OCSEA’s TOTALLY FREE Bachelor’s Degree FAQ

Below is a compiled list of our most asked questions from members and relatives. If you need help or have additional questions, please call OCSEA toll-free at 1-800-969-4702 or email college@ocsea.org

What is the OCSEA bachelor's degree benefit?

OCSEA has partnered with Central State University near Dayton to bring members a free bachelor’s degree. Each student will be eligible for an OCSEA Student Success Grant. The cost for tuition, fees and books will be ZERO. Members who are also eligible for the union’s educational benefit—Union Education Trust (UET)—must use those funds for enrollment in the program. Family members and other non-UET eligible OCSEA members will enroll through the FAFSA process.

Additional Information:

Who can apply?

To take part in the OCSEA FREE College program, you MUST be a dues-paying OCSEA union member (includes retirees) or related to an OCSEA member in one of the following ways: child (or step-child), grandchild (or step-grandchild), spouse, financial dependent, niece, nephew, parent, sibling, aunt, uncle or in-law. Family members do NOT need to be financial dependents or living with the member to be eligible.

What are the requirements?

An associate degree or 60 credit hours is required to enroll. Students who are just starting out with higher education, and who have not yet earned an associate degree will begin with coursework through the OCSEA Free College program at Eastern Gateway Community College and then transfer into Central State University. Enrollees who transition from EGCC to CSU should discuss with their CSU Enrollment Advisors which EGCC credits are transferable into their particular CSU bachelor’s program. Go HERE for information on Eastern Gateway.

How does the financial side work?

Members and their family members can earn a bachelor’s degree online with no out-of-pocket costs. Each student will complete the FAFSA, apply any grants to their account and then will have access to an additional OCSEA Student Success Grant. OCSEA members who are eligible for the Union Education Trust (UET) will apply any Trust money to their account to make up the difference, making their cost zero. Family members and other OCSEA members NOT eligible for UET will be eligible for the OCSEA Student Success Grant not covered by federal grants through FAFSA completion.

Tuition, fees and textbooks (includes e-textbooks) are included in the out-of-pocket maximum. (Note: for some programs, additional costs, such as background checks, fingerprinting and others, are the responsibility of the student.)

What do I need to do? 

The following can be done simultaneously...

  • If you are a UET-eligible OCSEA member, you must verify your membership with UET and complete your UET voucher paperwork to qualify for the benefit.
  • Members and family members must fill out the FAFSA and use any federal grants to pay for tuition.
  • Apply to Central State University.

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