Robin Pratt drove a school bus through the hills of Vinton County for 25 years as she and her husband also ran an 85-acre farm with horses, goats, chickens and Great Pyrenees dogs, which they breed.
Four years ago, Robin took on an additional task – earning a degree in Health Information Management (HIM) from Eastern Gateway Community College through the OAPSE Higher Education Program.
This month, Robin’s four years of hard work and serious time management paid off when she earned her HIM degree and qualified to take her certification test. And even better news, according to Robin, is that she did it for FREE through her member-only union benefit. That benefit meant her daughter was eligible for the same program, and completed the same degree – cost free – as her mom. Together, they saved as much as $80,000 in tuition costs.
“It was wonderful to be able to do it together. We tried to take the same courses at the same time so we could help each other, and it worked out really well. Sometimes, she helped me with material, and sometimes I helped her,” Robin said.
Robin retired last fall so she could take her 56 hours of practicum – onsite experience and learning in her field of health care.
“It was hard, but I knew I couldn’t drive my bus and complete this last piece of my degree. I will miss my friends and the students, but I made the right decision for my family.”
Robin’s husband was recently diagnosed with a health condition, and she knows being able to use her new degree and work from home will be a big help as they tackle his symptoms and treatment.
“I’m ready to start this new chapter in my life. My union benefits enabled me to get a degree for free, and now I’m going to use that degree to do meaningful work and still be able to be home with my husband. I’m so thankful to OAPSE for the free college program. It’s changed my life.”
The member-only Higher Education Program (HEP) can change your life, too! Below is information about the program and how to get started. Enroll today! Classes for the fall start on August 17.
OAPSE Higher Education Program
Pursue Your Degree Online For Free
While we all face new challenges in these extraordinary times, your pathway to advancement or a career change is still open with the OAPSE Higher Education Program. Investing time in your education now can help you move toward an even more meaningful future.
With HEP, you now have more options! You can work toward an associate degree or certificate, or a bachelor degree completely online, for FREE.
Our education partners are public, regionally accredited colleges right here in Ohio, so credits you earn are transferable. Full and part-time options are designed for working adults.
Just getting started in higher education or want to study a new area? Learn more about our partnership with Eastern Gateway Community College (EGCC). Offering programs in Business Management, IT, Healthcare and more.
Link to BachelorsDegree.AFSCME.org
Through our partnership with Central State University, our members and their families can enroll in the Bachelor Degree completion programs in Teacher Education, Criminal Justice and Business Administration. Students must have an Associate Degree or more than 60 transferable credits into the program of their choice in order to enroll. Students needing to earn pre-requisite credits can do so through EGCC.
Unemployed, furloughed or laid off union members and their families are
Get started today! Have questions? CALL (888)590-9009