The Georgetown School of Continuing Studies finalized a partnership with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to provide scholarship benefits to current federal employees, the university announced in a press release Tuesday.
The scholarship benefits for federal civil servants applying to the SCS cover 10 percent of tuition costs each semester. Students using the program, called the OPM Federal Scholarship Alliance, can receive benefits for every semester during which they remain employed by the federal government.
In a statement provided to The Hoya, SCS Dean Kelly Otter said the collaboration will improve access for students and enrich the classroom academic environment.
“We are proud to expand and enhance the ability for qualified federal employees to access a world-class Georgetown education,” Otter said. “Federal employees bring a broad and rich perspective to the classroom which compliments the skills and knowledge of students working in other sectors. It is my hope that this agreement will expand educational opportunity for talented civil servants.”
According to the SCS website, the school was founded in 1970 and offers 17 Master of Professional Studies programs in areas including project management, technology management and global strategic communications. The school currently has a student body of about 2,200 students. Students can take classes at the school’s Washington, D.C. campus, and an expanding number of programs are offered online.
The partnership is the latest in a line of collaborations between the SCS and the federal government. In response to the 2013 federal government furlough, the school offered free courses to affected federal employees and contractors, and also trained and assisted outgoing executive branch staffers with future career plans during the 2016 presidential transition.
SCS Chief of Staff Kristen Consolo said the federal scholarship program is in keeping with the purpose of the school.
“We have a long history of trying to be cognizant of the needs of the workforce,” Consolo said. “This has kind of just grown out of that mentality that I think our school has had for its entire existence.”
Consolo said the timing of the program is not related to the recent transition of federal administrations, noting that the program had been in the works for nearly two years.
Though the focus of the program is on federal employees in the D.C. area, Consolo noted that the SCS has an expanding range of online programs that federal employees around the nation can use.
“More and more, how we offer more and more online programs is just going to make them more available to civil servants around the country,” SCS Manager of Communications Andrew Glass said. “The number going forward, it’s not going to just be in the D.C. area, it’s going to be in the states that we’re approved to operate in all around the country.”
Georgetown does not have any concrete prediction as to how many federal employees will enroll in the program, but several dozen current students may apply for a tuition reduction. About 7 percent of the 2,200-person student body works in public administration, a portion of which works in the federal government.
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