MATC expands its free-tuition Promise program to more students

MATC Promise donor Chris Abele; David Dull, former chairperson of the MATC district board; and Vicki Martin, MATC president.

Last updated on October 22nd, 2021 at 01:25 pm

Milwaukee Area Technical College is widening its free-tuition Promise program to students who have received GED credentials and other equivalency diplomas.

Up to now, the Promise program has been available at MATC to new high school graduates who meet certain requirements and to adults who have started but haven’t finished college.

MATC announced Friday that eligible groups now include new graduates of the college’s Adult High School and students who have earned GED (general education development) credentials and HSED (high school equivalency diploma) credentials. Those students will be eligible to enroll for spring, summer or fall 2022 semesters.

“We are excited to expand the MATC Promise for New High School Graduates to include a very important population,” said Vicki Martin, president of MATC. “Graduates of GED and HSED programs and the MATC Adult High School are often students whose high school experience leads them to want to continue their journey by going on to college. By opening eligibility for the MATC Promise, we are making college tuition free so they can benefit from a family-sustaining career by enrolling in our programs. It also gives us the opportunity to recognize their tremendous achievement and help them move forward in their educational goals.”

Promise programs are last-dollar scholarships, meaning they cover the gap after other federal and state aids and scholarships are applied. The result is free tuition for the student, but it does not cover the cost of books, program fees and equipment.

To qualify, students bust be eligible for federal Pell Grants as determined by FASFA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and live in the MATC district.

MATC first launched the program for high school graduates in 2015, which then was the first Promise program in the state. It expanded the program to adult returning students in 2018.

The program is funded through a public-private partnership. MATC has secured $3.4 million in support of the program, with about 300 private donors having given to date.

Philanthropist and former Milwaukee County executive Chris Abele has invested a total of $1.25 million in the Promise programs over the years.

Altogether, MATC’s Promise programs have served more than 2,000 students, with nearly 400 having completed an associate degree, technical diploma or certificate.

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