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Governor Whitmer Announces More Than 91,000 Students on Tuition-Free Pathway at One-Year Anniversary of Michigan Reconnect

Governor Gretchen Whitmer today marked the one-year anniversary of Michigan Reconnect by announcing that 91,000 Michiganders are on a tuition-free pathway toattain degrees and skills for new opportunities that lead to rewarding careers and bigger paychecks under the Michigan Reconnect program. Michigan Reconnect is one of the tools the state is using to achieve Governor Whitmer's Sixty by 30 goal, which aims to increase the percentage of adults in the state with a postsecondary degree or credential by 2030.

"I want to congratulate all of the hardworking Michiganders who took the first step toward a brighter future, all while balancing so many other responsibilities," said Governor Whitmer. "Whether it's a registered apprenticeship, an industry-recognized certification, a technical certificate, an associate degree, a bachelor's degree or beyond, higher education or skills training opens so many doors. We have an ambitious but attainable goal to reach 60% of working-age adults with a postsecondary credential by 2030. Programs like Reconnect help us put Michiganders first and continue growing our economy."

Michigan Reconnect is the largest effort in state history to ensure that Michiganders who are 25 or older and do not have a college degree will have an opportunity to earn an associate degree or skills certificate with free or deeply discounted tuition. Since the program's launch in February 2021, more than 91,000 state residents have been accepted into the program with over 12,000 scholarship participants currently enrolled in a degree or skills certificate program.  

Governor Whitmer and legislative leaders announced a budget agreement last September to fully fund Michigan Reconnect in FY 2021-2022. 

"The bipartisan work of the governor and lawmakers will make it easier for working adults to achieve their educational, career and life goals." said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. "The governor and I will continue to work with our partners to boost educational attainment beyond high school, and I encourage anyone looking to advance their education and skills needed to pursue and land a good-paying job in a rewarding career to apply for Michigan Reconnect today.

Since the announcement of the Sixty by 30 goal in 2019, the percentage of working-age adults with a certificate, associate degree or higher has increased from 45% to 49%.

"More Michigan families are within reach of a college degree or skills certificate thanks to efforts like Michigan Reconnect," Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director Susan Corbin said. "We are creating new paths for fulfilling careers for our workers and opportunities for our Michigan businesses to fill critical talent needs so they can continue to compete, grow and innovate."

Michigan Reconnect pays the cost of in-district tuition for eligible adults who want to pursue an associate degree or skills certificate at any of Michigan's public community colleges, including its three tribal colleges. 

The program also included skills scholarships to help cover the cost of tuition through more than 70 private training schools with 120 programs that offer certificates in high-demand careers in industries such as manufacturing, construction, information technology, health care or business management. Nearly 850 students took advantage of this limited opportunity and enrollment for this portion of the scholarship has closed.

The state's network of Michigan Reconnect Navigators are actively working with nearly 15,000 Michigan Reconnect applicants to guide them on their path to a college degree or skills certificate, including applying for federal student aid, setting career goals, selecting a program of study, registering for classes and creating a graduation plan. 

"Michigan's community colleges work tirelessly every day to change lives of students and make the communities they serve better places to live, learn, and work," Michigan Community College Association President Brandy Johnson said. "Our member institutions are honored to partner in the state's Sixty by 30 initiative because there's nothing more important than equipping people with the training and credentials that they need to achieve prosperity."