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GRCC adopts MI ECHO scholarship to provide an opportunity for essential workers struggling with financial assistance

The newly designed entrance to RJF Hall (Anthony Clark Jr./The Collegiate)

Grand Rapids Community College has instituted the Michigan Equity, Courage, Hope and Opportunity (MI ECHO) scholarship program that creates opportunities for essential workers who are not eligible for federal financial aid.

“We think this is a great opportunity for our people in our community who, for a variety of reasons, are not eligible for federal financial aid,” said Vice President of College Advancement and Executive Director of GRCC Foundation Kathryn Mullins. “Our community grows strong when everyone is able to reach their potential, and GRCC’s credit and career-focused certificate classes change lives, helping them gain skills for better jobs and boosting their standard of living.” 

Individuals who want to apply must be enrolled in an associate’s degree or certificate program and worked during the COVID-19 pandemic since the beginning of the global shutdown in March 2020. Students that are working towards a degree or career-focused certificate will receive assistance with covering the costs of tuition and contact hours, as well as other mandatory school-related fees.

GRCC Communications Director Dave Murray noted this scholarship is part of the handful of opportunities created this year for adult learners and other students to provide access to furthering their education at the college. 

“Working through these opportunities created by the Future for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect programs, we know adult learners often have more demands on their time, due to home and work responsibilities,”Murray said. “GRCC recognizes this and has offered classes at times when students can fit them into their busy schedules. The online options have been very popular with students in these programs.

“We’re also mindful that many students in these programs are starting and restarting their education after time away – more than 20 years away in some cases,” Murray continued. “We know such students might be apprehensive about coming to college, and we are focused on providing support services to help them with academics and all other types of assistance they might need.”

Students who are eligible for this program have until Dec. 31, 2022 to apply for the scholarship program. Funds can be applied as early as the Winter 2022 semester. However, funds are limited, so the state is urging students to apply sooner rather than later.

“It’s too early to tell how much of an impact MI ECHO will have, but we are very optimistic that this new scholarship will create a pathway for more people to get a life-changing college education,” Murray said.

Individuals can find out more information about the scholarship program by emailing info@michiganecho.org or calling (517) 316-1713.

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