Michigan community colleges rally at state capitol for positive changes
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - April is Community College Month. And for the first time in four years, nearly 100 community college officials and students gathered at the Michigan State Capitol on Thursday asking for changes that will make their schools better.
President of Michigan Community College Association, Brandy Johnson, said community colleges “are really the epicenter of workforce development and training for our labor market. Many of our students start at community college to save money, maybe live at home, before they transfer to a four-year university without so much debt.”
Officials from Michigan’s 31 community colleges are asking for investments and policy changes. Johnson said some investments have already been introduced. One example, she said, is the Michigan Reconnect Program for adults 25 and older.
“So, it’s a place where adults that want to skill up or change careers or take that next step in their education can come to so many of our colleges. And if you’re 25 or older, it’s likely that it will be tuition free.”
Henry Ford College’s president, Russ Kavalhuna said roughly 270,000 Michiganders are currently enrolled in community colleges across the state. During the “Day at the Capitol”, lawmakers listened as representatives like Kavalhuna shared the impact their programs have on students and communities. He said, “Legislators can know that they receive an eight to one return on investment in community colleges. That means for every dollar they give us, we return eight dollars in economic development in our communities.”
A community resource for taking the steps toward a better life.
“Community colleges also provide dual enrollment opportunities for high school students. They provide community enrichment for older Michiganders, our senior citizens,” said Johnson.
Michigan’s Community College Association encourages graduating high school seniors to complete a financial aid form online. Doing so gives them a chance to receive up to $2,750 per year (for up to three years) toward an associate’s degree.
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