Kirtland to provide free tuition for frontline workers
Thu, 09/10/2020 - 10:23am caleb
Local community college participates in state’s Futures for Frontliners program
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
“Essential workers” during the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic – April, May, and June – can now apply for free tuition at Kirtland Community College through the State of Michigan’s Futures for Frontliners program.
“The Futures for Frontliners program offers a tuition-free pathway to college or a technical certificate for essential workers. Eligible workers include those who staffed hospitals and nursing homes, worked in grocery stores, provided child care to critical infrastructure workers, manufactured PPE, worked in public safety and sanitation, and delivered supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to Kirtland Community College.
According to a press release from the college, workers can apply for the program until the end of the year, and enrollment starts in January of 2021. The Futures for Frontliners program – announced by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in April – is intended for “essential workers who don’t have a college degree,” according to www.michigan.gov.
“Futures for Frontliners offers Michiganders who worked in essential industries during the April 1-June 30 period but do not have a college degree free tuition to their local community college to pursue an associate degree or a skills certificate on a full-time or part-time basis while they continue to work. Those without a high school diploma or equivalency are eligible for services to help them prepare for and complete this credential and go on to a community college or job training program,” according to Kirtland Community College.
“We’re honored to offer free tuition to those essential workers who paid their dues and kept us all safe this past year. Providing frontline workers in essential industries with access to tuition-free community college to pursue their career and personal dreams is a wonderful way to give back to these heroes,” said Tom Quinn, Kirtland Community College President.
In April, Governor Whitmer said the program “was inspired by the GI Bill after World War II.” The GI Bill program – still in effect today – offers people in the armed forces assistance with college.
“Historically, when Americans put their lives on the line to defend the rest of us from a foreign enemy, we have shown our gratitude by giving them educational opportunities to improve their lives. Our enemy in this instance is a virus, but our frontline workers are just as heroic and that’s why it’s important for us to extend some gratitude and some opportunity,” Governor Whitmer said.
“This is the first program of its kind in the United States and I’m hopeful that other governors across the country will follow our lead to create pathways to opportunity for people who have been on the frontlines protecting our families,” Governor Whitmer said. “It’s the right thing to do for those who have served on the frontlines of this crisis.”
To be eligible for the Futures for Frontliners program, applicants must: “Be a Michigan resident; Have worked in an essential industry at least part-time for 11 of the 13 weeks between April 1 and June 30, 2020; Have been required by their job to work outside the home at least some of the time between April 1 and June 30, 2020; Not have previously earned an associate or bachelor’s degree; Not be in default on a Federal student loan; Complete a Futures for Frontliners scholarship application by 11:59 p.m., December 31, 2020,” according to a press release from Governor Whitmer’s office.
To apply for the Futures for Frontliners program, visit Kirtland’s website at kirtland.edu/frontliners or the State of Michigan’s website at michigan.gov/frontliners.