Free & Low-Cost College Degree Programs


On Friday, October 21, 2022, Eastern Gateway Community College was granted a preliminary injunction against the U.S. Department of Education’s cease-and-desist action. Based on this ruling Eastern Gateway Community College and Central State University have both indicated they will enroll students for the Spring 2023 term under the Free & Low-Cost College Benefit. Students should work directly with their school to determine their enrollment eligibility and options.

Eastern Gateway Community College

Central State University

Paul Quinn College

For students looking for alternative education options, there are some exciting developments on the horizon. As the provider of the Free & Low-Cost College Benefit, the Student Resource Center remains committed to delivering sustainable Union education benefit programs that meet member needs and goals, and is actively working to expand free and affordable education options with new academic partners as early as Spring 2023.

The SRC appreciates your patience and support while we work through these changes and we will share more information as soon as possible.

Thank you,
Student Resource Center

Save Money on Your College Education

The PEF Membership Benefits Program, in partnership with Eastern Gateway Community College, Central State University, and Paul Quinn College, provides all active, dues-paying PEF members, retirees, and their families, the opportunity to save money on an associate degree, certificate degree program, and a bachelor’s degree. The degree programs are delivered online, providing convenience in terms of accessibility, flexibility, and balancing home, family, and work commitments.


This benefit is available to all active, dues-paying PEF members, retirees, and family members including children (or step-children), grandchildren (or step-grandchildren), spouses, domestic partners, financial dependents, children-in-law, siblings, and parents. Potential students’ association to a PEF member, will be verified by the PEF Membership Benefits Program. Individuals must apply to determine eligibility.

Free Online Associate Degree Program

Eastern Gateway Community College, an accredited college located in Steubenville and Youngstown, Ohio, makes available a “last dollar scholarship” for an associate degree program. The “last-dollar scholarship” is intended to fill the gap between any federal, state, or employer education grants received, and the cost of tuition, fees, and e-books for certain online degree programs at Eastern Gateway Community College. Two (2) online degree program options are available.

To take advantage of this no cost educational opportunity, you must determine if you are eligible. The process requires the investment of your time to complete the application process and submit the necessary supporting documents.

Associate degree subject areas:

  • Accounting
  • Associate of Arts (general studies & transfers)
  • Business Management
  • Criminal Justice
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Health Services
  • Paralegal
  • Professional Office Management
  • Social Work
  • Teacher Education (Associate of Arts)

Certificate subject areas:

  • Paralegal
  • Patient Health Navigator
  • Business Management

Certificate of completion subject areas:

  • Advertising
  • Cannabis Fundamentals
  • Cyber Security
  • Data Analytics
  • Digital & Social Media Marketing
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Environmental Science
  • Finance
  • Hospitality: Food & Beverage Management
  • Hospitality: Hotel & Event Management
  • Human Resources Management
  • IT Help Desk
  • Labor Studies
  • Marketing
  • Operations Management
  • Programming & Development
  • Project Management Fundamentals
  • Sustainable Environments
  • Waste Management

Program OverviewAbout Degree Programs

To get started, click the get started link below, or call (888) 590-9009.

Get Started

Discounted Online Associate Degree or Certificate (Content Fees Apply)

To take advantage of this discounted educational opportunity (discounted courses or courses offered at no cost, but content fees for e-books, etc., may apply), you must determine if you are eligible. The process requires the investment of your time to complete the application process and submit the necessary supporting documents.

Associate degree subject areas offered, with some content fees:

  • Fire Science
  • Health Information Management
  • Information Technology

Certificate subject areas offered, some with content fees:

  • IT–Essentials
  • IT–Networking
  • IT–Linux and Security
  • Medical Coding Specialist
  • Medical Scribe Specialist

Program OverviewAbout Degree ProgramsCourse Flyer

To get started, click the get started link below, or call (888) 590-9009.

Get Started

Free Online Bachelor’s Degree Program

The PEF MBP Free College Benefit offers a free bachelor’s degree available through accredited colleges—Central State University and Paul Quinn College. You must have earned an associate degree or have earned 45 or more credits in the chosen field of study, to be eligible to participate in courses through Central State University and Paul Quinn College.

To determine if you are eligible for this program and the Student Success Grant, you must complete the application process and submit the necessary supporting documents.

Bachelor’s degree subject areas:

  • Accounting
  • Business Administration
  • Business Management & Leadership
  • Communications
  • Criminal Justice
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Education Intervention Specialist
  • Education Studies
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Fundraising and Philanthropy
  • Health and Wellness
  • History
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Legal Studies
  • Liberal Arts-General
  • Math 
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Religious Studies
  • Social Science

Bachelor’s Degree Programs By College

Central State University Bachelor Program Overview Paul Quinn College Bachelor Program Overview

Learn More About These Programs

Visit the PEF MBP Free and Low-Cost Degree Program promotional website to learn more about this exciting opportunity for you and your family members, including:

  • FAQs about the benefit, step-by-step process, and class starts.
  • Using the “Get Started” link (specific to each program) to get you started with this great education opportunity. You will need to have your PEF Membership Identification Number (MIN) handy to access the “Get Started” information and process.
  • How to register or sign in to apply.
  • For the associate degree or certificate, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submit any required verification. Any grant award must be applied to tuition, fees, and e-book charges.
    • Agree to use any employer-provided educational assistance.
    • Verify high school or GED completion by having official transcripts sent to Eastern Gateway Community College.
  • For the bachelor’s degree, applicants who have earned an associate degree or have earned 45 or more credits in the chosen field of study can apply to participate in online courses available through Central State University and Paul Quinn College. All required documents must be submitted to be considered.
View all programs

About The Partnering Colleges

Eastern Gateway Community College (EGCC): One of the fastest growing community colleges in the country. It is a public, open-access college and part of the University System of Ohio, governed by the Ohio Department of Higher Education, and regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, the accreditor of most public and private institutions in the Midwest. EGCC is a national Achieving the Dream College, an American Association of Community Colleges School of Excellence, and is recognized nationally for its efforts to prepare a diverse student population for career services.

Central State University (CSU): Located in Wilberforce, OH, is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges, an institution accrediting agency recognized by the the U.S. Dept. of Education. This federally recognized body provides assurance to students, parents, and all stakeholders that CSU meets clear quality standards for educational and financial performance. CSU’s Business Program is also accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Education Preparation, and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs recognizes CSU’s Business Management Program.

Paul Quinn College: One of the most innovative colleges in America, is a private, four-year, liberal arts-inspired historically Black college (HBCU) that was founded on April 4, 1872, by a group of African Methodist Episcopal Church preachers in Austin, Texas, with the original purpose to educate freed slaves and their families. Paul Quinn College is accredited by the Transnational Associate of Christian Colleges and Schools (TACCS). Today, Paul Quinn has become a model for higher education by focusing on academic rigor, experiential learning, and entrepreneurship. Paul Quinn College is a national leader in its efforts to remake higher education in order to serve the needs of under-resources students and communities.


Take advantage of the PEF MBP Free College Benefit and put a college degree within your reach!