easier for students to take online courses offered by postsecondary institutions based in another state. While we do monitor the laws in each state, authorization of distance education is a dynamic environment and prospective students should check this site often for updates. EGCC is currently authorized, licensed, registered, exempt or not subject to approval in all states.  It is the student’s responsibility to understand current circumstances or special requirements in their state of residence. For more information about SARA, please visit



Q.  If this is Free, why do I have to fill out the FAFSA?


A.  The Free College Benefit is a last dollar scholarship.  That means in order for it to work for as many people as possible, and for the Benefit to strengthen and grow, we need to ensure that students’ financial aid grants are applied to the tuition and fees.  The grants are only awarded by the federal government based on the information you provide in your FAFSA.


Q.  Will my union see the information on my FAFSA?


A. Only the US Department of Education and the financial aid office at EGCC will know your grant status.  Your privacy is protected.


Q.  I am confused by the FAFSA.  Can you help?


A.  We are happy to advise you on how to fill it out.  Give us a call at (740) 266-9992 or (330) 480-0726.  You can also check out the information in the video below.


Q. Who is eligible for the Ohio FOP Free College Benefit?


A. Ohio FOP members and Auxiliary members in good standing and their families.  Family is defined as spouses, children, stepchildren, dependents and grandchildren.  Potential students’ membership will be verified by the Ohio FOP.


Q. How do I qualify?


A. To qualify, Ohio FOP members who want to enroll in EGCC’s online programs will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and apply any federal or state financial aid, or employer grants or tuition reimbursement benefits for which they show eligibility.  All of this information can be found in the Apply Now section at


The U.S. Department of Education selects approximately 30% of all FAFSA applicants for a process called verification. Verification is the process by which an educational institution confirms accuracy of the data reported (or not reported) on an individual student’s FAFSA. During the verification process, information reported on the FAFSA is verified for accuracy against documentation submitted by the student and/or their parents. An application may be selected for verification at any time throughout the award year. Compliance with this verification procedure is required to remain eligible for the scholarship.


Q. What if I am not eligible for any federal financial aid?


A. Even if it is determined that the student is not eligible for federal or state financial aid, or employer grants or tuition reimbursement benefits, a last dollar scholarship will be applied to any remaining balance for tuition and fees at EGCC. The cost of the books is included in the fees, so students will have no costs other than equipment (computers, software, etc.).


Q.  I have tuition assistance from my employer.  How does that work?


In order for the Benefit to be available for as many members and their families as possible and for as long as possible, Eastern Gateway Community College requests that students who have access to tuition assistance or reimbursement from their employers apply those benefits to their tuition before the scholarship is applied.


Q.  Tell me about Eastern Gateway Community College.


Eastern Gateway Community College is a public, open-access college located in Steubenville, Ohio, with sites in Youngstown and Warren.  They are part of the University System of Ohio and regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.  They are committed to innovation and increasing quality educational opportunities for students in Ohio and across the country.


EGCC is one the fastest growing colleges in Ohio.  They are a national Achieving the Dream Leader College, an American Association of Community Colleges School of Excellence, and are recognized nationally for their efforts to prepare a diverse student population for career success.


Q. Why should I earn college credit at EGCC if it’s not my local college?


A. EGCC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and governed by by the Ohio Department of Higher Education.  Therefore, credits earned at EGCC can be transferred to other institutions across Ohio and the around the country.  The staff at the college is committed to helping students determine the right course of study that will help them continue their work at a college closer to their home.


Students who have completed the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy could be eligible for up to 33 credits toward their degree—that is equivalent to 1 year toward the Associate Degree!


Q.  Will my previous college work or work experience count at EGCC?

A.  EGCC is committed to helping you earn your degree.  Their Office of Transfer Evaluations will help you determine whether your previous college work will transfer into EGCC, and whether you are eligible for college credit for previous work experience, such as military work or public service. We understand that you have worked hard for the college credit you have earned and expect to transfer as much as you can toward your degree completion plan.

Students who have completed the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy could be eligible for up to 33 credits toward their degree—that is equivalent to 1 year toward the Associate Degree!


Q. Can I get credit for completing the Ohio Peace Office Training Academy?

Students who have completed the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy could be eligible for up to 33 credits toward their degree—that is equivalent to 1 year toward the Associate Degree!


Q.  I’m worried I won’t have time for college work.

A.  EGCC’s coursework is rigorous and meets the high standards of the state of Ohio and of its accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission. We understand that not everyone can meet the same schedule.  Therefore, EGCC’s highly qualified instructors provide an online based 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.


Q.  Is online learning for me?

A.  Online learning has helped many students overcome the scheduling challenges of completing their degree.  However, the format is not everyone.  Click the button below and take the self-assessment developed by Miami of Ohio University to see if this will work for you.

Are You Ready to Succeed at eLearning? Even as an online student at EGCC, you will have a comprehensive support system available to aid in your success, including access to your instructor through office hours and direct communication, an assigned academic advisor, an online writing center, free 24/7 access to online tutors.


Q: I want to find out more. What do I do next? 


A: Go to to begin the application process.  You must complete the Membership verification form, the EGCC application, the FAFSA and supply needed documentation such as a high school transcript and any verification documents required to determine federal or state grant eligibility.  Your enrollment counselor can walk you through each step along the way.

Q: I know the FOP Ohio is a great advocate for me and I want to officially join the union.  How do I do that? 


A: Please call the Ohio FOP at 614-224-5700.

Q.  Which programs are offered through the scholarship program?

They include the following:

Business Management Degree
Choose Eastern Gateway’s online Business Management program and you can do more than build a strong understanding of business theory. You can develop the practical knowledge and skills important for success in various business-related roles. 60 Credits
Business Management allows for the following Degree Focus areas:
Labor Studies– courses include Introduction to Labor / American Labor Movement; Collective Bargaining;
Law of Labor / Industrial Relations; Labor and Management Relationship
Entrepreneurship– courses include Entrepreneurship; Quantitative Reasoning; Customer Service; Business Ethics
Human Resources– courses include Business Law; Training Concepts; Compensation Management; Employee Benefits
Healthcare Management– courses include Introduction to Health Care Systems; Law and Ethics; Healthcare Management; Healthcare Finance
Marketing– courses include Salesmanship; Advertising; Social Media Marketing; Customer Service
Finance– courses include Financial Management; Managerial Accounting; Securities and Investments; Financial Accounting 1
General Management– courses include Leadership Development; Entrepreneurship; Business Law; Total Quality Management 
 Students may also enroll in the shorter Business Management Certificate program (30 Credits)
Accounting Degree
Early Childhood Education Degree
Patient Navigator Certificate
Paralegal Degree
Associate of Individualized Study Degree
Criminal Justice
This program provides a background in criminal justice and homeland security. This field is as versatile as any can be–whether it’s providing order and enforcing laws, playing an important part in the legal system, or being a role model for a troubled individual.
Those currently employed in law enforcement and corrections may have a unique opportunity to apply their occupational training for credit for this degree.
Students who have completed the State Police Academy could be eligible for up to 33 credits toward their degree—that is equivalent to 1 year toward the Criminal Justice Associate Degree!
Associate of Arts (AA)
Students can earn their general education degree online at Eastern Gateway Community College—a solid credential on its own, or an excellent pathway to a Bachelor Degree.  The Associate of Arts Degree provides the course of study equivalent to those offered to freshman and sophomore-level students in attending many four-year colleges and universities. Completing this degree at Eastern Gateway Community College gives students substantial cost savings over starting a 4-year College or University.