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Education Public Policy Leadership FAQs

Common questions about the Education Public Policy Leadership Certificate are below. If you have questions that are not addressed here, please send a message to Dr. Dwan Robinson, program coordinator, at epplc@ohio.edu.

What is the online Education Public Policy Leadership Certificate (EPPLC) Program?

The EPPLC is an online 12-credit hour graduate certificate program designed to expose participants to real-world theoretical and practical instruction and experiences in education public policy leadership studies. The program will last one year and will offer seven online 1 – 2 credit hour courses that will last five weeks each. The EPPLC will provide opportunities for online coursework and inquiry in education public policy. The one-year program experience will also include a face-to-face networking residency and capstone presentation experience that will enable participants to interface with their peers and key professionals in the public policy arena. OHIO faculty will deliver engaging course sessions with guest lectures from practitioners and leaders in varied aspects of public policy.

What type of professionals would benefit from the EPPLC program?

Individuals who work or aspire to work in positions involving K-12 education, higher education, legislative affairs, school boards, educational professional organizations, non-governmental and civic organizations, foundations, think tanks focused on education issues, lobbying, etc.

How long is the EPPLC program and how many courses are required?

To successfully complete this certificate, participants are required to complete eight (8) online courses over the course of one year and the residency in Washington, D.C.

The inaugural cohort ran from January to December 2019, Cohort 2 will begin in January 2021. With every cohort, one year of online study will culminate in a three-day face-to-face networking residency in Washington, D.C.


How many courses are offered each semester and what is the sequencing?

A total of two to three courses are offered each semester and each course will run consecutively for five weeks apiece. The next cohort begins online study on January 11, 2021, and continues through December 2021 (applications are accepted now). There are three (3) courses in the first two terms and the final semester includes two (2) courses, including the networking residency in Washington, D.C.

Can we pick and choose courses?

This program is designed to build from one course to the next. Therefore, participants will be required to take all courses in sequence and will not be able to pick and choose courses.

What is the cost for the online EPPLC program?

For the 2019-20 academic year, the cost for the online EPPLC program is approximately $600/credit hour for Ohio residents. Out-of-state students have a $19/credit hour surcharge. Find full details of the tuition and fees on the Bursar's website (PDF).

Please note: The amounts outlined on the Office of the Bursar website do not include the cost of the culminating capstone residency experience in Washington, D.C. Participants will be required to cover their travel expenses for the three-day capstone residency experience in Washington, D.C.

When will the fees be due?

Participants will receive a term bill following registration each semester. However, it is possible to pay in one lump sum or to make monthly payments using the university's monthly payment plan. Students can access specific billing questions at the Office of the Bursar website: www.ohio.edu/bursar or contact them via email to bursar@ohio.edu.

Can I apply financial aid to this certificate?

This certificate is not eligible for federal financial aid. However, some employers offer tuition reimbursement, other scholarships, and professional development funds that can be used to cover the costs of the certificate program. Be sure to check with your employer's human resources office (Ohio University employees can apply the university's Employee Education Benefit to this certificate).

Another potential resource may be seeking funding from professional organizations for your field, as sometimes those organizations make scholarship funds available. 

The Ohio University Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships external scholarships web pages can be a good starting point to look for additional support. Please read the application requirements carefully as not all of the programs listed there will be available for graduate study. The US News article "How to Find Free Money for Graduate School" may be a helpful resource as well.  

Finally, there are loan options that can become available to non-degree students if employer reimbursement is not available. OHIO uses a tool called FastChoice that provides a list of institutions our students have used recently and that allows a student to search for loan options based on their circumstances. Once inside FastChoice, a student is able to filter loans by those that are available to graduate students in a non-degree seeking program.

Please contact the Office of Student Financial Aid for more information and to determine what options are best for you.

What is the three-day EPPLC residency in Washington D.C.?

The three-day residency is the face-to-face culminating experience for certificate participants and will take place in Washington, D.C. During the residency, the EPPLC scholars have the opportunity to interface with their cohort members, meet with and learn from practicing policymaking professionals at all levels, and meet face to face with members of Congress and/or their staff to engage in hands-on advocacy for the policy of their choosing. Read about the inaugural cohort’s Washington, D.C., residency here.

What are the dates for the next EPPLC networking residency in Washington, D.C.?

The networking residency will take place December 5-8, 2021. All dates had to be adjusted due to delays caused by COVID-19.

The pandemic has created a great deal of uncertainty surrounding all travel plans. We recognize this and we will be flexible and make adjustments to our D.C. experience as needed to keep our students safe and healthy. No matter the final form, the residency will be an enriching experience that gives our students a thorough understanding of the workings of Congress and other policy actors coupled with opportunities to participate in the policy process.

Who are the certificate's faculty?

OHIO faculty will deliver engaging course sessions with guest lectures from practitioners and leaders in varied aspects of public policy. Faculty include:

  • Dr. Dwan Robinson, program coordinator and chair of The Patton College's Department of Educational Studies
  • Dr. Marsha Lewis, associate professor and senior associate dean of the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs
  • Dr. Jason Jolley, professor of rural economic development and Master’s of Public Administration (MPA) director at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs 
  • Dr. Linda Trautman, associate professor of political science at Ohio University’s Lancaster Campus.
What are the benefits of participating in the EPPLC program?

Experiential learning! Participants will gain a hands-on understanding of the education policy-making process including education public policy development, analysis, implementation, evaluation, and advocacy. Participants will be equipped with knowledge and skills that will increase their employability in the public policy arena, and will have the opportunity to make connections on the ground in Washington, D.C. as they will meet and interact with public policy professionals, including working lobbyists, scholars, legislative staff, and legislators.

What are the requirements for admission/participation in the EPPLC program?

Admission requirements include the following: Bachelor’s degree (be prepared to provide undergraduate transcript(s)), curriculum vitae or resume, and a statement of purpose. The application is submitted online and all supporting materials are attached 

What is the deadline for applying to participate in the next cohort for the EPPLC program?

The deadline to apply is December 1, 2020.

If I am in another degree program at Ohio University, can I enroll in the EPPLC program?

The University does not allow students to be enrolled in multiple programs simultaneously. However, students are welcome to apply to the EPPLC following the completion of their current program of study.

What resources are needed to participate in the EPPLC program?

Participants will need access to a computer and the Internet to participate in the program. Students will also need to be prepared to participate in the face-to-face capstone residency experience.

How can this certification support professional growth and/or advancement?

Upon completion of this certificate, participants will have an understanding of the education policy-making process, including education public policy development, analysis, implementation, evaluation, and advocacy. Participants will be equipped with knowledge and skills that will increase their employability in the education public policy sphere.

EPPLC alumni said they gained:

  • Lots of information from extremely knowledgeable and talented policy makers
  • A much deeper understanding of the inner workings of Congress
  • Networking and relationship building
  • Practical experience to jumpstart my presence in the policy space
Why should I pursue this certificate?

Former Senator Trent Lott expressed it this way: "Public policy is a broad thing and understanding how public policy work and legislating and lobbying and the whole thing affects what you do—if educators don’t understand what goes on in [Washington, D.C.] or in your state capitals, you’ve got a problem... Being involved and giving time in this program will serve you well and will serve the institutions that you represent." 

In addition, the online coursework can serve as a solid launching point that can help you become acclimated to being a student again (if needed) and puts you on track to enter a degree-granting graduate program, be it for a master's or doctoral degree.