Michigan Reconnect Program now open to students 21 and up

Published: Oct. 3, 2023 at 9:49 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 4, 2023 at 11:27 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - “Reconnect is changing people’s lives, it’s already made a real difference for tens of thousands of Michiganders. And with today’s expansion over 350,000 more are able to pursue,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

More people in the state of Michigan getting a chance at a tuition-free pathway to education and skills they couldn’t obtain. State officials, educators, and students gathered at Lansing Community College to kick off the expansion of the Michigan Reconnect Program, which originally welcomed students ages 25 and up, now expanding to students aged 21 to 24.

Victor Rich, a student at Lansing Community College says he struggled with distance learning during the pandemic and faced financial challenges attending college.

“COVID kind of ruined that with being able to get person-to-person help. Being in class with a setting of teachers being able to help you, perfect way to go,” said Rich.

Rich waited until he was 21 to attend college and will pursue a degree in STEM, now eligible to get his associate degree tuition-free.

“I can’t express how good that felt to be able to have all that pressure released from me. Especially for my family.”

Jamie Jacobs of the Michigan College Access Network says the goal of the program is to help students gain credentials for jobs that offer higher pay in hopes of improving their communities.

“And we have folks that are then more likely to civically engage, more like to vote, more likely to volunteer. There is a direct correlation between an individual’s education and the community they live in’s benefit from that opportunity,” said Jacobs.

An opportunity to pursue goals with fewer roadblocks, while setting examples for others who share similar doubts.

“Here is a guy who didn’t start off college right at 18. Who didn’t have the money for it, was able to get that and survive off that, and people can say, if that guy can do it why can’t I?”.

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