Posted in HS4CC

Family Member in a Union? Free College

We see lots of programs come and go, but this one is STILL available and running strong (since we first shared about it in 2016), so we HAVE TO keep letting our parents know – especially now that we have a HS4CC graduate from this program! If ANYONE in your family is part of the union, your teen may have access to a totally free associate degree. Zero out of pocket, really.

Do you or your spouse work for a union? If so, your dependents (and you) are eligible for a FREE associate degree from Eastern Gateway Community College in Ohio.  This program is funded by Union Plus and is ZERO $ OUT OF POCKET. There is also a reduced-rate Bachelor’s that you can read about here but this post is about the FREE associate degree!

It is *literally free* and they accept CLEP / dual enrollment.   The program is being offered online so you can live anywhere.

Visit Union Plus website to read the details.

Congratulations to Abigail! Associate Degree June 2021

Tonya C. from our Homeschooling for College Credit in Illinois group homeschooled Abigail all through high school and incorporated several CLEP exams along the way. Since they used Modern States, her CLEP exams were free and gave her a big boost. During high school, they were careful to confirm that these exams would apply toward her free associate degree program at Eastern Gateway Community College. After homeschool graduation, Abigail enrolled in the (online) AA degree program thanks to the Union Plus Free College Benefit Program. I just got word that she has finished her degree with a 4.0 GPA and a nice Presidential Scholarship to use at her 4-year university! Abigail and her family are so proud of her hard work and recommend this program to other families. Abigail will finish out her last 2 years on campus at her target university and major in Japanese this fall. WAY TO GO!

“It is great to be able to have free college, but with any school, especially online, you have to be disciplined and keep yourself on task. If something is wrong or you don’t understand, you will have to reach out and speak up about it.”

Abigail C.

Under an academic partnership with Eastern Gateway Community College, the Union Plus Free College Benefit offers grants — known as “last dollar scholarships” — that fill the gap between any federal, state and employer education grants for tuition, fees, and e-books for certain online programs at Eastern Gateway.

Free College is possible thanks to the early support and enthusiasm of AFSCME, who entered into a collaboration with Eastern Gateway Community College in 2016. Since 2016, thousands of students have taken advantage of millions of dollars in Free College scholarships.

Earn an Associate Degree — completely online, for FREE! Even if you don’t qualify for student financial aid, the Union Plus Free College Benefit will be applied to your balance for tuition, fees, and e-books.

NOTE:  Ohio is the only state in the country with a state-wide CLEP policy that applies to all public colleges and universities in Ohio.  They do not accept all CLEP exams, and most exams have a score requirement higher than 50.  Please review their state CLEP policy ✎ EditSignbefore deciding how to inject CLEP credit into a degree from Eastern Gateway. 

Eastern Gateway Community College

Eastern Gateway Community College is a fully accredited, non-profit public institution that is part of the University System of Ohio. Students can enroll in the distance learning program from anywhere in the U.S. The program offers seven associate degrees and two certificate programs. Credits can be transferred to a four-year college.

eastern gateway

you can’t start this degree until after high school, so until then, max out on CLEP! Study hard- they require higher CLEP scores than normal.

-Jennifer Cook-DeRosa

Degree Programs

Business Management Degree (60-63 Total Credits)

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 And EGCC Offers Several Focus Options For Students Who Want To Concentrate Their Studies In A Certain Area.  Students May Also Enroll In The Shorter Business Management Certificate Program, Which Is 32 Credits.

Business Management allows for the following Degree Focus areas. Courses Include:


Advertising and Promotion


Interactive Advertisement

Digital Photography

Cyber Security:

Security Foundations

Networking foundations

System Administration

Network Defense

Data Science:

Basic Statistics

Programming Foundations

Statistical Programming

Data Wrangling and Visualization

Digital & Social Media:

Electronic Commerce: The Strategic Perspective

Social Media Marketing

Consumer Behavior

Writing for Interactive Media


Fundamentals of Food Service Industry

Fundamentals of Food Safety

Food Service Management

Food and Beverage Operations

Hospitality: Hotel and Event Management:

Introduction to Quality Improvement

Food and Beverage Operations

Hotel and Convention Management

Event Management

Information Systems:  Google IT Support Certificate

Introduction to Information Technology, Introduction to System Administration, Introduction to IT Security, Leadership, Development Team Building, Troubleshooting, Customer Service, Automation and More.

