All OCSEA members and extended family members can get an associate degree online for FREE through Eastern Gateway Community College.

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For more information, call OCSEA at 1-800-969-4702 or email

Upcoming Sessions:

June 6, 2022
August 15, 2022
August 29, 2022
October 24, 2022

Members & Union Families: Get your associate degree for FREE

The OCSEA Free College associate degree program is a union-negotiated benefit through OCSEA's partnership in higher education with Eastern Gateway Community College. This OCSEA benefit is made possible through a combination of union-negotiated education programs (the Union Education Trust  for UET-eligible members) as well as federal grants (non-UET-eligible members and family members). The OCSEA scholarship covers the rest! There are ZERO out-of-pocket expenses. Tuition, fees and textbooks are also covered.

Every dues-paying OCSEA member and their immediate and extended family members are eligible for OCSEA's Free College program through Eastern Gateway. Eligible family members include children, dependents, grandchildren, spouses and NOW extended family members, including nieces and nephews, parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, and even in-laws.

Take classes online and on your own time

Classes are online, which is ideal for busy adults. If you have to interrupt your studies because of a busy week at work, you can pick up where you left off with no penalties. Study anytime, anywhere, at your pace.

Get credit for your work experience

Your previous college, work and military experience can count towards your degree. This includes Corrections Training Academy credit for our members in Corrections. And if you want to continue on to a four-year degree, Eastern Gateway advisors will help you choose courses that will transfer to any public college in Ohio.

Access new course offerings all the time!

OCSEA and Eastern Gateway are always working hard to introduce as many new and exciting degrees in a variety of fields as much as possible. Check out the listing of classes below for updates and newly-added degrees and certifications. And, don't forget to check out the Eastern Gateway specialized discounted degree programs and totally free bachelor's degree program through Central State University.

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Associate of Arts - General Studies

The Associate of Arts (AA) degree is a two-year program which parallels the first two years of a Bachelor of Arts degree at most four-year institutions. As a student in the program, you’ll be able to choose electives that align with your interests and career goals. Depending upon your selection, you can progress into baccalaureate programs such as psychology, sociology, English, history, arts, communications or other fields in the arts disciplines.

Criminal Justice

Eastern Gateway's Associate of Criminal Justice program is designed to give you with the knowledge and skills necessary for employment in local, state and federal agencies. It's also structured to support your transfer to a four-year, degree-granting institution. Course topics include Criminal Investigation, Crisis Intervention and Homeland Security. Students with a background in law enforcement or corrections are often able to receive credit through EGCC’s Prior Learning Assessments.

Business Management Degree 

The Business Management degree offers a well-rounded program to students looking to begin a career in business or for promotion opportunities that can advance their careers. Students gain a comprehensive understanding of management principles, business-oriented technology and interpersonal skills, with course work that covers the fundamentals of business, management, critical thinking, project planning and implementation, business software, and communication. Students can choose to complete an optional skill-focused certificate as part of their Business Management degree program. These “credentials as you go” provide students with an entry-level understanding of in-demand fields such as Cyber Security, Programming and Development, IT-Help Desk, Labor Studies and Human Resources. Download Business Management Degree flier.

Business Management optional embedded certificates:

