Michigan ECHO Scholarship

FAQ

ABOUT

What is the MI ECHO Scholarship?

The Michigan Equity, Courage, Hope, and Opportunity (MI ECHO) Scholarship is a program that pays for frontline workers to attend community college tuition-free to earn a certificate, associate degree, or both.

ELIGIBILITY

Am I eligible if I am currently enrolled in a community college?

Yes, as long as you meet all the eligibility criteria, you are still eligible for the program.

If I already have a certificate, can I still qualify for the MI ECHO scholarship to cover an associate degree?

Yes, the MI ECHO scholarship can cover a certificate, associate degree, or both if they are completed within the 3-year limit.

Am I eligible if I have a bachelor’s degree from another country?

No.

Am I eligible if I receive Futures for Frontliners or Michigan Reconnect?

No. If you are eligible for Futures for Frontliners or Michigan Reconnect, then you cannot receive MI ECHO funds.

Can I be eligible for MI Reconnect and MI ECHO?

No, if you are eligible for Reconnect, then you are ineligible for MI ECHO.

What is the difference between Michigan Reconnect and MI ECHO?

Michigan Reconnect is administered by the State of Michigan and they provide the funding. MI ECHO is administered by MCAN and is privately funded. Please review the Reconnect eligibility criteria here to determine if you qualify. If you apply to MI ECHO and the initial screening suggests you meet Reconnect eligibility, you will be asked to provide verification that you have been denied.

Are individuals who have defaulted federal student loans eligible?

No.

What can I do if my application is declined?

If any applicant is turned down they can email info@michiganecho.org or call 517-896-0899 to appeal the rejection.



Is there a minimum number of credits an applicant must take to qualify for the scholarship?

No. A student can decide how many credits they would like to take each semester. However, it is important for the student to remember they are only eligible for 3 years after being admitted into the program or until the completion of their degree, whichever comes first.

Is there an age requirement for the MI ECHO scholarship?

No. As long as you meet all the eligibility criteria, you are able to apply.

Do I need to have worked in Michigan to be eligible for the MI ECHO Scholarship?

No, you could have been an essential worker in another state but must be residing in Michigan and meet all of the other eligibility criteria to qualify for the MI ECHO scholarship.

What is the deadline for the MI ECHO Scholarship?

The application will close on December 31st, 2022, at 11:59 p.m.

What is an "essential industry" or "frontline worker"?

Frontline workers held a job that required them to work outside of their home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit https://www.michigan.gov/frontliners/0,9886,7-412-101948_100634_102083-532640--,00.html to see a full list of industries that qualify as essential industries or frontline workers.

I meet all the criteria, but have a high school diploma from outside the United States. Am I eligible for the MI ECHO Scholarship?

Yes. If you completed high school outside the U.S. and can get a copy of your transcript, you should be eligible to apply to community college. Or you can also submit a diploma evaluation report. For more information, contact the community college you plan to attend.

If a MI ECHO applicant has a history of poor academic performance, are they still eligible to receive this award?

Yes. Past academic performance is not an eligibility requirement and will not be taken into consideration.

Am I eligible if I am an undocumented student?

Students who are undocumented are not eligible. While MCAN supports educational access for all students, we are unable to offer financial support for undocumented students through this program. Please do not let this stop you from pursuing your educational goals. We encourage you to look into other scholarship opportunities that may be available to you. A resource guide for undocumented students is available here.

APPLYING FOR COLLEGE

If a 4-year university offers certificates or associate degrees, will funding apply towards this?

No. It must be a 2-year institution (community college).

Is there a cap on how many credits a student can take in one academic year?

No. If a student wants to take the max number of credits allowed by a college to finish their certificate or degree early, that is allowed.

When can I start classes?

If the recipient is currently enrolled in a 2-year institution (community college), they can use MI ECHO to cover their next semester's tuition cost (as early as Winter/Spring 2022). If they are not currently enrolled, the recipient must complete these next steps in order to start college tuition-free: apply to and be admitted to a 2-year institution (community college) in Michigan and begin classes within 6 months of being admitted into the program, or reapply.

What are the participating institutions?

We are currently willing to work with any community college or tribal college in Michigan. However, please be mindful that the institution can make the decision whether to accept our funding or not.

Does the MI ECHO Scholarship only cover in-district tuition?

No. We cover any community college, regardless of it being in-district or not.

If I don't have a community College in my county, can I still be a part of MI ECHO Scholarship?

Yes. You can apply to any 2-year institution (community college) in Michigan.

How many credits can I enroll in if I am in the MI ECHO Program?

There is not a minimum or maximum number of credits a participant must enroll in. However, it is important to remember that a participant will only remain eligible until the completion of a degree or after 3 years of being admitted into the program, whichever comes first.

FUNDING

Will the money come directly to me?

No. The money will be paid out directly to the institution.

Will my entire tuition be paid?

The MI ECHO scholarship will cover tuition, contact hours, and all mandated expenses of participants.

What expenses are not covered by the MI ECHO scholarship?

MI ECHO does not cover non-mandatory expenses such as application and graduation/commencement fees, fees not charged to all students (i.e. fitness center, athletic fee, etc), textbooks and other course materials, transportation, housing and meals, and lab fees.

What semester can students awarded this scholarship begin using it?

Recipients can begin using this scholarship to cover their next semester’s tuition costs.

MAINTAINING ELIGIBILITY

What if I need to transfer schools as a MI ECHO participant?

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.

How long can I keep the scholarship?

As long as you maintain the requirements for keeping the scholarship, you can continue to receive the scholarship until one of the following happens: 1. You've earned your associate degree, or 2. Three years have passed since you were admitted as a MI ECHO participant.

Does MI ECHO cover repeated course(s)?

Yes, but up to a certain point. MI ECHO recipients can fail up to 5 courses since the beginning of their MI ECHO funded enrollment. After the 5th failure, the MI ECHO recipient could lose eligibility or be required to pay back.

What if I need to drop/add a course(s)?

Every MI ECHO recipient can access scholarship funds until the completion of their degree or 3 years after being in the program, whichever comes first. There may be times when you’ve registered for a course, the add/drop period has ended, and you aren’t sure if this is the right course for you anymore or you’re not able to continue taking it. That’s okay, but it’s important to know what that may mean for you.

If you are planning/considering withdrawing a course(s) during your participation in the MI ECHO Scholarship program it is important that you communicate with your coach, staff, or program director prior to the withdrawal. Failure to do so could impact your eligibility for funding in the future or you could be asked to repay the funding back to MI ECHO.

Regardless of who pays for the withdrawn course(s), it is important to remember that one of the requirements to maintain the scholarship is to maintain good academic standing to remain eligible for enrollment (satisfactory academic progress varies by institution) or maintain a 2.0 GPA following your receipt of the MI ECHO scholarship. If you withdraw from a course(s), it may impact this GPA requirement and you may be at risk of not meeting it. To review the requirements of maintaining the scholarship, visit our website.

It’s important to stay connected with your college and the MI ECHO staff – whether it’s an advisor, college completion coach, office of financial aid – to make sure you’re meeting the requirements of the scholarship and making the choices that are right for you to be able to complete your associate degree or certificate.

CONFIDENTIALITY & PRIVACY

Who do you share my information with?

Any information that you provide us with will only be shared with the institution you decide to attend, MCAN, and other approved parties who can impact the decision of eligibility.