MATC helps returning adults finish what they started with tuition assistance

By Erin Eagan

 

A high school education alone no longer guarantees a stable career. In today’s workforce, the majority of good-paying jobs require some postsecondary education or training. By 2020, the Georgetown CEW predicts that more than six out of 10 jobs will require skills and knowledge beyond what a high school diploma can provide.

For high school students, being armed with this knowledge will help guide their career pathways. But there is currently a large population of Americans ages 25 years and older who would like to further their education in search of a better life. Many of these are adults who enrolled at college, but life got in the way and they stopped taking courses.

Returning to school as an adult presents unique challenges with full-time jobs, family and other responsibilities taking priority, in addition to the financial burden of tuition and other fees. The barriers that stand between adults and postsecondary education can feel overwhelming, which is why some communities are working to reduce certain barriers for low- to middle-income adults.

Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC), which was the first in the state to offer a Promise program for new high school graduates, is again at the forefront of helping those in the community further their education. Last May, as an expansion of its Promise program, MATC launched MATC Promise for Adults, providing free tuition for low- to middle-income adults who meet the following eligibility requirements:

● 24 years or older and live in the MATC district
● Have an annual family income of $56,000 or less (based on federal student aid application)
● Have earned at least six college credits but have not earned an associate or bachelor’s degree
● Have been out of college for at least two years

“We are offering this program in direct response to the urgent needs of our community — where area employers are desperate to fill the middle-skill jobs, while at the same time many local residents lack the resources and support to gain the degrees necessary for these positions,” said MATC President Dr. Vicki J. Martin when the program was announced. “We want to ensure that the tuition and finances are not the reason people with financial challenges cannot return to school. We want everyone to have an opportunity to better their lives, while providing the talent pipeline for area employers.”

The MATC Promise for Adults is made possible by public and private funding. Donations can be made online