The advertising industry is a global, multibillion-dollar business that, at its most basic level, serves as a conduit between makers and consumers. There is both a creative side to the business and a financial and sales side, and this focus area introduces you to both. The courses for this focus are Advertising and Promotion; Salesmanship; Interactive Advertisement; and Digital Photography.
With over 30 states that have currently legalized medical marijuana and a rising number for recreational use, there is a growing need for skilled technicians and specialists to enter this exciting field as dispensary staff, product managers and marketing and sales associates. This business management certificate will prepare graduates for work at a dispensary and could be a jumping-off point into advanced studies in horticulture, pharmacology and more. See flier.
Expertise in computer security is in high demand. This focus area prepares students to defend and protect information, technology and computer systems. Students will prepare for careers dealing with networking and system administration fundamentals, with the primary focus being defensive strategies to securing networks and systems. The courses for this focus area are Security Foundations; Networking Foundations; System Administration; and Network Defense.
As big data drives business, data analysts are vital to a variety of organizations as they are part computer scientist, mathematician, and trend spotter. These professionals help increase revenue and discover business insights to boost production. Data is the foundation from which business and organizations can tell a compelling story to drive action. Practical foundation level training enables immediate and effective participation in big data and other analytics projects. The courses for this focus area are Basic Statistics; Programming Foundations; Statistical Programming; and Data Wrangling and Visualization.
Digital marketing is one of the fastest-growing careers and is quickly becoming an essential part of marketing in virtually every business. Today, billions of people all over the world are getting their information via social media platforms. Marketing professionals, small business owners, and corporate leaders all need the digital tools and skills to be successful in today’s economy. The courses for this focus are Electronic Commerce: The Strategic Perspective; Social Media Marketing; Consumer Behavior; and Writing for Interactive Media.
Many people dream of owning their own business, which is why over 10 percent of people in this country are self-employed––and that number is expected to grow. More and more workers are looking for the flexibility and freedom that comes with being your own boss. This focus area will help students hone the necessary fundamental skills and tactics needed to be successful in getting a business started and real-world entrepreneurial pursuits. The courses for this focus are Entrepreneurship; Quantitative Reasoning; Customer Service; and Business Ethics.
The Environment and Conservation focus is a great opportunity for business-minded individuals who are interested in a career involving the sustainability of the environment and conservation, to enhance their skills and marketability. This degree is a blend of business classes and environmental science classes that provide proficiency in management, business, payroll, accounting, computer and website marketing skills, and also provide knowledge and competence in environmental studies.
The fast-paced global economy has changed the way finance works on a fundamental level. As day-to-day financial tasks become more complex and interconnected—from transactions to investing—it pays to have a comprehensive finance skill set. In fact, it has become a requirement for success in just about any organization, and even in day-to-day life! The courses for this focus are Financial Management; Managerial Accounting; Securities and Investment; and Financial Accounting 2.
Be prepared for the many possibilities beyond the kitchen with this focus, which will give you an understanding of the operation of both the front and the back of the house. The focus prepares for positions including management trainee, kitchen manager, catering manager, or assistant pastry, banquet, or sous-chef with restaurants, hotels, resorts, and caterers. The courses for this focus are Fundamentals of Food Service Industry; Fundamentals of Food Safety; Food Service Management; and Food and Beverage Operations.
Hospitality is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and refers to a wide array of businesses, including hotels and event planning, cruises and even some professional athletics. Planning events requires many different skills from managing catering staff to marketing and sales. This focus area will give a broad introduction to the various roles involved in hotel and event management. The courses for this focus area are Introduction to Quality Improvement; Food and Beverage Operations; Hotel and Convention Management; and Event Management.
The success of any business or organization is dependent on the employees who work there. Every human resources department plays an essential role in developing organizational strategy as well as handling the employee-centered activities––including the role of unions in the workplace! This focus can help strengthen your skills in HR or prepare you to interact with employees directly to help them resolve problems, understand their benefits, or adjudicate disputes between employees. The courses for this focus are Business Law; Training Concepts; Compensation Management; and Employee Benefits.
Nearly every employer that uses computers has a need for IT Support professionals. The demand for the jobs exceeds the number of qualified candidates who can fill them. In fact, the growth in the area is faster than the average of all other occupations. The IT Help Desk focus of EGCC's Business Management degree was developed with the support of Google and will prepare students for high-demand, entry-level jobs in IT as Help Desk support.
Designed in collaboration with highly-respected and seasoned leaders from the labor movement, the Labor Studies focus prepares students to assume leadership roles in the workplace and in their communities. Whether you are already working as a union organizer or professional, a dedicated advocate or an interested observer, this focus will help gain the necessary skills and understanding of the workplace to meet the challenges of the new millennium. The courses for this focus are Introduction to Labor / the American Labor Movement; Collective Bargaining; Law of Labor / Industrial Relations; and Labor and Management Relationship.
Looking for ways to persuade and influence people? The Marketing focus can help you learn ways to promote brands—from writing and creating content and ads, to planning and managing large-scale events. Students will learn about the many media by which to promote products and services, as well as the ways advertising interrelates to marketing. Courses for this focus are Salesmanship; Advertising; Social Media Marketing; and Customer Service.
This certificate involves planning, implementing, and supervising the production of goods or services, and in our rapidly changing world these skills are more in demand that ever before. Operations managers have responsibilities in both strategy and day-to-day production and cross-function in other departments such as sales, marketing, and finance.
Programmers, developers, and software engineers design and develop many types of software, including computer games and entertainment applications, mobile applications, business applications, database systems, computer systems, and interactive websites. Students get an introduction to these important areas and begin to develop competencies in designing, implementing, integrating, testing and maintaining software systems. The courses for this focus area are Coding from Scratch; Front End Foundations; Front End Frameworks, and Programming Foundations.
The fast-growing field of project management is perfect for the person who is organized, perceptive, detail-oriented, and an excellent communicator. With this certificate, students learn about project politics and ethics, project measurements, and project closure. The course helps develop all sections of a project plan, allowing students to become comfortable with the project management body of knowledge and a variety of powerful techniques to generate project ideas.
This certificate is for students with an interest in environmental issues and their effects on human social and economic systems. It’s designed to provide students with a broad understanding of the issues, topics, and disciplines that sustainability encompasses. Courses in the certificate program will focus on the social, economic, institutional, and environmental aspects of sustainable development as they relate to both human society and the non-human environment.
This certificate is designed for students interested in the environmental health and safety field how it relates to protecting human health and the environment. Topics include waste minimization and pollution prevention and the standards and programs related to waste management.

