Milwaukee Area Technical College will automatically forgive $5.75 million of debt owed to the college by students who attended MATC during the pandemic, using federal COVID-19 relief dollars awarded the institution by U.S. Department of Education’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF III).

Students who owe an outstanding balance to MATC for tuition and fees incurred from spring 2020 through spring of 2021 will have those debts forgiven by the college. This affects past due tuition and fees owed directly to MATC. It does not apply to debt from student loans.

“We know that the pandemic caused disproportionate financial hardships for our students,” said Dr. Vicki J. 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.”

Students who were enrolled at MATC during the COVID-19 pandemic and do not owe MATC money but who experienced a hardship in paying their account balances during this time may request up to $500 in relief as well. MATC is setting aside an additional $1 million dollars of HEERF III funds to assist those students, for a total of $6.75 million designated for this project.

“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,” added Dr. Martin. “This initiative will have a positive financial impact not only on our students, but also on the communities we serve.”

The U.S. Department of Education’s allocation methodology emphasized support for institutions enrolling a high number of Pell grant recipients. The MATC community is student-centered and has consistently allocated additional institutional portion funding to address student needs, above and beyond what is required by the Department of Education.

The debt forgiveness program will immediately help nearly 7,000 students who owe MATC an average of $825 for tuition and fees during the pandemic. Affected students will be contacted by the college by email in the coming weeks.

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