MCC launches tuition-free program for qualifying students

By: Maria Allard | C&G Newspapers | Published May 19, 2023


MACOMB COUNTY — In an effort to further provide opportunities to students who want to earn associate degrees, Macomb Community College has launched Macomb Tuition Advantage.

Macomb Tuition Advantage, effective immediately, will provide free tuition to Macomb students with a combined family income of $70,000 or less. The program is open to students already enrolled in the college or for those who plan to start in the fall of 2023 and are pursuing an associate degree program.

“We’ve been working on this for the last several months. We’re always looking for opportunities to provide additional support,” Macomb President James O. Sawyer IV said. “Earning a college credential remains a key factor in sustainable employment and earnings. Macomb Community College is committed to ensuring the transformative power of education is within the financial reach of all, regardless of year of high school graduation, previous attempts at attending college or current residency.”

The Macomb Tuition Advantage program is open to anyone attending or interested in attending the college. Students do not have to be a Macomb County resident to apply.

“This is not a loan,” Sawyer said. “It’s similar to a scholarship.”

According to a Macomb press release, the median income in Macomb County is $67,828. To be eligible for Macomb Tuition Advantage, an individual’s annual family income must be $70,000 or less with assets of $50,000 or less; be registered or register at Macomb; and have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.   

Any federal and state grants the student is eligible for will be applied first, with Macomb’s program covering the remainder of tuition and fees owed. Students enrolled in the Macomb Tuition Advantage program must be enrolled full-time, which is a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester, and maintain a 2.0 grade point average. The program is renewable for up to three academic years.

Assets of $50,000 or less, based on the FAFSA, are considered the following: total cash balance in checking and savings, net worth of investments that does not include the primary home, and a net worth of any business or farm.

In many cases, college officials predict many of the Macomb Tuition Advantage students will be those who are already pursuing associate degrees through two state tuition-free programs, Futures for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect.

“The college will cover the balance. We have seen programs that take tuition and fees out of the equation for prospective students, such as Michigan Reconnect, are a real game changer for many members of our community,” Sawyer said.

“Macomb Tuition Advantage is building on this proven approach and taking it a step further by broadening access to critical financial support to those who need it,” he continued. “The program supports the college’s commitment to fostering student success and degree completion, providing the financial means so students can focus on steady progress through their program, and encourages a college-going culture to support the long-term vitality and prosperity of our community.”

As per the press release, the state also has introduced a new program for 2023 high school graduates known as the Michigan Achievement Scholarship. It will provide up to $2,750 annually for students to attend a community college beginning in the fall of 2023.

The funding for the Macomb Tuition Advantage will be provided by the Macomb Community College Foundation. The Foundation, established in 1999, is a nonprofit organization that manages monetary contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations to benefit the college.

The foundation raises money for educational scholarships for Macomb students. Contributions are deductible on federal tax returns and are eligible for State of Michigan tax credits. Donors are asked to consult their tax advisors for further information.

Sawyer stressed that funding for the Macomb Tuition Advantage will come from “a different pool of money” than that which is used for the scholarships.

“A lot of the scholarships are endowments,” Sawyer said. “This will not displace the other scholarships.”

For more information on the Macomb Tuition Advantage or to apply, visit and scroll down to the “Macomb News” headline. From there, click on the “Macomb Community College launches tuition-free program” heading and scroll to the end of the new release for the link to apply.