Programming & Development:

Coding from Scratch

Font End Foundations

Front End Frameworks

Programming Foundations

Labor Studies:

Introduction to Labor/American Labor Movement

Collection Bargaining

Law of Labor/Industrial Relations

Labor and Management Relationship



Quantitative Reasoning

Customer Service

Business Ethics

Human Resources:

Business Law

Training Concepts

Compensation Management

Employee Benefits

Healthcare Management:

Introduction to Health Care Systems

Law and Ethics

Healthcare Management

Healthcare Finance


Financial Management

Managerial Accounting

Securities and Investment

Financial Accounting 2

General Management:

Leadership Development


Business Law

Total Quality Management

Associate of Arts Degree (60 Total Credits)

The Associate of Arts (AA) degree parallels the first two years of  a Bachelor of Arts degree at most four-year institutions. As a student in the program, you may progress into baccalaureate programs such as psychology, sociology, English, history, fine arts, communications, or other fields in the arts disciplines.

Criminal Justice Degree (60 Total Credits)

The Associate of Criminal Justice program is designed to arm 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. Peace Office Training or Corrections certification holders are eligible to receive college credit toward this degree.

Early Childhood Education Degree (61 Total Credits)

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.

Accounting Degree (61 Total Credits)

This program is designed to prepare students for employment in entry level positions in both public and private accounting and will also prepare the student who wishes to continue towards a four-year degree in accounting. As a paraprofessional, the program graduate can assist with performing cost analysis and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of conventional financial statements. Students will have experience using computers for accounting applications, including spreadsheets, integrated general ledger packages, and payroll packages.

Patient Home Navigator Certificate (30 Total Credits)

Healthcare advocacy is an emerging and exciting career– a sizeable portion of the over 500,000 healthcare jobs in the last 5 years were in this area. EGCC’s Patient Home Navigator certificate was created in partnership with the Medicare Rights Center and graduates will earn a Medicare Information Certified Specialist (MICS) certificate.

The range of Patient Navigator duties varies and EGCC students will be prepared to work in community or healthcare settings. Upon successful completion, students will understand medical terminology; ICD-9, CPT codes, and the equivalent; Medicaid claims; UB04’s; 1500’s; Medicare; Medicaid; and Commercial RA’s as well as Microsoft word/excel/office.

Paralegal Degree (63 Total Credits)

The Paralegal Program is designed to prepare students for employment in a law environment in both public and private sectors. The paralegal graduate will be 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.

Paralegals work in government agencies, law firms, corporations, real estate firms, as well as non-profit organizations. The demand for paralegal professionals is expected to increase by more than 50% over the next ten years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Students who have completed a bachelor’s degree in any area may enroll in the Paralegal Certificate program.

Associate of Individualized Study (60 credits)

This flexible program is designed for students who are close to graduating with a degree but have not yet succeeded in doing so. It is for those who have substantial previous college credit that can transfer into EGCC. Students choosing this must work with an adviser, get their previous and future work approved by a committee, and complete a minimum of 18 credits with EGCC.

  • Note that depending on the number of credits taken per semester, and the number of any previous credits earned and transferred, 60 credits usually takes a full time student 2 years to complete. Students utilizing the Free College Benefit are not required to attend full time and can take 1 class per term.
  • Classes are online so they fit into your schedule
  • Attend full-time or take as little as one class per term
  • Credits can transfer to other schools
  • Advising and tutoring is available to support students
eastern gateway

Visit Union Plus website to read the details.


Executive Director of Homeschooling for College Credit