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Michigan opening sign-ups for free community college program

The $30 million Michigan Reconnect program offers an associate’s degree or skills certificate to adults age 25 and older
Delta College
Delta College(WJRT)
Published: Feb. 1, 2021 at 5:27 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Registration will begin Tuesday for a new program offering free community college tuition to 4.1 million adult Michigan residents.

The $30 million Michigan Reconnect program aims to provide an associate’s degree or skills certificate to anyone age 25 and older who lacks a college education. They can apply for free tuition to their local community college or to more than 70 private skills training schools.

Students can obtain education for in-demand careers like advanced manufacturing, construction trades, information technology, health care and business management.

“All Michiganders deserve a pathway to a good-paying job, whether they choose to pursue a college degree, technical certificate, or an apprenticeship,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “Michigan Reconnect will connect thousands of Michiganders to good-paying jobs and connect businesses with the talent they need to thrive in their communities.”

Eligibility for Michigan Reconnect scholarships is limited to students who:

  • Are at least 25 years old when they apply.
  • Have lived in Michigan for a year or more.
  • Have a high school diploma.
  • Have not yet completed an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

All community colleges in Michigan, including Mott Community College in Flint and Delta College in the Great Lakes Bay Region, will accept Reconnect scholarships. Students age 25 and older who are already enrolled in an associate’s degree or career training program can apply for a scholarship.

Only 41% of working-age adults have an associate’s degree or higher. She has set a goal of providing a college education to 60% of the state’s working age population by 2030.

Whitmer requested $30 million in funding from the Michigan Legislature in her budget proposal for this year.

“Even if Michigan were able to keep every high school and college graduate, it wouldn’t be enough to fill our state’s talent gap,” said State Sen. Ken Horn, a Republican from Frankenmuth. “Our aim with Michigan Reconnect is to meet our state’s workforce need by encouraging and assisting residents to afford and achieve a college credential or advanced certificate.”

Michigan Reconnect is separate from the Futures for Frontliners program, which offers free college or career training tuition for workers deemed essential during the coronavirus pandemic. More than 120,000 people applied for the program by the Dec. 31, 2020, deadline.

About 20,000 people who didn’t qualify for the Futures for Frontliners program would qualify for Michigan Reconnect, according to Whitmer’s office.

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