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'I was over the moon': $30 million state program offers free community college to Michiganders

Deanna Madewell
Posted at 7:35 PM, Feb 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-03 21:37:46-05

LANSING, Mich. — Deanna Madewell is a single mother. She's been unemployed throughout the pandemic, trying to make ends meet to take care of her 2-year-old son, Hunter.

Now, she’s feeling optimistic about her future because of Michigan Reconnect, a $30 million dollar state initiative that will cover in-district community college tuition for Michiganders 25 and over who do not have a college degree.

The program passed the state legislature with bipartisan support, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced it on Tuesday.

Madewell, who lives in Lansing, is hoping to attend Lansing Community College.

“I was over the moon about this, because this is such a good opportunity," she said.

She wants to go back to school for business administration.

“This is a way that I can not only use my degree but provide a better future for my son and I,” she said.

Whitmer hopes the program will help the state reach one of her administration's goals: for 60 percent of the state's working age adults to have a college degree or industry-recognized certificate by 2030.

“Research shows that when adults earn degrees and gain new skills, they have the ability to advance in the workplace, earn higher wages and fulfill their life dreams,” said state Rep. Sarah Anthony, a Lansing Democrat.

Approximately, 4.1 million Michiganders are eligible for the program, and because of that community colleges are predicting a rise in enrollment.

“We expect to see folks who have wanted to come to LCC for a long time actually be able to come do that because of this bipartisan investment,” said LCC President, Steve Robinson.

Aside from making students more marketable to employers, Robinson said “with Michigan Reconnect, there are even more opportunities for students to move through higher education with less debt.”

The program will also help local businesses retain and gain skilled workers.

“Through this initiative, we are leveraging all the resources across state government” Whitmer said. “We are partnering with leaders, businesses and beyond to rebuild our economy back better, by creating an environment where businesses of all sizes can grow and succeed.”

The application for the Michigan Reconnect program is now open. Click here for more information on how to apply.

Erica Murphy

Erica Murphy

1:21 PM, Mar 03, 2021

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Erica Murphy

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