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Essential workers can attend GRCC free

They spent the two months of the stay-at-home order working in hospitals, grocery stores and public safety. Now they will be able to attend Grand Rapids Community College for free.

The recently announced Future For Frontliners program, which provides tuition-free education to those who worked in essential industries during Michigan’s COVID-19 shutdown, will allow workers to enroll at GRCC for the spring semester.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently revealed details of the program, which will use federal funds to provide a tuition-free education at a Michigan public community college to earn an associate degree or certificate. The application is available here.

“Futures for Frontliners will remove cost as a barrier to an education to people who served our community in a variety of ways during very difficult times,” GRCC President Bill Pink said in a press release. “A college degree or credential will help many of our residents in these roles gain new skills to advance in their careers. GRCC is in the best position to help them, and other residents, with accessible, affordable classes.”

The program is for people who worked in frontline jobs for at least 11 of the 13 weeks between April 1 and June 30 and who do not have a college degree.

Eligible frontline industry examples include – but are not limited to – health care and public health; critical manufacturing; communications and information technology, including news media; food and agriculture; law enforcement, public safety and first responders; public works; and transportation and logistics.

Students would be eligible to begin attending classes during the winter semester starting in January 2021. They must apply prior to Dec. 31.

As a last-dollar program, students would be required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, form.For more information, email futures4frontliners@grcc.edu, call GRCC enrollment and financial aid experts at 616-234-4059 or visit the website at grcc.edu/futuresforfrontliners.

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio

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