Free College Spotlight: "Making Time for Me"

Posted Jul. 14, 2021 by

Paula Quackenbush is a mom of three and has worked for the Ohio Attorney General’s for the last 11 years. She first worked at the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy for ten years and then at the Bureau of Criminal investigation for a year. Now she’s back at the training academy in a different position and majoring in Criminal Justice at Eastern Gateway Community College. Eligible members, like Paula, who attend EGCC use their union-negotiated Union Education Trust (UET) benefit to pay part of the cost. While many state employee members have been eligible for UET since the beginning, AG bargaining unit employees only became eligible for UET through contract bargaining by their union team in 2015.

Read Paula's story below and then consider chasing your own dreams by going to and enrolling in Free College.

“First of can anyone turn down FREE education? I am a 46-year-old mother of three gorgeous kids that I adore and I have always put parenting first. I, like most parents, come last because I give 100 percent to my family. I found I spent years denying myself a college education because I felt that I wouldn’t have time, or the right concentration to do my absolute best in school. I thought that being a wife and a mother were my true calling and that I didn’t have time for me. But something was missing and I knew it.

As the years passed and the kids got older and didn’t need me near as much, I did a self-evaluation and decided to deny myself no longer. Going back to school after being out for 20+ years is nerve wracking but a reward to myself. I want to get as much additional education as I can and do the job that I have always wanted to do. I am so happy that I made the decision and refuse to turn back. I can see a very different future for myself now.

I find this benefit exceedingly valuable. Having this opportunity has been amazing and the support staff at EGCC is the absolute best!”

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