The National Fraternal Order of Police University (NFOPU) is a consortium of online universities that offer FOP members flexibility in their studies and often discounted tuition rates. Here, FOP members share their experiences attending NFOPU schools to earn their degrees.

“The quality of education that I have received [at Upper Iowa University] is outstanding. … All the professors that I have had have been great and easily accessible through the site, by email or by telephone. In the online discussion groups, students freely express their ideas and knowledge of the information being covered. Many bring their individual skills and apply them to the topic being studied.

“I was injured in 2007 and must now leave policing after 15 years. I will use the knowledge gained with the assistance of the NFOPU to begin a new chapter. The information learned as a result of my degree coupled with my police background will provide an invaluable asset as I begin the next chapter.”

— Donald Joswiak, Illinois Lodge 1

“Like most adult learners, I put my educational goals aside while life happened. [While] raising a family, working extra duty assignments and more, I convinced myself that completing my degree would be too expensive. The discounted tuition offered through NFOPU made obtaining a degree more affordable. I could no longer hide behind that excus e.

“The immediate and long-term, practical applications of the materials from each class I took allowed me to become [not only] an effective student, but also an effective leader in my law enforcement agency and my local, state and National FOP activities.

“After earning a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership in 2009, my goal is now to obtain my master’s in organizational leadership.”

— Patrick Yoes, National FOP Secretary

“Online students are able to flex their work schedules around their class schedules, so for a full-time employee of a police department this is a critical factor. Another interesting advantage is [that] I am working with classmates who are located in different areas of the country, including military personnel stationed overseas. Someone attending school in a traditional setting is not exposed to this level of diversity.

“The greatest challenge is the tremendous amount of writing and reading required for online assignments. I have found that the Upper Iowa instructors do an excellent job of balancing the workload between writing and participating in the active discussion rooms.

“My current responsibility with the police department entails planning special events and emergency evacuations. My public administration degree will allow me to be a more efficient and effective supervisor when planning future events.”

— Joseph Valiente, Louisiana Lodge 2

“I did not know what to think at first about Upper Iowa University, but it did not take me long to realize that they don’t only hire professors that have advanced degrees; they hire professors that have worked in the field that they are teaching. That the professors who are instructing me have not only done the coursework to earn the title ‘professor’ but have lived and experienced what they are teaching makes me feel comfortable in knowing that I am not just getting a textbook answer but an answer that is derived from their education and experience.”

— Matthew Castonguay, Kentucky Lodge 614

“I owe FOP a great deal of thanks for informing me about the opportunities with NFOPU. I started with my bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership at Mountain State University. After completing my bachelor’s, I went on to complete my master’s degree as well.

“It was a great experience, and I hope that it will further my law enforcement career. I was also very thankful for the 20% discount for FOP members that Mountain State University offered. In this tough economy, the discount helped me continue my education. I did not have nearly as much to pay back as I had originally expected.

“It is a great feeling knowing that I have such a great organization as FOP standing behind me at work and in the continuance of my education.”

— Chris Cullen, Idaho Lodge 29

“The immediate and obvious benefit provided by the program is the direct financial support through scholarships, as well as the tuition reduction provided by partner universities for FOP members. The financial support provided lessened the stress associated with returning to school, allowing me to concentrate more energy on studying. … [And] the partnerships forged between NFOPU and the various universities allow FOP members to sort through a much smaller list of schools when making the important choice about where to attend and [which] program to choose.”

— Tony Hawley, Washington Lodge 17

“For years, obtaining a quality higher learning degree had been the hope of many law enforcement officers throughout the nation. There were commonly two main obstacles to this dream. First, it was difficult to find an affordable yet quality university that would fit the budget of our members. (Certainly, one could always find the diploma mill universities that were cheap in price, but the adage ‘You get exactly what you pay for’ had a strong implication in this case.) A second obstacle in obtaining university education surrounded the issue of flexibility. As law enforcement officers, we know too well that our lives and especially our plans can change in an instant due to the nature of our work. In most cases, we are not able to attend the regular classes as traditional students. This reality is obviously not favored by many universities!

“At a National FOP convention a few years ago, members were extremely happy to hear that the NFOPU had responded to our needs by researching and vetting a number of universities that fit our requirements yet were high-quality institutions. As an FOP delegate and [the] Pennsylvania Lodge 11 Recording Secretary, I took the NFOPU information back to our lodge members. After a careful review of university programs, I became personally interested in this NFOPU program. I had been in a Master of Science program at a local university that was not providing the type of educational experience that I had expected. After reviewing the information about Mountain State University, I realized that this would be a program that would directly enhance my present career, as well as pave the way for future endeavors. I entered the Mountain State University School of Leadership and Professional Studies in 2007. After a challenging, enjoyable and enriching program, I graduated with honors (4.0 GPA) and, more importantly, a new outlook. I found this program to be an excellent blend of both academic and real-life learning that is critically important in our line of work. This education, which borders on leadership training, helped to shift my way of thinking in terms of leadership. I saw the vast options and components of leadership [and] the rights and wrongs of past and present leaders. This education was invaluable! The staff at Mountain State University was extremely helpful and accommodating throughout the entire process.

“When I completed my degree, my first phone call was to the National FOP. I merely wanted to thank those who instituted this NFOPU program and removed the obstacles to a great education! In response, the NFOPU sent me a beautifully framed certificate indicating participation in the program.

“In the years following my degree completion, I achieved a promotion within my agency and [now] teach organizational leadership, as well as criminal justice at the bachelor’s level. This program has helped me significantly; I encourage all FOP members to consider this valuable opportunity provided by the NFOPU.”

— Anthony J. Giaimo, Pennsylvania Lodge 11

The Consortium

The colleges and universities listed below are the member schools comprising NFOPU. Each school has a page dedicated to its program and a link to its school website on the FOP website:

American Military/Public University (West Virginia)
For more information on this school, click here

Bellevue University (Nebraska)
For more information on this school, click here

Liberty University (Virginia)
For more information on this school, click here

Mineral Area College (Missouri)
For more information on this school, click here

Mountain State University (West Virginia)
For more information on this school, click here

Tiffin University (Ohio)
For more information on this school, click here

Trident University International (California)
For more information on this school, click here

Union Institute & University (Ohio)
For more information on this school, click here

Upper Iowa University (Iowa)
For more information on this school, click here

For more information about the NFOPU program, please visit the Programs section on or contact Marquie Hale at (800) 451-2711 or

Share this: