Futures for Frontliners

Futures for Frontliners logo

Futures for Frontliners is a state scholarship program for Michiganders without college degrees who worked in essential industries during the state COVID-19 shutdown in spring 2020, between April 1 and June 30.

This scholarship provides those frontline workers with tuition-free access to a local community college to pursue an associate degree or a certificate, either full-time or part-time while they work.

For more information please visit the State of Michigan website or call SC4 at 810-989-5530.

To be eligible for the Community College pathway, you must:

  • Be a Michigan resident
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent (ex: GED)
  • Have worked in an essential industry at least part-time for 11 of the 13 weeks between April 1 and June 30, 2020
  • Have been required by their job to work outside the home at least some of the time between April 1 and June 30, 2020
  • Have not yet earned an associate or bachelor’s degree
  • Not be in default on a Federal student loan
  • Complete a Futures for Frontliners scholarship application by 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2020

Using guidance from the federal government, in Executive Orders 2020-21 and 2020-70, Governor Whitmer identified workers, and the fields they work in, that were critical to protecting and serving Michiganders, and help keep our state running, during the COVID-19 emergency; such as those who staffed our grocery stores and restaurants, provided waste management services, manufactured Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), operated public transportation, or provided critical police or fire services. These are just some of the frontline worker examples. The essential industries are:

If you already have your associate or bachelor’s degree, you’re not eligible to apply for Futures for Frontliners. If you’re looking for other opportunities, check out Skills to Work or contact your local Michigan Works! Association Service Center.

Even if you completed a certificate program in the past, as long as you meet all of the eligibility requirements and haven’t completed your associate degree yet, you are eligible to apply for this scholarship.

Even if you are currently enrolled in an associate degree program, as long as you meet all of the eligibility requirements and haven’t completed your associate degree yet, you are eligible to apply for this scholarship.

Frontline workers who do not have a high school diploma, or equivalent, can check out the High School Completion program in Futures for Frontliners. If you have questions about this pathway, email LEO-AdultEd@michigan.gov to find out more. 

From Sept. 9 to Dec. 31, you can apply for this scholarship. The application is online and mobile-friendly. Visit the application page to learn more and to apply for this opportunity. 

In order to apply, you’ll need a social security number, access to the internet, and an email address. You won’t need any other paperwork.

The application must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2020. If you’re having trouble with submitting your application, call our Customer Care Center at 517-636-7000 or email MiStudentAid@Michigan.gov

You’ll need to create an email address in order to submit your application. Having an email address will also be important in order to receive updates about your application status, apply for federal aid and apply and enroll in community college. Most, if not all, community colleges communicate important information with their students through their email address, so it will be a helpful tool to have.

If you attended community college in the past and owe them money, you are still eligible to apply for the Futures for Frontliners scholarship. However, you’ll need to contact the community college to figure out a plan to pay off your balance in time to be accepted to the college and enroll in classes. If you have questions about this, you can call the Customer Care Center at 517-636-7000 or email MiStudentAid@Michigan.gov. If you want to call the community college directly, visit our list of colleges to find a phone and email contact to your college.

In the email, it should also have let you know that you still have a few required steps in front of you before you receive funds from this scholarship:

  1. Apply at your local community college.
  2. Complete the FAFSA federal aid application at www.fafsa.ed.gov. If we have one on file for you already, you can skip this step.
  3. Enroll in classes starting in the winter, spring, summer, or fall of 2021.

Be sure to complete all these necessary steps as soon as possible to receive your scholarship. For more information about these steps, you can check out our college checklist.

If you’re not sure where you want to apply to or have a question about enrolling in a college’s classes, visit list of colleges to find the website and contact information for each college.

After you’ve successfully submitted your application, you can visit the Student Portal with the username and password you created and should see that your application status for Futures for Frontliners is “Submitted – Under Review.” You should receive an email in 7 to 10 business days to let you know if your application has been accepted. If you have questions about your application, you can call the Customer Care Center at 517-636-7000 or email MiStudentAid@Michigan.gov.

