(As seen on WZZM TV 13) Muskegon Community College recently launched a debt forgiveness program for former students who have had trouble paying back loans.
The program is meant to help students who have completed some coursework but haven’t finished a degree or certificate.
“This is a way to help those students reintegrate themselves into the college’s services and hopefully complete a degree,” MCC President Dale Nesbary said.
The goal is helping them finish will allow them to get into or remain in the workforce, he said.
“Everything we do is helping talent development in West Michigan,” he said.
Eligible students are being encouraged to re-enroll at the college under the MCC Debt Forgiveness Program.
The program is for former MCC students who have financial holds up to $1,200 with the college and who have not been enrolled at MCC for three or more academic years.
To be eligible for the program, students also must have and maintain a 2.0 GPA and commit to ongoing support services, such as mentoring and tutoring, designed to help them achieve their academic goals. They also must have the means to pay for future charges.
Students who agree to this contract and fulfill it will have their past due balance reduced incrementally over three semesters.
There are about 3,000 students who meet the initial eligibility requirements for the program, Nesbary said.
The college wants to ensure accepted students take full advantage of the program, said John Selmon, MCC provost and executive vice president. Application submission does not guarantee acceptance into the program. Each applicant’s situation is assessed individually.
Since launching late last month, Selmon said the program has received 45 applications, and seven have been accepted.
Former MCC students may apply for the program at muskegoncc.edu/debt-forgiveness-request.
Nesbary said he implemented the idea in response to a movement around the country to think about the issues regarding paying for education.
He said he looked at a similar program at Wayne State University that he thought would work well at MCC.
“They didn't get a tremendous amount of response, but they got some response, and it made a difference for those students,” Nesbary said. “So, we felt that it was something that we could do for our students, as well.”