More than $ 2 million in scholarships awarded to returning students at the COE


Aidan Ross, COE student and Future for Frontliner recipient, poses for a photo. Shelby Beaty | Washtenaw’s voice

Futures for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect have helped over 1,800 COE students

by ETHAN BERMAN
Editor-in-chief

Two new state scholarship programs provided a total of $ 2 million to COE students.

Michigan’s Futures for Frontliners program paid nearly $ 1.5 million to WCC students who worked in critical positions such as grocery, health care, and other businesses that remained open for the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program allows essential workers to obtain an associate’s degree and certificate without tuition.

Nearly 1,000 students enrolled at WCC will receive help from Frontliners this fall, according to Fran LeFort, director of media relations at the college. Last winter, 558 COE students who had worked on the front lines were awarded over $ 500,000.

The Frontliners program was unveiled in 2020. Then, in February, state officials announced the launch of yet another program to improve college outcomes: the Michigan Reconnect program is open to 25-year-old state residents. and more who do not have a university degree. Michigan Reconnect covers the tuition fees for eligible adults who wish to earn an associate’s degree or a skills certificate at community colleges. Both efforts support Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s goal of increasing the number of Michigan adults with college degrees from 45 to 60 percent.

Currently, some 831 WCC students benefit from the Michigan Reconnect program, LeFort said. The Reconnect program provides these students with $ 670,548, she said.

Aidan Ross, a frontline worker and student at WCC, was one of the many recipients of the Frontliners scholarship.

“I received a total of $ 1,800 from Frontliners,” said Ross, who works in a grocery store. “If I hadn’t got the scholarship, my life would probably be more stagnant. I probably still would not have answered the question “Why am I going to school?” On top of that, I still have to figure out how to pay for this education out of my own pocket. “

This scholarship helped Ross make decisions about the future and promised financial stability.

“Starting my studies with this scholarship is the reward of a period that has been very difficult for me, especially since I saw nothing of interest. Now I have something and I can kind of pick up the pieces from here, ”he said.

On September 21, a new state budget was proposed to allocate an additional $ 2.2 billion to education. This would give the Frontliners program an additional $ 25 million in disbursement assistance and the Reconnect program an additional $ 55 million.

Candidates interested in applying for Michigan Reconnect should:

    • Be at least 25 years old when applying.
    • Have lived in Michigan for a year or more.
    • Have a high school diploma or equivalent.
    • You have not yet obtained a college diploma (associate or bachelor’s degree).

Applicants must also submit the Federal Student Financial Aid FAFSA form. Additionally, applicants must attend WCC from within the district. Those who attend outside the district can do so, but their tuition fees will be less covered.

If students are interested in other resources available at WCC, they can contact the financial aid office at 734-973-3523.

To find out more about these programs

Frontliners: https://www.michigan.gov/frontliners/
Michigan Reconnect: https://www.michigan.gov/reconnect

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