Record $1.28 million in NMC scholarships awarded

Number of student recipients rises 45 percent

Traverse City — Northwestern Michigan College has awarded a record amount of scholarship dollars to a record number of recipients this academic year, another example of NMC’s commitment to break down barriers to education, including financial.

As of Feb. 3, the college had awarded $1.28 million in scholarships to 964 recipients for the 2019-20 school year. That’s a 12-percent increase in dollars awarded and a whopping 45 percent increase in recipients. In 2018-19 the college awarded $1.14 million to 662 recipients.

NMC Director of Financial Aid Linda Berlin said the increase is the result of process enhancements undertaken to encourage more scholarship applications, so that available funds are fully awarded. Enhancements included a second application cycle, a communication plan to students and a reformatted, more user-friendly application.

As a result, applications grew from 22 percent of students in 2016-17 to 28 percent last year. Simultaneously, scholarship funds awarded rose from 74 percent of available to 82 percent. Berlin expects to see those numbers continue to improve this year and next.

“We’re trying to make (scholarships) more accessible to all our students, and we’re trying to get the message out, it’s not just about merit,” Berlin said. Financial need, area of study, and hometown are all common scholarship award criteria.

Scholarship funds are donated through the NMC Foundation, which has made scholarships one of four priority areas in its current $35 million Be What’s Possible comprehensive fundraising campaign. Read more.

Recipient Dani Valentine, 26, is in her second semester at NMC. For the fall 2019 semester, she got a $500 scholarship. This spring, she was awarded two more totaling $1,500. After earning her associate’s degree at NMC, Valentine plans to complete her bachelor’s through NMC’s University Center, and then complete a graduate degree in optometry at Ferris State.

“It’s definitely a long road, but because of scholarships I feel like I can do this,” Valentine said.

One of her spring scholarships is the Global Opportunities scholarship for students studying abroad. Valentine will use the $1,000 to participate in NMC’s first-ever trip to Iceland. She plans to earn NMC’s Global Endorsement in addition to her degree.

“I think it will help set me apart for anything I apply for in the future, as far as jobs or grad school,” she said.

The average 2019-20 scholarship award is $1,327. Berlin said that her office is trying to keep the average above $1,000. Tuition and fees for a student like Valentine -- a Grand Traverse County resident enrolled in 12 contact hours per semester and studying an NMC general program -- total $1,714 per semester.

“I’m really just super grateful for all these scholarships, not just for me, but anybody,” Valentine said. ‘It really does make a huge difference. Any small amount really helps.”

  • To help students and families learn how to pay for college, NMC will hold its annual Financial Aid Fair from 4-7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12 in the Osterlin Building. This event is a comprehensive overview of the cost of college, types of financial aid, finding and applying for scholarships, and a special session for Native American students. Individual assistance is also offered.
  • A culinary scholarship-specific workshop will be held from noon-2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14 at Lobdell’s Teaching Restaurant on the Great Lakes campus.
  • A tech-aviation scholarship-specific workshop will be held from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26 in Parsons-Stulen 217/219 on the Aero Park Campus.

Release date: February 5, 2020

For more information:

Diana Fairbanks
Executive Director of Public Relations, Marketing and Communications
(231) 995-1019


Northwestern Michigan College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, height, weight, marital status or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.