“Free College” for you and your family with your APA membership!

Today, college affordability is on everyone’s mind.  In fact, studies show that only half of Americans who begin college will be able to finish – largely due to financial, work and life barriers.  However, APA and MEA can provide you, and your family, with a new educational opportunity.  You and your family can now take classes at Eastern Gateway Community College (EGCC) for free!  Yes, “Free College!”


We have partnered with Ohio’s Eastern Gateway Community College to offer our members a life changing benefit.  As a member of the APA, you and members of your family will be able to obtain an Associate’s degree online, with ZERO out of pocket costs in the following different areas of study:

  • Business Management with concentrations in Human Resources, Healthcare Management, Marketing and Finance;
  • Accounting;
  • Patient Home Navigator Certificate;
  • Associate of Arts;
  • Criminal Justice;
  • Paralegal;
  • Early Childhood Education;
  • Or Individualized Study.


Regardless of location, EGCC is one of the fastest growing community colleges in the country and is regionally accredited and regulated by the Ohio Department of Education.  Credits earned at EGCC can be transferred to other institutions across the country and the staff at the college is committed to helping students determine the right course of study that will help them continue their work at a college closer to their home.


This benefit works as a “last-dollar scholarship”, or grant, through Eastern Gateway Community College that is intended to fill the gap between any federal, state or employer education grants you receive and the cost of tuition, fees and e-books for certain online degree programs at Eastern Gateway Community College.  You must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and any grant award must be applied to the tuition, fees and e-book charges at EGCC.


Remember that “Free College” is available to you as an APA member, as well as your spouse, domestic partner, children, grandchildren and other financial dependents.  So, even if  you are not looking to take a class, talk to your family about this exciting program!  You can register for Spring 2 Session until March 16, 2018.


For more information on this benefit, visit “Free College Benefit” at MEA.  For detailed program information from EGCC, please visit the website at: www.egcc.edu.


If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to ask for assistance by contacting the MSU APA office at (517) 999-4004 or email msuapa@msu.edu.


Know Your Contract

Family Medical Leave Act, FMLA

In general, most members will take FMLA for a serious health condition or to care for a family member with a serious health condition; however, FMLA covers more than illness.  


All members who have worked at MSU for 12 months, and have at least 1,250 hours in those 12 months, are eligible for FMLA protection.  FMLA is extended for the following qualifying situations:

  • The member’s serious health condition;
  • To care for a spouse, including domestic partners, dependent child, or parent with a serious health condition;
  • For birth of a child, including prenatal doctor visits as well as caring for the newborn child, anytime within the first twelve months of the birth of the baby;
  • For placement of a child for adoption or foster care with the employee anytime within the first twelve months of the placement of the child;
  • Because a qualifying exigency arises, and a spouse, child or parent, who is a covered military member and is on active duty or has been notified of an impending call to active duty status is being deployed for a contingency operation in a foreign country;
  • To care for a service member (spouse, child, parent or next of kin) who is currently serving, or who is on the temporary disability retired list, with a serious injury or illness incurred in the line of duty on active duty for which he or she is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy.


Members may apply for FMLA leave for conditions requiring time off intermittently, continuously, or on a reduced schedule.  If you know you will require FMLA, you need to provide 30 days advance notice; however, if the leave is not foreseeable, notice must be give as soon as practicable.


When considering using FMLA, you may use any sick or vacation hours that you have accrued in EBS so that you can continue to be paid during your leave (per the APA Contract).  If you don’t have enough paid leave hours, you may take unpaid leave for up to 12 weeks under FMLA.  If you have FMLA time available, your insurance will be maintained by MSU at no cost to you.  Depending on your FMLA needs, leave accruals will vary.


You can review MSU’s FMLA Policy and request FMLA forms by contacting MSU Human Resources at 517-353-4434 or SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu.  


It is important to note that once you request FMLA paperwork, MSU HR will notify your department and supervisor that you have requested FMLA paperwork.  If you would like to review FMLA paperwork without notification to your department and supervisor, you may request the paperwork from APA by contacting the MSU APA office at (517) 999-4004 or email msuapa@msu.edu.

Once your FMLA paperwork has been approved, your supervisor and department will be notified that you have been approved for an FMLA absence – not the specific reason for your FMLA absence.   


To review Article 24 – Sick Leave, or any other APA contractual provision, go to:


If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to ask for assistance by contacting the MSU APA office at (517) 999-4004 or email msuapa@msu.edu.

The APA needs you…

For our Area Representative (AR) program.

We are starting a new series of AR training classes in March and invite you to join the program. Our goal is to have an AR in every building where we have members and it offers an opportunity to be more involved in the union.

Due to AR’s moving to different positions we are in need of new AR’s in the Vet Med Center, Plant and Soil Science, Clinical Center, University Services and Comm Arts. If you are located in one of these buildings, we would ask that you consider joining the next training group.


For more information, please contact Dennis Seybert at seybert@msu.edu.

Meet a Fellow APA Member

Meet Britany Benson, our highlighted APA member.


What is your job title?

Public Engagement Coordinator.


How long have you been at MSU?

I first stepped onto campus almost nine years ago when I started my undergraduate studies.

Have you been a member of the APA the whole time?

I began working full-time as an on-call/temp in 2013 and that position changed to an APA position in 2014.


What department do you work in, and can you tell me a little about what you do?

