Gov. Whitmer announces tuition-free college for frontline workers in first-of-its-kind program


Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. - STATE OF MICHIGAN
  • State of Michigan
  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

A new program announced by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will provide tuition-free community college for an estimated 625,000 of Michigan's frontline workers.

Inspired by the GI Bill, the "Futures for Frontliners" program is for adults without high school diplomas or college degrees who provided essential services during the height of the pandemic in Michigan, between April and June.

Eligible workers include those in the medical field, as well as those in manufacturing, nursing homes, grocery stores, sanitation, delivery, retail, and more.

According to a statement from the governor, it's the first program of its kind in the nation for frontline workers during the coronavirus pandemic. Whitmer first proposed the program in April.

"This initiative is Michigan’s way of expressing gratitude to essential workers for protecting public health and keeping our state running," Whitmer said in a statement. "Whether it was stocking shelves, delivering supplies, picking up trash, manufacturing PPE, or providing medical care, you were there for us. Now this is your chance to pursue the degree or training you’ve been dreaming about to help you and your own family succeed."

The program is open to Michigan residents who worked in an "essential" industry at least part-time and outside of their home at least some of the time for 11 of the 13 weeks between April 1 and June 30. They must also not be in default on a federal student loan.

The $24 million program is funded by Governor’s Education Emergency Relief (GEER) Fund, a part of the federal CARES Act coronavirus relief efforts.

Interested workers must complete a Futures for Frontliners scholarship application by 11:59 p.m., Dec. 31, 2020. More information is available at

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