Union Plus
Member Stories

AFT member’s daughter launches career thanks to Free College

Christine Jones had tried college before, but between the tuition, cost of books, and gas to and from class, it just got to be too expensive.

AFT member’s daughter launches career thanks to Free College


"Even with student loans or financial aid, it’s still a lot of money to pay out of pocket," she says.

Jones’ mom, Marsha Roland, is a member of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and has spent nearly 20 years as a special education teacher.

When Roland heard about the Union Plus Free College Benefit, she immediately told her daughter, who was recovering from career setbacks due to Hurricane Harvey.

Through an academic partnership with Eastern Gateway Community College (EGCC), the Union Plus Free College benefit enables union members, and their families, to earn an associate degree online, with no out-of-pocket cost.

An EGCC academic advisor helped Jones determine which of her prior community college credits would transfer toward her degree. "It was pretty easy, and I didn’t have to start all the way over," she says.

Jones graduated in June 2021 with an associate degree in Business Management, which she hopes to use to help advise others starting or growing their own businesses – knowledge she’s already using on her own lash extension business.

Jones encourages union members and their family to look into the Union Plus Free College program.

"I’d recommend this for anyone who wants to get an education and doesn't want to deal with the stress of paying for classes and books," Jones says. “You need to look into this because it's a good opportunity.”

Free College

The Free College Benefit helps union families continue their college education without piling on thousands of dollars in student debt.

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