I work at the Broad Art Museum, MSU’s contemporary art museum. Our exhibitions rotate several times a year and feature the museum’s collection along with art from around the globe.  My main responsibilities involve working closely with internal departments, clients, and outside groups. I help to plan, execute, and manage on-site facility rentals and museum programs. Additionally, as a member of the operations department, I assist with the management of daily museum operations and student workers.


What brought you to your job at MSU?

I started working at the museum over five years ago during my senior year of undergrad. As an art history and museum studies student, I found the museum was a great fit. Thankfully, I was able to stay on board and expand my role after graduating.


What do you love about working at MSU?

I love that MSU is such a large university. I appreciate that my role at the museum allows me to interact with other campus departments, visiting scholars, and students. I enjoy working in an environment where new things are always happening, but some traditions stay true year-to-year.


What do you like to do when you are not at work?

When I am not working, I like traveling near and far. You can often find me attending a concert or sporting event, or visiting a cultural institution. Currently, I am also completing a graduate program at Grand Valley in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership.

MEA Scholarship

If you have a dependent who will be attending college (not necessarily MSU) in fall 2018 (could be a freshman or upper classman) or pursuing vocational training at an institution that grants a degree, certification or license, they are eligible to apply for a scholarship.   Nice thing about this scholarship it is not just for one year, but may be offered on a renewal basis for up to four times.   

The deadline to apply is February 22.  For more details go to https://www.mea.org/mea-scholarship/.  

Federal Attack on Student Loan Forgiveness and Proposed Free Community College

Portions of this article are reproduced from NEA’s Legislative Action Center

The original goal of the Higher Education Act was to ensure that every American has access to higher education, regardless of income or zip code. Disinvestment in higher education after the Great Recession halted progress toward that goal. In the 2016-17 school year, states invested $9 billion less in public colleges and universities than they did in 2008 (after adjusting for inflation), according to the independent Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Students and families — not public dollars — now fund the bulk of core educational expenses. At the same time, educational support services have shrunk, making it difficult for students to make appropriate choices among programs and degrees, complete coursework in a timely way, and navigate challenges to college completion.

Recently, the GOP’s proposed rewrite of the law, the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act (H.R. 4508), would eliminate loan-forgiveness for public service, capping student loans, and relaxing oversight of for-profit schools with a history of exploiting at-risk students.

The loan-forgiveness program is used widely by APA members as we have been fighting to preserve it. NEA, our national affiliate, is currently utilizing our unions relationships with congressional offices to amend or defeat the PROSPER Act in its current form.

Additionally, the College for All Act (S. 806/H.R. H.R. 1880), introduced in April 2017 by Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), would make community college free and eliminate tuition and fees at four-year public colleges and universities for students from families earning less than $125,000 a year — about 80 percent of the population. The bill also cuts student loan interest rates in half and would allow student loans to be refinanced when interest rates drop.


Area Representative (AR) Spotlight – Cindy Helms

What is your job title?

Administrative Assistant


What department do you work in, what area of campus and building?

I work for University Outreach and Engagement, on the west side of campus, housed in the Kellogg Center.


How long have you been at MSU?

20 years


How long have you been an Area Rep?

5 years


Why is being a member of the Administrative Professional Association important to you?

Being a part of the Union means being part of history, past and present.  I cannot imagine what life would be If it were not for Unions.  One person alone cannot accomplish what the Union can accomplish.  For people who think Unions are not necessary, they need to research why Unions were started https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangle_Shirtwaist_Factory_fire


What words of advice do you have for the new hires at MSU?

New hires, or people who have been here for years, need to get involved to keep the benefits we have.  They need to go to community lunches and ask questions.  They need to go to the More You Know sessions for new information you will not get at orientation.  If you are new at MSU and have questions regarding your rights or your benefits, reach out to your Area Representative.  If they do not have the answer to your question, they will guide you who to call.  Go to the Administrative Professional Association website http://www.msuapa.org/  


What do you love about working at MSU?

I love meeting new people and working with people that are like family.  Every day is a chance to learn.  So much is going on here at MSU all the time.  There is so much diversity and the opportunity to learn about different cultures.  I would not have that opportunity if not for working at MSU.  MSU touches everyone in the state of Michigan and the world through research, teaching, and partnering with communities.  Before coming to work at MSU I had no idea how involved the University was around the world and the state.


What do you like to do when you are not at work?

I love being with my family.  We all love camping and boating.  My grandchildren are always doing something.  We do a lot of traveling for their activities.  Any time I have the opportunity to travel, I will.  I love working outside in my yard and flower gardens.  The busier I am, the better I feel.


The AR’s are appointed by the Executive Board and their role is to assist with distributing APA materials and information and to serve as a resource for members. AR’s are assigned to a geographic area of campus, so if there is not an AR in your immediate building, you can find one nearby. For a list of AR’s go to http://www.msuapa.org/about/area-representatives-2/


How many players can MSU baseball coach Jake Boss, Jr. have out on the field at one time when the other team is up to bat?  

Email your answer to Sue Brandt at brandts@msu.edu by February 9, 2018.  Limit of one guess per person.  Two members* who correctly answer the trivia question will be randomly drawn to win various prizes.  Winners will be announced in the next newsletter.

Congratulations to last month’s winners randomly drawn from those who answered correctly:  

Geneva Christofferson – $50 Spartan Cash

Shawn Moloney – Game Day Cookies from MSU Bakers  

Last month’s question: How many medical schools does MSU have?  
Answer:   3
In case you’re wondering: College of Human Medicine, College of Osteopathic Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine

* Must be an APA member in good standing to win.

Board Members, Area Representatives and Communications Committee Members are not eligible to win.