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Governor Whitmer Celebrates Three-Year Anniversary of Michigan Reconnect
February 12, 2024
More than 150,000 Michiganders are on a tuition-free pathway to in-demand, higher paying jobs
On the heels of the three-year anniversary, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer celebrated the significant accomplishments of the Michigan Reconnect scholarship that has helped put more than 150,000 Michiganders on a tuition-free pathway to a degree or skills certificate that leads to rewarding careers and higher wages.
"The bipartisan Michigan Reconnect program has put 150,000 Michiganders on a tuition-free path to a brighter future,” said Governor Whitmer. “I am so proud of everyone who has taken action to pursue their dreams by earning an associate degree or skills certificate. This year, let’s pass a balanced budget to deliver on the Michigan Guarantee so every Michigander can get a public education from pre-K through community college for free. Together, we can grow our economy, ensure everyone can ‘make it’ in Michigan, and lead the future of advanced manufacturing. Let’s keep working towards our Sixty by 30 goal by lowering costs and expanding opportunity.”
Michigan Reconnect is the largest effort in state history to ensure eligible Michiganders who do not have a college degree will have an opportunity to earn a tuition-free or deeply discounted associate degree or skills certificate. Since the program’s launch in February 2021, more than 150,000 Michiganders are benefitting from this tuition-free opportunity – including 8,500 applicants who are age 21-24 taking advantage of the limited-time expansion. Of these applicants, more than 32,000 Reconnect students have enrolled at a community or tribal college and more than 4,400 have earned credentials.
Michigan Reconnect is one of the signature programs moving the state toward achieving its’ Sixty by 30 goal to increase the number of working-age adults with a skill certificate or college degree to 60-percent by 2030. Michigan has increased its attainment rate from 45% in 2019 to 51.1% in 2022, according to the latest Lumina Foundation report.
This past October, Gov. Whitmer announced the limited-time expansion of Michigan Reconnect for adults ages 21 to 24, which opened the doors of opportunity for up to 350,000 more Michiganders to earn a tuition-free associate degree or skills certificate. For those wanting to take advantage of the limited-time expansion, applications must be submitted by Friday, Nov. 15, 2024.
"We are continuing to create new paths to postsecondary education for Michiganders and opportunities for our Michigan businesses to fill critical talent needs so they can continue to compete and grow,” said Michelle Richard, acting director of the Michigan Department of Lifelong, Education, Advancement and Potential. “We are proud of the progress made on the state’s Sixty by 30 goal and are excited to continue providing opportunities to Michigan residents to create a more fulfilling career path for themselves.”
This past year, Michigan Reconnect also launched the Short-Term Training Program, which allows students to choose to attend a career training program in Michigan and receive a one-time scholarship up to $1,500 towards tuition costs. For those wanting to take part in the Short-Term Training Program, applications must be submitted by Sunday, Dec. 15, 2024.
"Michigan's community colleges work tirelessly to provide students opportunities to ensure they are successful in their postsecondary endeavors,” said Michigan Community College Association President Brandy Johnson. "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 skills and credentials that they need to prosper in today’s economy."
To ensure, Reconnectors’ success, Reconnect Navigators are in place to assist students starting on their path to a college degree or certificate. This includes applying for federal student aid, setting a career goal, selecting a program of study, registering for classes and creating a plan to graduate. Every Wednesday from 5 to 6 p.m. interested students can join members of the Navigator team for one-on-one program support to and help with completing their FAFSA.
Learn more about Michigan Reconnect and get started at Michigan.gov/Reconnect.