Milwaukee Area Technical College announced it will automatically forgive $5.75 million of debt owed by students who attended the college during the COVID-19 pandemic.
MATC will use federal COVID-19 relief funding to cover the debt that students incurred for tuition and fees from spring 2020 through spring 2021.
MATC said its debt forgiveness program will immediately help nearly 7,000 students who owe an average of $825 for tuition and fees during the pandemic.
The forgiveness applies to past due tuition and fees owed directly to the college, not debt from student loans.
“We know that the pandemic caused disproportionate financial hardships for our students,” said Vicki Martin, MATC president. “We believe that it is crucial to reach out to help those students overcome debt at this time when so many are struggling. Recipients are not required to enroll in MATC in the fall semester, but we hope this will provide the opportunity for many students to return to college this fall to continue studies, which will lead them to jobs with family-sustaining wages. This initiative will have a positive financial impact not only on our students, but also on the communities we serve.”
Funding comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.
In addition to the debt forgiveness, MATC is setting aside $1 million of those funds to help students who were enrolled at the college during the pandemic and don’t owe money but did experience a hardship in paying their account balances. Those students can request up to $500 in relief.