Grand Rapids, Michigan – Grand Rapids Community College is participating in a new statewide scholarship program that offers free college tuition to essential pandemic workers who are not eligible for other federal financial aid programs.
The Michigan Equity, Courage, Hope and Opportunity Scholarship – MI ECHO – covers the full tuition costs of people who have worked in an essential job during the COVID-19 pandemic, starting with the March 2020 closing.
The scholarship is intended to serve students who are excluded from most traditional financial aid opportunities, such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, temporary protected immigrants, special immigrant juveniles, and more, according to a GRCC press release.
“Our community grows stronger when everyone has access to higher education,” said Tina Hoxie, associate dean of GRCC and dean of student affairs, in a prepared statement.
“Futures for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect have made it possible for thousands of people to start or re-educate at GRCC. The MI ECHO Scholarship will help more people gain new skills for careers, help their families, and change their lives.”
The scholarship program is funded by private donors and philanthropic organizations, and administered by the Michigan College Action Network, a Lansing-based advocacy group focused on increasing college readiness, participation, and completion, according to the release.
To be eligible for the scholarship, candidates must live in Michigan and be eligible for admission to a certificate or associate degree program, and cannot have previously earned a college or bachelor’s degree in any country, depending on the version.
People can apply for the program until December 31, 2022, and the scholarship can be used as early as winter 2022, which begins January 10. .
College officials said students should apply for the scholarship as soon as possible because funding is limited.
The scholarship covers the cost of tuition, contact hours, and other mandatory fees to help students work toward a degree or career-focused certification, depending on the release.
Executive Director of Michigan College Access Network Ryan Fewins-Bliss said the scholarship program is designed to mirror other tuition-free programs offered through the state, such as Futures for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect.
“We were excited to see how Governor Whitmer’s Future Front Liners Program has changed the conversation about community college and brought in so many Michiganders eager to improve their economic prospects through post-secondary education,” he said in a prepared statement.
“We designed MI ECHO to reflect this opportunity for workers who have served in essential roles throughout the pandemic, but are unable to access federal financial aid. MI ECHO honors the hard work of these individuals while investing in our workforce and bringing us closer to our 30-60 state goal.”
More information about the online MI ECHO program can be found at Michiganecho.org. Interested applicants may also call 517-316-1713 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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