CSEA Free Associate Degree Program

2022 Start Dates: January 10, January 24, March 14, March 28, and June 6

Who can take advantage of the Free College Program?

CSEA members, active and retired, and all their family members* are eligible to attend for NO out-of-pocket costs for tuition, books, and student fees**.Take classes for professional growth, personal enrichment, complete a certificate program or an Associate degree. Family members do not need to be living with you or be your financial dependent to be eligible. This program is offered in partnership with Union Plus and Eastern Gateway Community College in Ohio. The college is regionally accredited, and credits are transferable. Classes are offered online in 8-week terms. Attend part-time taking one or two course per 8-week term or attend full-time. Go to EGCC Online Program Listing to explore the over 30 different degrees offerings.


Ready to get started? It’s easy and takes about 20 minutes total.

1.  Click on the Get Started button at www.unionplusfreecollege.org and complete the interest form.

  • For “What is the member’s local union number?” enter your CSEA Chapter number and name.

  • For “What is union member’s council number” enter n/a unless you are a CSEA Retiree member, then enter your CSEA Retiree Unit Council number.

  • For “Where does the union member work?” enter the name of the school district where the CSEA member is employed (not the name of the individual school within the district where you work).

If you do not have this information, please call CSEA Member Benefits at (866) 487-2732 or email  memberbenefits@csea.com and we will provide it to you.

2.  After completing the interest form, you will be prompted to complete the application form. 

3.  Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This is required for all students unless you are a DACA recipient. Any grants you are eligible for will be applied to your tuition, books, and student fees and then a “last-dollar” scholarship is applied to cover any remaining balance due. Even if you do not qualify for any federal aid, your tuition, books, and student fees will be covered in full by the scholarship.

4.  Admissions decisions are made within a couple of weeks and new terms start every 8 weeks.

Once an associate degree is completed, students can continue on a path toward earning a bachelor’s degree through the CSEA No-Cost Bachelor’s Degree Program and, if desired, complete a teaching credential as well at no-cost.


*Family members include spouses, domestic partners, children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, parents, siblings, in-laws, step-children and step-grandchildren, cousins, and more.

**There are five programs that include specialized materials not covered by the free college program. These materials cost approximately $700 to $1,000 and include Fire Science, Health Information Management, Information Technology, Medical Coding, and Medical Scribe Specialist.