Professional Office Management

Take the next step to a brighter future with EGCC’s new Professional Office Management degree! EGCC's Professional Office Management degree helps you develop strong leadership, analytical and communication skills, while preparing you for employment in a variety of positions in business, communications, government, healthcare and industry. Ask an EGCC enrollment specialist about how previous work experience and certifications might count for prior learning credit!

Fire Science

EGCC’s Fire Science program is for those seeking enhanced skills and a broad spectrum of knowledge in the field of fire science. Developed in partnership with the Ohio Association of Professional Firefighters, EGCC’s program draws on their extensive experience and leadership in fire services. As a respected state Fire Fighter union, they know firsthand what is necessary in the world of fire and emergency operations. The program is based on the FESHE Model Curriculum published by the National Fire Academy.


The Accounting Program is designed to prepare students for employment in entry level positions in both public and private accounting. The program also will prepare the student who wishes to continue towards a four-year degree in Accounting. As a paraprofessional, the program graduate is an important member of the management team performing cost analysis, analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of conventional financial statements, and utilizing knowledge of a firm’s records to suggest improvements. Students will have experience using computers for accounting applications, including spreadsheets, integrated general ledger packages, and payroll packages.

Social Work

The Social Work program is for students who are interested in transferring to a college or university to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work, or for those seeking employment as a registered social worker assistant which only requires an associate degree. Studying social work enables one to enhance the well-being of children, adults and families in a variety of settings like school systems, hospitals, nursing homes, juvenile detention centers, job and family services, mental health institutions, prison populations and communities. An assistant to licensed social workers typically helps licensed social workers who are involved in assessments, referrals, initial screening, case management, prevention services and community programs or development. NOTE: A hands-on practicum is required to complete this degree. EGCC staff will advise on the coordination of practicum requirements and any associated fees.


The Paralegal Program is designed to prepare students for employment in a law environment in both public and private sectors. Legal skills include performing legal preparations, such as closings, hearings, trials, and corporate meetings. Other duties include the gathering of relevant facts of cases, identifying appropriate laws and decisions, organizing information, and preparing legal arguments.

Early Childhood Education

The Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education degree is your first step in building a foundation for success in the world of childcare. You will focus on important topics in early childhood, such as: development, learning assessment, special learners and instructional strategy.

Health Services

Interested in nursing or another allied health specialty? The Health Services program can help get you there faster! This degree pathway offers the math and science students require as well as general education and critical thinking courses that a student will need in many healthcare fields. The Health Services degree is perfect for learning more about the industry or preparing to apply for nursing school.

Healthcare Administration

The healthcare industry continues to be one of the fastest-growing sectors of our economy. The EGCC Healthcare Management focus prepares students to play an important role in areas such as healthcare policy, managed care, insurance, information systems, or finance in settings such as hospitals, clinics, private practices, and more. Courses will include Introduction to Health Care Systems; Law and Ethics; Healthcare Management; and Healthcare Finance.

Healthcare (Patient Navigator Certification)

This programs will get you started in the dynamic, growing field of healthcare. The Patient Navigator Certificate is an excellent program designed to train students for patient-centered work in healthcare.

Learn how to apply below


Confirm Union Membership & Eligibility

To apply for the Eastern Gateway OCSEA Free College Scholarship, you MUST be a dues-paying OCSEA union member or related to an OCSEA dues-paying member. Before applying to Eastern Gateway, click the "Confirm Eligibility" button below to access the Free College inquiry form and to confirm that you are an OCSEA member or an eligible relative.

Confirm Eligibility


These steps can be completed simultaneously.
Apply for Union Education Trust

If you are an active OCSEA member and a state employee interested in free college for yourself, call 800-969-4702, ext. 2645 or email to confirm eligibility for your union-negotiated Union Education Trust financial aid.

UET Customer Service will guide you through the UET voucher application process.* Any cost not covered by UET vouchers or federal aid (see FASFA® section) will be covered by the OCSEA Free College Scholarship.

* UET-ELIGIBLE MEMBERS ONLY: Once eligibility has been confirmed and you have been accepted to EGCC and have scheduled classes, you must apply for your UET vouchers.

Learn about UET
Complete the FAFSA® Application

Members and family members interested in free college must submit the federal FAFSA® form to apply for additional financial aid.

Any federal grants you receive will be applied to your tuition and fees and textbooks first; the OCSEA Free College Scholarship will cover the rest. Make sure, if you are an OCSEA member eligible for the Union Education Trust through the union contract, to also contact UET to start the voucher process.

EGCC school code: 007275

Fill out the FAFSA


Apply to Eastern Gateway

Once your eligibility has been verified, an advisor will help you apply and enroll in classes. Admission requirements include an official high school transcript or GED scores and an official college transcript, if available.

Got questions? Contact us at 800-969-4702 or

Get a jump start on the application process by clicking the button below:

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Confirm Eligibility

Fill out interest form

To take part in the OCSEA FREE College program, you MUST be a dues-paying OCSEA union member 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.

Please fill out this form to confirm active union membership and eligibility. Once confirmed, an Eastern Gateway representative will contact you about your application.

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