Gov. Whitmer announces plan to expand tuition-free college to 22,000 additional Michiganders

DETROIT – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday, during an event on Belle Isle in Detroit marking the state’s return to normal, called for the expansion of the Futures for Frontliners scholarship program to meet increased demand and popularity.

The tuition-free scholarships would now include frontline workers who served between Nov. 1, 2020, and Jan. 31. With the expansion, upwards of 22,000 additional workers would be eligible to apply for this opportunity.

This would add on to the more than 120,000 essential workers who quickly applied for the program when it launched in the last quarter of 2020. The additional $100 million investment would come from federal American Rescue Plan funding.

“Today we are taking the last big step to get back to normal, but we will never forget the frontline workers along the way who helped us get here,” Whitmer said. “That’s why I’m calling on the legislature to join me in expanding the Futures for Frontliners scholarship program to cover the selfless Michiganders who stepped up in unprecedented ways to keep our state moving.”

When the Futures for Frontliners program launched in September 2020, Michigan was the first in the nation to utilize $24 million from the 2020 Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide a tuition-free path to a post-secondary education.

In just over three months’ time, more than 120,000 Michiganders applied for the program and nearly 16,000 of those applicants are already enrolled in classes with a semester completed through their local community college.

“Our Frontliners students have been hard at work gaining the knowledge and skills required for today’s job market. Expanding this opportunity will boost our regional economy and improve the lives of many deserving students and their families,” said Lake Michigan College President Dr. Trevor A. Kubatzke.

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