Angeline Terry

MATC Spending $6.75 Million On Student Financial Relief

Debt forgiveness program uses federal pandemic aid to help almost 7,000 MATC students.

By - Jul 27th, 2021 02:44 pm


Milwaukee Area Technical College. Photo by Carl Baehr.

Milwaukee Area Technical College. Photo by Carl Baehr.

Milwaukee Area Technical College will spend approximately $6.75 million of federal relief funds to help students who were financially burdened by the cost of their education during the pandemic. 

$5.75 million will go towards forgiving student debt owed for MATC tuition and fees from spring 2020 to spring 2021. Funds will only be used for past due tuition fees owed to the institution and will not apply to debt from student loans. 

An additional $1 million will go to students who don’t owe MATC money but who experienced hardship paying tuition during the pandemic. Students who fall into this category can request up to $500. 

“We believe that it is crucial to reach out to help those students overcome debt at this time when so many are struggling,” said Vicki J. Martin, president of MATC. 

This funding came from the U.S. Department of Education’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, meant to provide pandemic relief. Allocations were determined based on the federal Education Department’s methodology, which prioritizes institutions like MATC that enroll a high number of Pell Grant recipients. 

The Pell Grant comes from a federal aid program designed to support undergraduate students who have a high amount of financial need. 62% of MATC students received Pell Grants based on statistics from fall 2020. 

The debt forgiveness program will help almost 7,000 MATC students who owe the institution an average of $825 from educational costs during the pandemic. Students will receive information about this and how to request money for tuition hardship in the coming weeks. For now, students can send questions to

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

MATC is Wisconsin’s largest technical college with a history going back to 1912. More than 30,000 students per year attend the college’s four campuses and community-based sites or learn online.

Categories: Education, Weekly

One thought on “MATC Spending $6.75 Million On Student Financial Relief”

  1. Wardt01 says:

    HEERF required that a minimum of 50% of the total money a college received to be allocated directly as “student grants”.

    MATC (and other institutions w similar PR releases this week) appears to be “forgiving debt” with dollars required to be “student grants”.

    There is a BIG difference between “student grant” and “debt forgiveness” and this nuance was addressed in the HEERF rules which explicitly state that “student grants” will not be counted as income on future FAFSA app’s, and “student grants” will not be counted as income for IRS tax returns.

    On the other hand, “debt forgiveness” is always considered income and is taxable, etc.

    I’m curious why the various colleges in the USA making HEERF announcements this week are all using similar language & similar structure of “debt forgiveness” instead of “student grants”. It seemed like back in Q1 and Q2… college’s were complying w the law by awarding “student grants” and then providing the student an option of using the grant to pay down any outstanding balance from the 2020-2021 school year. (ie: the student had the option to get the cash, or to pay down debt owed to the school).

    Something seems amiss….

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