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BENTON TOWNSHIP — Lake Michigan College is offering free tuition to students for the upcoming school year.

Free tuition will be available to new and returning students – who are Michigan residents – for the 2021-22 academic year. The offer covers full tuition and fees for up to 30 credit hours for the upcoming spring and fall semesters.

“This plan is to show people (that) higher ed. can be affordable,” President Trevor Kubatzke told The Herald-Palladium. “We can get you on your path for a better future.”

The plan was approved in June at the board of trustees meeting. Priority will be given to students who apply by Aug. 16.

According to Kubatzke, the date was set so students have enough time to enroll and prepare for the coming school year.

He said there is no cap for how many students are eligible for free tuition. Additionally, those who already have an associates or bachelor’s degree can qualify for this aid.

A combination of state and federal funds, as well as private donors made free tuition a reality for LMC.

A month and a half ago, LMC received funds from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). Kubatzke said it was at that point where free tuition became a possibility for the college.

Many students above the age of 25 can qualify for Michigan’s Reconnect scholarship. Those younger than 25 can apply for federal Pell grant dollars and the HEERF. LMC will cover any remaining costs through private donor-funded scholarships.

“We want everyone to apply, and we will help them find a path to free college,” Kubatzke said.

According to Kubatzke, the college surveyed those students who enrolled, but didn’t come to LMC last year. For a large portion, COVID-related financial strain was the deciding factor that caused the delayed enrollment.

“Let’s take the financial burden off them, so that they can concentrate for the next year,” Kubatzke said.

Thirty credits across two semesters would normally cost $4,860 for in-district students and $6,885 for out-of-district students.

Prospective students can apply at www.lakemichigan college.edu/apply and complete a FAFSA. Students will also have to apply for Reconnect, Pell grants and HEERF dollars.

Contact: jknot@TheHP.com, 932-0360, Twitter: @knotjuliana