Because of your UFCW membership, you and your family members can earn an associate degree online from a public, accredited community college – with no out-of-pocket costs to you. The process is simple and can save you thousands of dollars.
UFCW Free College Benefit
The UFCW Free College Program has been temporarily suspended. We are planning to relaunch the program and will update when we have more information.
The UFCW Free College Benefit ensures that UFCW members and their families do not have to pay out of pocket for any tuition, fees or e-books at Eastern Gateway Community College—resulting in cost savings of thousands of dollars!
The Free College Benefit covers any amount for tuition, fees or books that is not covered by federal or employer education grants.
Children (or stepchildren), grandchildren (or step-grandchildren), spouses, domestic partners, and financial dependents of UFCW members are eligible for the UFCW Free College Benefit. Retired UFCW members are also eligible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can receive the Free College Benefit?
The UFCW Free College Benefit is open to retired UFCW members, UFCW members in good standing who are full dues paying members, and their families. Family is defined as spouses, children, stepchildren, children-in-law, dependents and grandchildren. Potential students’ membership will be verified by UFCW.
How does it work?
Eligibility requires that potential students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, as well as apply for and use 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, for a process called verification that is required by the US Department of Education. 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, fees, and e-books for EGCC’s online programs
How do I qualify for the Free College Benefit?
EGCC is an open-access college, which means you only need to have a high school degree or GED equivalent to be accepted to the EGCC degree programs.
To receive the Free College Benefit, UFCW members (or their family members) who want to enroll in EGCC’s participating online programs will need to complete the following steps. All steps can be found on at www.ufcwfreecollege.org.
- – Apply to EGCC
- – Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submit – any required verification. Any grant award must be applied to the tuition, fees and e-book charges at EGCC
- – Agree to use any employer tuition assistance
- – Verify High School or GED completion by having official transcripts sent to EGCC
Students who do not complete the FAFSA and any required verification will need to make payment arrangements with EGCC.
Students who are currently in default on their Federal student loans must first ensure their loans are in rehabilitation in order to receive the scholarship. If a student falls into default during a term in which they are enrolled in EGCC, the student must take steps to rehabilitate their loans before continuing to receive the Free College Benefit. Students are invited to call the EGCC Financial Aid office for help on this subject at 740-266-9619. They can also call directly to the U.S. Department of Education 800-621-3115.
Why is UFCW offering this benefit?
One of UFCW 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, UFCW has found a way to help members and their families begin to alleviate this worry.
This program started successfully with labor unions including UFCW locals in Ohio. The response from our members was so great, that we wanted to expand this benefit to all members of our union family. UFCW and EGCC are committed to helping adult and returning students be successful in earning their degree, which can lead to increased career opportunities.
Is this for real? Sounds like a scam.
It is for real and students have been taking advantage of this great opportunity since Fall 2015. Over 5,000 students have enrolled at EGCC through this program. Already hundreds of UFCW members have begun their classes with the UFCW Free College benefit.
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. The college is part of the University System of Ohio and regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. EGCC is committed to innovation and increasing quality educational opportunities for students in Ohio and across the country. The staff of EGCC is union represented.
EGCC is one the fastest growing colleges in Ohio. The school is a national Achieving the Dream Leader College, an American Association of Community Colleges School of Excellence, and recognized nationally for its efforts to prepare a diverse student population for career success. They are also transfer-friendly, which means they strive to accept previous college credits students may have earned elsewhere.
What programs are offered through the scholarship program?
For detailed program information, please visit the program section of on the website www.ufcwfreecollege.org.
Current offerings include:
Associate of Arts Degree
Business Management Degree and Certificate
Including concentrations in
Early Childhood Education Degree
Patient Navigator Certificate
Criminal Justice Degree
Associate of Individualized Study Degree