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GRCC helping frontline workers apply for free tuition program

Grand Rapids Community College — Representatives are working to help applicants who are struggling to complete required federal financial aid forms for the state’s Futures for Frontliners program.

The deadline is Dec. 31 to apply for the free tuition program offered to those who worked in essential industries during the COVID-19 shutdown this spring. Accepted students would be eligible to begin attending classes in the winter semester, which starts in January. 

More than 1,700 people have been accepted so far by the state to attend GRCC through the program, which provides a tuition-free pathway to an associate degree or a technical certificate. More than 6,000 additional applications are under review by the state. Many of these applicants still need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Others may need to submit additional information to the state, such as employment verification.

Staff experts at GRCC can answer questions and provide information through the financial aid hotline at (616) 234-4030. The Futures for Frontliners hotline is (616) 234-3344; email is futures4frontliners@grcc.edu; and text is (616) 404-4519. Information also is available at www.grcc.edu/futuresforfrontliners.

The Futures for Frontliners program is offered to people who worked at least half-time in frontline jobs for 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 – food and agriculture; healthcare and public health; critical manufacturing; communications and information technology, including news media; law enforcement, public safety and first responders; public works; and transportation and logistics; according to information from GRCC.

More than 85,000 people statewide have applied for the program, according to the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. Futures for Frontliners is part of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s goal of having 60% of working-age Michiganders earning a college degree or certificate by 2030.

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Erin Albanese
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 or email Erin.

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