Fear of debt and the ability to afford college continue to be major concerns for students, their parents and adult learners seeking to expand their education to support their career goals. But at Washtenaw Community College. financial aid awards are on the rise, allowing students to chase their dreams and avoid the college debt trap.
Whether it’s the expansion of the Michigan Reconnect Scholarship to provide tuition assistance to eligible 21 to 24-year-olds, the new Michigan Achievement Scholarship beginning with 2023 high school graduates or myriad other types of awards available, chances are there is a scholarship for you.
In fact, more than one-third of WCC students, 36% in the 2021-2022 academic year, received some type of financial assistance.
The dollars awarded make WCC’s already low tuition – the lowest in the state – even more affordable.
The State of Michigan is behind the largest area of increase. Specifically, the number of WCC Michigan Reconnect scholarship recipients rose by 598 compared to the previous year. Overall, the $3.7 million in state awards jumped by nearly 80% from the 2020-21 academic year to 2021-22. The new Michigan Achievement Scholarship may cover up to $2,750 each year in tuition for eligible students.
Other state scholarships include:
- Futures for Frontliners
- Tuition Incentive Plan
- Michigan Competitive Scholarship
- Fostering Futures & Board of Nursing
Each year. WCC awards several types of prestigious full-tuition honors scholarships to graduating high school students, the President’s, Procassini and Excellence scholarships. The college also awards full-tuition scholarships for students enrolled in each academic division. In all during the 2021-2022 year, students received $812,785 directly from the college.
Scholarships are awarded based on both need and merit.
The WCC Foundation also awarded $1.3 million to students last year, a 50% increase compared to five years ago.
Foundation scholarships include:
- WCC Foundation Scholarship
- Reading Nursing Scholarship
- Morse Barker Scholarship
- Kiwanis Scholarship
Other external scholarships include STEM Scholars and Rotary awards.
Federal sources of assistance are plentiful in the form of grants and loans, which totaled $24.9 million last year to WCC students. Of that, $16 million was awarded in grants, which do not need to be repaid.
LOW TUITION & EASE OF TRANSFER
The many sources of scholarship and financial aid options coupled with WCC’s low tuition and the ease of transfer to other colleges and universities help students stretch their education dollars.
The average tuition bill for full-time in-district students at WCC each semester is $1,425. Comparatively, one semester at four-year colleges or universities in the state can range from $3,975-$17,736.
FILLING THE TALENT PIPELINE
WCC’s affordability enables students to target big job opportunities in critical areas.
The new Michigan Healthcare Workforce Index, for example, indicates that virtually all health care jobs will face worker shortfalls in coming years.
WCC educates and trains students for nursing, medical and dental assisting and other in-demand health care positions.
According to the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, other high-demand jobs include machinists, automotive service technicians and mechanics, computer support specialists and welders – all pipelines for which WCC supplies talent.
This story appears in the Winter 2024 edition of Launch magazine. See complete issue.