GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As many prospective college students deal with rising tuition costs, a credit union in Michigan is offering up a unique scholarship competition.

The mid-Michigan-based credit union LAFCU, formerly known as Lansing Automakers Federal Credit Union, is offering $20,000 scholarships through its “write to educate” contest.

The contest has been going on for close to 15 years. Winners are determined not by academic performance or financial needs, but by a one-page essay.

Each of the four winners will receive a $5,000 scholarship to an accredited Michigan college or university. All the essays must be focused on an assigned topic. We talked to contest organizers about this year’s theme, which is all about how students would change the workplace.

“Every workplace right now I think in America, particularly since COVID, has been greatly impacted. So whether it’s not enough staffing, whether it’s the great migration of like retirements, the mass exodus. Now companies have learned how to do the remote work,” said Kelli Ellsworth Etchison, LAFCU chief marketing officer and chief diversity officer.

She said the contest will help employers gain insight into the values of the next generation.

“So just really wanting to hear from that age group what’s important to them and how would they like to change the workplace if they could impact change, which I think that they can. And I think that most employers today really would benefit in hearing from that demographic,” Etchison said.

The contest is for high school seniors only, but students from all over Michigan can apply. Entries must be submitted online by March 31. To apply, click here.