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Free Alpena Community College tuition offered to frontline workers

News Photo by Crystal Nelson Robert Roose, Alpena Community College’s director of financial aid, works in his office on Wednesday in VanLare Hall at ACC’s Alpena campus.

ALPENA — Alpena Community College will participate in the Futures for Frontliners program, which allows essential workers in Michigan to earn a certificate or degree without paying tuition.

The program launched by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this month offers those who provided essential services during the pandemic a free way to gain job skills.

ACC Director of Financial Aid Robert Roose said the program is open to any essential worker who worked at least part time between April 1 and June 30, as long as they don’t already have a college degree.

Roose said those interested in the free program must first apply to the state by Dec. 31 to confirm their eligibility for the scholarship program. He said the college would be notified of the student’s eligibility, and would begin reaching out to those students.

The online application is available at michigan.gov/Frontliners. Frontline workers include journalists, energy sector workers, food and agriculture workers, health care workers, and others.

Roose said the college has already received some inquiries about the program, and he hopes to see students take advantage of the opportunity to have their schooling paid for.

“I think it will help convince or motivate some folks to go back to school or to start school, even, and give them that final push to help them enroll and get started,” he said.

To be eligible for the 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 to June 30

∫ Have been required by their job to work outside the home at least some of the time between April 1 to June 30

∫ Not have previously earned an associate or bachelor’s degree

∫ Not be in default on a federal student loan

Once enrolled in the program, Roose said, students must attend school at least part-time and maintain a 2.0 grade-point average.

“During these challenging times, every bit of support we can provide our friends and neighbors working in frontline occupations is merited,” College President Don MacMaster said in a news release. “We look forward to helping out.”

Futures for Frontliners is part of the state’s Sixty by 30 program, which plans to increase the number of working-age adults with a skill certificate or college degree from 45% today to 60% by 2030.

For more information about the scholarship portion of the program, contact the college Financial Aid Office at 989-358-7286 or at accfinaid@alpenacc.edu.

For more information about applying to ACC, contact Admissions Director Mike Kollien at 989-358-7286 or at kollienm@acc.edu.

Crystal Nelson can be reached at 989-358-5687 or cnelson@thealpenanews.com.

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