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State Offers Extra Funding for Reconnected College Students

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The state is determined to get more working adults a college degree, certificate or license. Now they have even more money to help Michiganders get there.

The Futures for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect programs helped alleviate the cost of tuition for thousands of people and the programs are working. But a weakness in the program has emerged, the cost of everything else that comes with taking college courses as a working adult.

It’s like winning a free car on a game show, the car is free but you have to pay taxes, insurance fees, registration and gas. Same with school, free tuition is great but there are many other expenses.

“Every Michigander deserves a path to a good paying job,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer during a press conference Wednesday morning.

The Futures for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect programs are working, thousands of Michiganders have already taken advantage.

“Through free, or deeply discounted tuition, the Reconnect program has already removed a major barrier for thousands of working aged adults,” said Whitmer, “Empowering them to go after new career opportunities.”

The programs are aimed at working people getting back into school to better their career. These are people with jobs, kids and commitments. These get in the way of going to classes.

“They are getting a lot of help on tuition, and that’s fantastic, but you still have to put your child in daycare, you have to take time off work, you might have gas going back and forth,” said Matt Miller, of Mid-Michigan College, “These funds will help with all those kinds of expenses.”

Students are forced to make a choice.

“We see it all the time where they are very excited to have the tuition paid for but they are going to struggle to get books,” said Miller, “Or they can get books and then they get a flat tire when they start. Those funds are available to get that fixed and get back to the school.”

A new $6 million investment from the state, announced Wednesday morning, will be focused on handling those costs.

“That’s where a lot of these kinds of cracks in their foundation happen,” said Todd Neibauer of Northwestern Michigan College, “That is around these other costs.”

Not only more money for students and colleges but a renewed investment in higher education. A good sign for the future.

“Right now because of the bipartisan support and the kind of planning they are doing, they do feel like they have some degree of permanence,” said Neibauer.

Every student would be able to receive up to $550 an academic year, after they complete at least a semester in their program, to show they are committed to the degree.