This doesn’t mean you’ve been rejected! It just means that we did not have enough information in our system to verify if you are eligible – yet. This could be because you were self-employed, paid in cash, or a contract or temporary worker.

In the student portal, you’ll see that your status has changed from “Submitted – Under Review” to “Additional Information Needed.” Below the status, you’ll see a link for an Employment Verification Form. Completing this form will provide us with more information so we can finalize your application. If you have questions about completing this form, you can call the Customer Care Center at 517-636-7000 or email MiStudentAid@Michigan.gov.

The form helps verify your employment as a frontline worker between April 1 and June 30, 2020, so all of the responses should be about that time period specifically.

It can be completed either electronically (it is a fillable pdf form) or by printing and handwriting the responses. There are two parts to the form:

  • Part I: Completed by you.
  • Part II: Completed by an authorized person, this is either your supervisor or a Human Resources representative (from your employer between April 1 and June 30, 2020). If you were self-employed during this time, you should check the “self-employed” box and complete Part II yourself.  

If you worked for more than one employer in any of the essential industries during April 1 and June 30, you’ll need to complete the form with each employer.

The completed form should be either:

  • Emailed to MiStudentAid@Michigan.gov. If you don’t have access to a scanner, you can take a picture of the complete form and attach the image to the email.
  • Mailed to Students Scholarship & Grants, PO Box 30462, Lansing, MI 48909.

Please note: There is no deadline for returning the form, but we won’t be able to finalize your application without it. The sooner you’re able to get it back to us, the sooner you can move on and pursue your education.

If you have questions about completing this form, you can call the Customer Care Center at 517-636-7000 or email MiStudentAid@Michigan.gov.

After you’ve submitted the form, we will review it and may contact you or the authorized person(s) for any missing or unclear information. If no information is missing, we will review the information and notify you of your application status update. If you have any questions about this, you can call the Customer Care Center at 517-636-7000 or email MiStudentAid@Michigan.gov.

For associate degrees, Futures for Frontliners students can choose any major at their community college.

For skill certificates, Futures for Frontliners students can enroll in any field of study, but the skill certificate must qualify for credit and be eligible for the Pell grant. Ask your community college to confirm that the skill certificate you’re considering qualifies.

Scholarship recipients must begin in the 2021 calendar year. This means you can start classes in winter, spring, summer or fall of 2021.

Futures for Frontliners requires that students enroll in at least two semesters of school per year. That means you could enroll in fall semester, not enroll in the winter, and then start classes again in the summer.

We also recognize that life happens. You may apply for a “hardship exception,” which allows you to take a break from classes while you manage a personal challenge. This website will have more information about what situations qualify for the exception and how to request it in the coming months

If you don’t have a local community college, that means that you don’t pay taxes to support a community college. Futures for Frontliners will provide a discount on their tuition, but your associate degree or skill certificate will not be tuition-free. The Futures for Frontlines scholarship will pay the in-district tuition rate at the community college you attend. You will pay the difference between the in-district tuition rate and the out-of-district rate. This is also true if you choose to go to a community college outside of their district.

Visit our list of colleges to find the community college in your district. If you’re still not sure, contact the community colleges nearest you to find out. You can find the email and phone number contact to each college on the same page.

Futures scholarship recipients must enroll in at least 6 credits per semester (or 12 credits per year), but there is no cap on the maximum number of credits you can enroll in per semester. Call your community college to learn more about their rules. You can find the email and phone number contact to each college on the list of colleges

Futures for Frontliners students must enroll in at least 6 credits per semester (or 12 credits per year). If your college defines half time as fewer than 6 credits, you may still qualify. Ask your community college if you’re unsure whether you’re taking enough. Contact your community college to learn more. You can find the email and phone number contact to each college on the list of colleges

In order to continue receiving the Futures scholarship, applicants must:

  1. Continue to be a resident of this state
  2. Stay enrolled at least half-time student in your program
  3. Maintain a 2.0 grade point average
  4. Complete the FAFSA annually

You can continue to receive this scholarship until one of the following happens, whichever occurs first:

  • You’ve earned your associate degree, or
  • Four years have passed from the first tuition payment Treasury receives

You can transfer from one eligible institution to another without losing the scholarship, so long as you continue to meet all the requirements to keep it. An eligible institution is any one of Michigan’s 28 public community colleges. If you’re not sure what those are you can visit our list of colleges to see all of the eligible institutions.

