On September 10, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer launched the nation's first program offering tuition-free college to an estimated 625,000 Michiganders who provided essential, frontline services during the COVID-19 Stay Home, Stay Safe orders between April-June 2020.
What are essential industries?
The State of Michigan has identified the following as essential industries:
- Chemical supply chains and safety
- Communications and information technology (IT), including news media
- Critical manufacturing
- Defense industrial base
- Financial services
- Food and agriculture
- Hazardous materials
- Health care and public health
- Law enforcement, public safety, and first responders
- Other community-based government operations and essential functions
- Public works
- Transportation and logistics
- Water and wastewater
- Additional critical infrastructure workers
To be eligible for the program, applicants must:
- Be a Michigan resident
- Complete a Futures for Frontliners scholarship application by 11:59 pm on December 31, 2020
- Have worked in an essential industry at least half-time for 11 of the 13 weeks between April 1 - June 30, 2020 (view a list of essential occupations)
- Have a high school diploma or equivalent, e.g. GED; Those without a high school diploma or equivalency are eligible for services to help them prepare for and complete this credential
- Apply to and be admitted to a Michigan public community college
- Have not previously earned an associate or bachelor’s degree
- Complete the current-year (FAFSA)
- Not be in default on a Federal student loan
- Enroll at least half time for an associate degree or industry-recognized certificate
- Enroll and begin classes in the winter, summer, or fall semester of 2021
Frontline workers are encouraged to visit www.michigan.gov/Frontliners to explore career opportunities, a list of local community colleges and get started on their application – even if they don’t already have a high school diploma.
West Michigan Community Colleges
All of Michigan’s 28 public community colleges accept the Futures for Frontliners scholarship, but the cost of attending community college will depend on whether you are an in-district or out-of-district student.
- For in-district students. If you attend your local community college, the Futures for Frontliners scholarship will pay for you to get your degree tuition-free. That means you won’t pay any tuition or mandatory fees out of pocket. About 80% of Michigan students live in a community college district.
- For out-of-district students. If you don’t have a local community college that means that you don’t pay taxes to support a community college. Futures for Frontliners will provide a discount on your tuition, but your associate degree or skill certificate will not be tuition-free. The Futures for Frontliners scholarship will pay the in-district tuition rate at the community college you choose. You will pay the difference between the in-district tuition rate and the out-of-district rate. This is also true if you choose to go to a community college outside of your district.
Grand Rapids Community College | grcc.edu/futuresforfrontliners
Montcalm Community College | montcalm.edu/frontliners
Muskegon Community College | muskegoncc.edu/enrollment-services/futures-for-frontliners/
West Shore Community College | westshore.edu/futures-for-frontliners-scholarship-program/
To determine which, if any, colleges are within your district, visit the List of Colleges page from Michigan.gov and view the drop-down menus for each community college.