Flint, MI— Michigan residents 25 and older who don’t have a degree can apply for funding to cover their tuition costs at community colleges or skilled trade training programs through Michigan Reconnect.
The $30 million dollar program is the “largest effort in state history to ensure that more than 4.1 million Michiganders who are 25 or older and do not have a college degree will have an opportunity to earn a tuition-free associate degree or skills certificate,” according to a press release from the Michigan Executive Office of the Governor.
Applications for Michigan Reconnect opened to the public on Feb. 2. To be eligible, applicants must:
- Be at least 25 years old at the time they apply
- Have lived in Michigan for a year or more
- Have a high school diploma
- Have not yet completed a college degree (associate or bachelor’s)
Reconnect scholarships are accepted at all Michigan community colleges and include eligible adults who are already enrolled.
Clarence Jennings, assistant vice president of student success services for Mott Community College, said Michigan Reconnect is what’s known as a “last-dollar” program.
This means federal aid will be applied first and Reconnect will cover any remaining balance. If a student is not eligible for a federal aid, Reconnect will pay the full tuition amount.
Michigan Reconnect will only cover the in-district rate. For example, those who live in Genesee County, pay MCC’s in-district rate of $143.58 per contact hour, or the number of hours spent in the classroom. Students who live outside the county pay $183.40 per contact hour and would pay the $40 difference out of pocket. Books and other materials are not covered by Reconnect.
In Flint, 35% of residents have completed high school yet only 9% have their associate’s degree, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
“I’m excited for this community. This Michigan Reconnect will allow, I think, a lot more individuals to receive a post-secondary certificate and associate’s degree…and in this community, there’s not as many folks that have those degrees,” Jennings said.
MCC offers a variety specialized programs for careers that don’t require a bachelor’s degree.
“We offer nursing, we offer dental assistant, dental hygiene, HVAC, automotive. These are high-demand, high-income positions that don’t require you to have a bachelor’s degree… Michigan Reconnect will cover students looking to transfer to a four-year degree, but a student can leave Mott Community College with a degree and go right to work and make very good wages,” Jennings said.
MCC also plans to hold virtual information sessions and will post the dates and times on their website once available.