BLUE BELL — Unemployed residents of Montgomery County who lost their jobs since the coronavirus pandemic began can get tuition assistance under a new program at Montgomery County Community College.

“These are challenging times resulting in many people losing their jobs due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Victoria Bastecki-Perez, MCCC president, said in a press release. “Montco wants to help residents who qualify recover by offering tuition waivers so they can affordably earn a credential or degree and obtain employment.”

Assistance through the Montco Recovery Tuition Assistance Program is available to any Montgomery County residents who suffered full- or part-time employment loss on or after March 6, the date of Gov. Tom Wolf’s Emergency Disaster Declaration, the college’s statement said. Supporting documentation is required.

“We applaud the Community College for stepping up and offering this important educational assistance to Montgomery County residents who need it most,” said Dr. Valerie A. Arkoosh, chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. “I encourage anyone who has lost their job during the pandemic to take a look into this new program. Through robust training and resources, people experiencing unemployment now have another option to get their career back on track.”

The program has already begun to garner praise from local organizations.

“Montgomery County Community College has been a valued partner in our efforts to transition dislocated workers into gainful employment,” said Jennifer Butler, executive director of MontCoWorks, which administers workforce programming to assist employers and job seekers in the county.

To qualify, applicants must enroll in and attend a degree, certificate or financial-aid eligible non-credit program during the spring 2021 semester at MCCC. In addition, applicants will be required to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and any grants or scholarships awarded will be applied before the tuition assistance.

The tuition assistance is available for both part-time and full-time students and is based on the number of credits taken.

Part-time students taking three to six credits will receive a maximum waiver of three credits.

Part-time students taking seven to 11 credits will receive a maximum waiver of six credits.

Full-time students taking 12 credits or more will receive a maximum waiver of nine credits.

Students taking financial aid-eligible, non-credit courses will receive a maximum tuition credit of $1,300 (a nine-credit equivalent).

Students will be responsible for all additional costs such as fees, books and course materials.

MCCC can conduct a Prior Learning Assessment of each applicant to determine whether any courses can be waived or credits applied for prior work experience, education and military training and experience as applicable. This can save students a substantial amount of time and additional costs in completing their education, the college said.

MCCC offers more than 100 degree, certificate and specialized workforce training programs in over 50 areas of study to help students start new careers upon completion or continue their education at one of MCCC’s 30 transfer partner institutions. MCCC students can study at the college’s campuses in Blue Bell and Pottstown, at the Culinary Arts Institute in Lansdale and online.

MCCC has frozen tuition rates for students for four consecutive years in an effort to make a college education an affordable investment. First-year graduates at MCCC can expect a return on their education investment of 100% to 300%, the college said.

Registration deadlines for spring 2021 are Jan. 20 for the 15-week and seven-week sessions, and March 22 for the second seven-week session.

For additional details on how to apply for the Montco Recovery Tuition Assistance Program, visit mc3.edu/montcorecovery.

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