2 Michigan colleges team up to support COVID-19 workers

In partnership with Henry Ford College, Eastern Michigan University will assist frontline workers in pursuing further education through scholarships.

As part of the state’s new Futures for Frontliners program, Eastern Michigan University is partnering with Henry Ford College to assist those who serve in first responder capacities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students who earn associate degrees after completing their studies at Henry Ford will be eligible to receive further scholarships from Eastern Michigan if they decide to continue their education. The ultimate goal is to boost the number of certifications and degrees of working adults from 45% to 60% by 2030.

“Our frontline workers put themselves at risk to serve Michigan citizens during a pandemic. Now we are putting them at the forefront by supporting their futures,” said Henry Ford College President Russ Kavalhuna. “This new partnership between is an exciting opportunity for Frontliners to extend their education even further. It will maximize their investment in themselves as they seek new or advanced careers.”

Under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s program, the first of its kind in the U.S., Frontliner students who enroll at two-year institutions receive free tuition. Eastern Michigan is going a step further by offering two additional scholarships:

  • Students who matriculate through Henry Ford and are eligible for Pell grants will have a portion of their tuition covered by Eastern Michigan – the equivalent 12 credits for five consecutive semesters of enrollment.
  • Those who are not Pell eligible will receive a $5,000 scholarship that covers four consecutive semesters.

“This is great news for the hundreds of thousands of brave men and women who have been serving on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s good news for our economy,” Whitmer said. “I’m proud that our state has developed a way to give back to the Michiganders who have been working around the clock to protect us, and I am grateful for this partnership between Henry Ford College and Eastern Michigan University to help more people get on a path to opportunity.”

Eastern Michigan, which has 16,000 enrolled students, and Henry Ford College, which has 12,000 students, through the years have forged 40 articulation agreements – including a new pathway for nursing students – helping to allow for seamless transfer of credits for students looking to move up to the university level.

EMU has more than 150 agreements in place with other community colleges in the state. This one, however, is definitely the most unique.

“This new scholarship initiative is an extension of the excellent collaboration we have had with Henry Ford College for many years and provides a new opportunity to reward frontline workers by creating an affordable path to a college degree,” said Eastern Michigan University President James Smith.

Chris Burt
Chris Burt
Chris is a reporter and associate editor for University Business and District Administration magazines, covering the entirety of higher education and K-12 schools. Prior to coming to LRP, Chris had a distinguished career as a multifaceted editor, designer and reporter for some of the top newspapers and media outlets in the country, including the Palm Beach Post, Sun-Sentinel, Albany Times-Union and The Boston Globe. He is a graduate of Northeastern University.

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