You must continue to be a resident of this state in order to keep the scholarship. See What are the requirements for keeping this scholarship? to learn more.

As a Futures for Frontliners scholarship recipient, if you choose to pursue a certificate first you can still pursue your associate degree tuition-free, so long as the certificate leads directly to an associate degree and you continue to meet the requirements to keep the scholarship. Visit What are the requirements for keeping this scholarship?  to learn more. 

Please note, the four-year limitation will still apply. Visit For how long can I keep the scholarship?  to learn more. 

We recognize that life happens. You may apply for a “hardship exception” that allows you to take a break from classes while you manage a personal challenge without losing your scholarship. This website will have more information about what situations qualify for the exception and how to request it in the coming months.

This depends on whether you enroll and attend a community college in or out of your district.

If you enroll and attend your local, in-district community college, you’ll be able to get your degree tuition-free. That means you won’t pay any tuition, contact hours, or mandatory fees out of pocket.

If you don’t have a local community college or you choose to go to a community college outside of your district, you can receive a discount on tuition. The scholarship will pay the in-district tuition rate at your college and you will pay the difference between the in-district rate and out-of-district rate.

Futures for Frontliners is not the only financial support available to help you get through school. You may receive additional financial aid from:

  • The federal government: As part of the Futures for Frontliners application process, you are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). After completing the FAFSA, you may be awarded grants (that don’t need to be repaid), federal work-study (that provides part-time jobs to students), and loans.
  • Your college: You will be automatically considered for financial aid from SC4 once you apply for FAFSA.
  • Your employer: Some employers offer financial aid for employees going to school. Ask your supervisor for more information.
  • Benefit programs: There may be public assistance available to help support you and your family while you are going to school. These programs include:
    • Childcare assistance
    • Food assistance
    • Medical assistance
    • Cash assistance
    • Utility assistance

Visit MiBridges to apply.

Applicants must be eligible to apply for federal aid and successfully submit a FAFSA in order to be eligible for and receive the Futures for Frontliners scholarship. However, applicants do not need to receive federal aid in order to receive Futures for Frontliners scholarship funding.

Applicants must be eligible to apply for federal aid and successfully submit a FAFSA in order to be eligible for and receive the Futures for Frontliners scholarship. However, applicants do not need to receive federal aid in order to receive Futures for Frontliners scholarship funding.

While Futures for Frontliners makes tuition affordable, going back to school still has other costs. Here are some of the additional costs you should plan for:

  • Books and supplies
  • Technology costs
  • Childcare expenses 
  • Transportation expenses

To help you estimate these costs, each community college offers a “net price calculator” on their website. These calculators estimate the costs for housing, books and supplies, and personal expenses such as transportation. These estimates are based on full-time enrollment. If you’re planning to enroll part-time, remember that the costs will be half of what the calculator estimates.

Finding Quality Childcare. Great Start to Quality is an online tool to help parents like you find quality childcare in your community. You can search for a childcare provider by location, ages of children served, and hours the provider is open. The website also provides tips to help you find a provider that meets your needs and provides the best environment for your child.

Your community college may also be able to help. Some community colleges have childcare centers on campus while others partner with community-based providers to serve student parents.

Paying for Childcare. Childcare can be expensive, but help is available. Student parents may receive financial assistance from their community college to pay for childcare. Student parents may also be eligible to receive the state childcare subsidy while they are attending classes and studying.

  • For more information about Michigan’s child care subsidy, visit the Child Development and Care website.
  • To apply for the Child Development and Care subsidy program, visit MiBridges.

Learn more by calling SC4 at (810) 984-3881.