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EGCC board extends tuition waiver

STEUBENVILLE — Eastern Gateway Community College’s Board of Trustees voted Thursday to extend the college’s tuition waiver for this summer and fall for its four-county service district. The Gateway Guarantee, which is subject to approval by the Ohio Department of Higher Education, will be supported by federal efforts to remove financial barriers for students seeking degrees.

“Community colleges are an economic lifeline to working families during times of economic uncertainty, and our local, state and national economies continue to face challenges from the COVID-19 global pandemic,” said Michael Geoghegan, president of the school. “We will continue to use the grants and financial aid available to create a model for students to get the degrees they need to be competitive in the job market without incurring debt.”

Residents of the school’s four-county service district, including Jefferson, Columbiana, Trumbull and Mahoning counties, have proven especially vulnerable to the effects of national and state economic decline, industrial closures, the 2009 recession and most recently, COVID-19 disruptions. In the most recent state unemployment rankings, all four of the service district counties have unemployment rates of approximately 10 percent or above, with Trumbull, Mahoning, and Jefferson counties ranking among the top 10 counties in Ohio with the highest unemployment rates.

“The board believes that increasing the higher educational attainment rate in our community will help ensure that the region’s economy will become stronger and more resilient in the future,” said Jim Gaisor, trustee chair.

“We have invested significantly in technology and programs to ensure we have the right infrastructure in place, and we will always look for ways to remove financial barriers in higher education for those we serve.”

To cover the cost of the tuition assistance portion of the guarantee program, the board authorizes the college president to request tuition waivers from the chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education.

To be eligible for the guarantee, students in the service district must have completed the 2020-21 and 2021-22 Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Additional FAFSA documentation may be necessary, and students must also complete and submit an EGCC online application to be eligible. Applications are available now for both semesters.

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