Federal agencies strive to reduce skill gaps in the workforce by encouraging federal employees to return to college for agency-specific training or career development opportunities. Going back to college is an important decision for a federal employee, but too often, finances thwart a dream of higher education—even if a degree will earn a promotion or higher salary.
Today, federal employees can enjoy a variety of discounts on college tuitions in accredited colleges across the country.
Champlain College—70% off Tuition
A new program (as of April 2015) allows federal employees to enjoy up to 70% off regular tuition rates at Champlain College in Burlington, VT. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has partnered with Champlain to bring federal employees and their spouses lowered tuition rates for online courses. The OPM hopes to attract new talent through its comprehensive education discounts offerings and fix the skill gap the current federal workforce faces.
Federal employees, their spouses, and their adult dependent children can pursue college degrees online from Champlain at a steep discount. The discount applies to over 60 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in various subjects, including health care administration, human resources, and cybersecurity. Employees can also make monthly tuition payments instead of paying tuition in lump sums.
Champlain College offers online webinars that discuss its federal employee program (called the truED model) and gives employees instructions on how to complete the application. These webinars continue throughout the summer and provide details about the highly popular discounted tuition rates. You can jumpstart your application, since the admission outreach manager leads many webinars, or simply listen for some Q&As.
University of Maryland University College—25% off Tuition
University of Maryland University College offers a FED program that gives federal employees, their spouses, and their dependents a 25% discount on out-of-state tuition in over 80 undergraduate and graduation degree programs. UMUC enables employees to transfer credits from prior education as well as military experience and waives the $50 application fee. This discount applies to online and in-person courses.
Course subjects in the FED program include information technology, health care administration, public safety, and business degrees. The only programs UMUC does not offer at a discounted rate are certificate programs, executive programs, doctoral programs, MBA programs, MS in Data Analytics, MS in Digital Forensics and Cyber Investigation, and graduate cybersecurity degrees. Students will have access to nearly all programs completely online as well as many hybrid class options for those in the Washington D.C. area.
UMUC has flexible credit transfer options for federal employees, including credits from community colleges. The credits federal employees earn in the FED program don’t expire at the undergraduate level, giving these students more time to complete an undergraduate degree. UMUC gives students seven consecutive years to complete certificate and graduate degrees. In-state students can’t receive the 25% federal employee discount, but UMUC assures these students that they’re already getting the lowest possible tuition rate.
Excelsior College—20% off Tuition
The OPM supports federal employee career development and wishes to build the federal workforce. As the OPM continues its efforts to close skills gaps and attract new talent to make the federal workforce stronger, a partnership with Excelsior will encourage more federal employees to go back to college.
As of May 2016, online Excelsior College formed a new partnership with the OPM to bring lowered tuition rates to federal employees. Excelsior now offers a 20% discount on tuition to federal employees and their spouses or domestic partners for a bachelor’s degree and a 15% tuition discount for a master’s degree. The discounts apply to all undergraduate and graduate programs at Excelsior College.
Excelsior’s “FEDucation” program is specifically designed for working adults in the federal workforce and enables employees to balance their jobs with their educations. You can take online courses at Excelsior virtually anywhere and at times that fit your schedule. Excelsior also offers more than 20 financial aid scholarships.
Excelsior College Credits
Soon, federal employees can receive college credits for on-the-job training they’ve already completed. Online Excelsior College has teamed up with the OPM to offer deals federal employees have not received from any other college as of today. Excelsior accepts credits from many different colleges for previous courses taken, includes training programs in its credit count, and enables federal agencies to tailor academic tracks for employees at accredited colleges.
Faculty experts at Excelsior will examine federal employee training programs to ensure they meet the required expectations. Then, they’ll assign the on-the-job training a credit value for the prospective student. Excelsior combines these credit values with credits from prior courses and gives new students a full transcript so they know where they stand in college. For many federal employees, not having to “start over” at college is a major benefit.
Central Michigan University—15% off Tuition
Since May 2016, Central Michigan University has partnered with the OPM to offer federal employees and their families a 15% tuition break for more than 30 academic programs for certificate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. These programs focus on federal agency occupations and skills and allow employees to boost their careers. Subject focuses include engineering management, acquisitions, human resources, and cybersecurity.
CMU will also allow federal employees to turn their life and work experiences into credits. New students don’t have to start from the beginning. Students can choose condensed academic programs that take only eight weeks to complete. CMU Global Campus has 40 locations in the United States and Canada. Twenty of these are on military bases.
Federal Employee Scholarships
While not exactly a discount, it’s important to mention that the Federal Employee Education & Assistance Fund (FEEA) sponsors merit-based scholarship opportunities exclusively for federal employees and their families. From January to March every year, federal employees interested in earning a scholarship can apply for the chance to win $500 to $2,500 toward tuition. Two additional awards are the $5,000 FEEA-NTEU Scholarship and money from the Cooke Memorial Scholarship.
If you’re a federal employee who wants to return to college, take advantage of the many opportunities the OPM gives people just like you. The OPM’s partnerships with colleges around the globe helps federal agencies and employees by diminishing skill gaps and providing employees the chance to advance their careers.