Higher Education Programs

What You Need to Know

As a Rhode Island Laborers’ District Council member, you, your spouse, and your children have access to free Associate of Arts and Bachelor of Arts college degree programs, free education certificate programs to help you and your family learn valuable job skills, and education scholarship programs.

Union Plus Programs

Union Plus Free College Benefit

In partnership with Eastern Gateway Community College (EGCC), the Union Plus Free College Benefit offers “last-dollar scholarships” for tuition, fees, and e-books for certain online programs at EGCC. The scholarships are designed to fill the gap between any federal, state, and employer education grants you receive and your education costs.

Earn an associate degree—completely online, for FREE! Even if you don’t qualify for student financial aid, the Union Plus Free College Benefit will be applied to your balance for tuition, fees, and e-books.

Degrees and Certificate Programs from Eastern Gateway Community College

EGCC is a fully accredited, public education institution that’s part of the University System of Ohio. The program offers associate degree and certificate programs, and credits can be transferred to a four-year college.

Associate degree programs from EGCC include study in the following areas:

  • Accounting
  • Associate of Arts
  • Business Management (with optional certificate programs in Advertising; Cyber Security; Data Science; Digital and Social Media; Entrepreneurship; Environmental and Conservation Studies; Finance; Hospitality (Food and Beverage Management or Hotel and Event Management); Human Resources; Information Systems/IT Help Desk; Labor Studies; Marketing; Programming and Development
  • Criminal Justice
  • Teacher Education (Associate of Arts)
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Health Services
  • Individualized Study
  • Paralegal
  • Professional Office Management
  • Social Work

Certificate programs from EGCC include study in the following areas:

  • Business Management, with an optional concentration in Accounting
  • Patient Navigator

Classes start every eight weeks, and they’re online, so they’ll fit into your schedule more conveniently. You can attend full time or take as little as one class per term. And, advising and tutoring are available to support you in your studies.

Union Plus Bachelor’s Degree Completion Program
Union Plus can help you earn a bachelor’s degree, with no out-of-pocket cost for tuition, fees, or e-books! You can enroll full time or part time. Continuous enrollment from semester to semester is required.

You’ll need to apply for federal financial aid and use any grants to pay tuition before program benefits begin. You must also use any employer-sponsored tuition assistance before program benefits begin.

Bachelor’s Degrees Offered

The schools at which you can study online include Paul Quinn College in Dallas, Texas; Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio; and Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio.

The following bachelor’s degree programs are available:

  • Accounting
  • Business Administration
  • Business Management & Leadership
  • Communications
  • Criminal Justice
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Education Intervention Specialist
  • Education Studies
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Fundraising and Philanthropy
  • Health and Wellness (coming in summer 2022)
  • History
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Legal Studies
  • Liberal Arts-General
  • Math (coming in summer 2022)
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Religious Studies
  • Social Science

All courses are conducted online, and you can take one or more courses. Each course is offered in eight-week and 16-week formats. Partner schools will accept as many credits as possible that you’ve earned elsewhere.

Union Plus Scholarships

Since 1991, the Union Plus Scholarship Program has awarded more than $5 million to students of working families who want to begin or continue their post-high school education. In 2021, 199 union members and union family members were awarded $250,000 in Union Plus scholarships ranging from $500 to $4,000.

You, your spouse, and your dependent children are eligible to apply for a Union Plus scholarship. You must have at least one year of continuous union membership for you, your spouse, or your dependent to apply.

The scholarship is competitive, and applicants are evaluated according to academic ability, social awareness, financial need, and appreciation of labor.

Want Details?

Visit the Rhode Island Laborers’ District Council Free College Benefit website or call 888-590-9009.

Arthur E. Coia Scholarship

In 1989, the Arthur E. Coia Scholarship and Education Fund was established by the late Arthur E. Coia, General Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus of the Laborers’ International Union of North America. The Fund’s mission is to award education scholarships to the children of New England Laborers’ members who demonstrate academic excellence and financial need.

Over the past 30 years, the Fund has awarded over $3 million in scholarships, aiding over 550 children of union members as they work to reach their higher education goals.

Want Details?

Visit the Arthur E. Coia Scholarship and Education Fund online or call 401-521-3660.

Armand E. Sabitoni/New England Laborers’ Scholarship Award

In 2013, the Armand E. Sabitoni/New England Laborers’ Scholarship Award was established for La Salle Academy students who are the children of Rhode Island labor union members, to help them reach their academic goals and pursue a higher education degree.

Students attending La Salle Academy whose parent is a member in good standing in the Laborers’ International Union of North America or any other building trades union (AFL-CIO) can apply.

Since its inception, the Scholarship Award has aided more than 30 students and their families with over $66,000 toward their pursuit of higher education.

Want Details?

To learn more, call La Salle Academy: 401-351-7750.


Contact the applicable program.

Union Plus Free College Benefit
Union Plus Bachelor’s Degree Completion Program
Union Plus Scholarships
Rhode Island Laborers’ District Council

Arthur E. Coia Scholarship
Arthur E. Coia Scholarship and Education Fund

Armand E. Sabitoni New England Laborers’ Scholarship Award
La Salle Academy