By Jessika Perez
As Grand Rapids Community College’s Holland Lakeshore Campus goes into its second month since the grand opening, Futures for Frontliners students are entering their third semester of a second chance.
Rose Muller-Trinh’s full title is Recruiter for the Futures for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect Scholarship Recipients. She is responsible for three different programs: Futures for Frontliners, Reconnect Scholarship Recipients and Bridges to College.
Futures for Frontliners offers free in-district tuition and out-of-district students substantial financial assistance for first-time college students who worked during the COVID-19 lockdown. The program is currently closed for new students.
“With the F4F group, it’s limited to a smaller population of Michigan residents (essential workers),” Muller-Trinh said. “Reconnect opened it up to a much, much larger population because anyone 25 and older can apply. With Reconnect, there is no deadline, yet, so anyone can apply even now.”
“This is such a huge help for me,” said Eduardo Urbina, 40, from Holland who is studying chemical engineering. “I know it also takes a lot of responsibility because in order to keep the financial aid, I need to get good grades, so it’s a little more pressure on me. But in the end, I’m taking this very seriously. Trying to get the highest grade in order to keep having this financial aid.”
“The Future for Frontliners scholarship was implemented first to help individuals who had to work during the COVID-19 (pandemic) when everything else shut down,” Muller-Trinh said. “That is one way to thank them. The bulk of the program is to encourage individuals who have not had an associate’s degree or a certification of some sort to complete that journey. Part of my responsibility is to stay connected with students, maintain that relationship with students, (and) resolve any issues or struggles or lend assistance to them so that they can continue with their learning.”
Muller-Trinh has seen a consistent maintenance of their class schedule (attendance), and noted the campus was pleased to see these statistics.
“We are still tracking their progress,” Muller-Trinh said. As for the Reconnect recipients, this is their first semester that the scholarship could be applied toward tuition. “I truly believe in those two programs – I feel very privileged that I have the opportunity to work with those students as well every day.”