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No Tuition Hike in Fall For Feds Pursuing Online Higher Ed Benefit

Enrollees in the truED program pay between $250 and $597 per month for a range of offerings from Champlain College.

Federal employees pursuing online degrees through a partnership with Champlain College will not see their tuition increase when the school switches to a different payment model in the fall.

Starting in the 2016 fall semester, participants in the truEd program, will pay per credit rather than a monthly subscription, according to information on the program’s website.

“There will be no tuition increase for federal employees, their spouses or their legal adult dependents,” the site said, referring to the 2016-2017 school year which runs from the fall through the summer.

Enrollees in the truED program, a partnership between the Office of Personnel Management and Champlain’s online continuing professional studies division, currently pay between $250 and $597 per month, depending on how many credits they take and which programs they choose.

The change, according to Champlain, will give truED students more flexibility with their payment and course scheduling, as well as “clearer documentation for your employer tuition reimbursement programs,” and “more expeditious processing of certifying for VA benefits” at the Burlington, Vt.-based college, the website said.

The truED program, launched in April 2015, offers feds, their spouses and adult dependent children access to more than 60 certification, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in various areas, including cybersecurity, digital forensics, health care administration, business administration, and human resources management. Enrollees in the program can receive up to 70 percent off regular tuition rates through the arrangement. There are no eligibility restrictions, but feds and family members must meet admissions requirements, apply, and be accepted into the degree or certificate program before matriculating.

The program estimated tuition savings of roughly $5.4 million among its enrollees to date.

In January, the truED program announced a new online offering for feds and their family members – a master’s degree in information security operations. Champlain is known for its strong cybersecurity curriculum and is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency, Homeland Security Department and Air Force.

OPM and Champlain in late April celebrated the one-year anniversary of their partnership, designed in part to help eliminate skills gaps in mission-critical jobs in the federal government. To date, truED has 1,763 students, which includes feds, their spouses and dependents. Enrollees have taken nearly 3,500 courses through the program so far.

“Our agreements with higher education organizations like Champlain College help to strengthen the federal workforce and build on our ability to be a model employer,” said Beth Cobert, acting OPM director, during an April 27 event to mark the one-year milestone and share updates. “Partnerships like this also help to close skills-gaps in areas such as cybersecurity, human resources, leadership, and more.

The most popular programs among truED enrollees include the bachelor’s degree offering in business management; the master’s degree in business administration; and master of science in executive leadership. The top five agencies with the most truED students are: the Social Security Administration; Internal Revenue Service; Homeland Security; Defense Department; and Customs and Border Protection (part of DHS).

“We are excited for Champlain to play a significant role in the continuing education of today’s federal workforce and the cultivation of the next generation of public service men and women,” said Donald J. Laackman, president of Champlain. “We are thrilled at the continued momentum of the truED alliance and look forward to growing the relationship.”

The college will host a webinar May 10 for those interested in learning more about truED. The next application deadline is June 3.