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Students, staff reflect as Michigan Reconnect enters second year

Posted at 11:09 AM, Mar 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-04 11:10:23-05

LANSING, Mich. — It’s been a little over a year since Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced Michigan Reconnect, a $30 million state initiative that will cover in-district community college tuition for Michiganders 25 and over.

We introduced you to single mother Deanna Madewell one year ago when she decided to take advantage of the program at Lansing Community College.

“With the Michigan Reconnect, everything has been easy. I know that sounds simple but they take care of everything,” said Madewell.

Studying ultrasound sonography, she is is 1 of 1,903 students at LCC who have taken advantage of the program.

LCC has seen a sharp decline in enrollment that past 10 years.

In Fall of 2010, there were around 22,000 students at the school, compared to just over 10,000 in the Fall of 2021. That number still stands at this time, but the school hopes this program will help over time.

“The financial support from the state of Michigan has been appreciated,” said Interim Associate Dean of Career Pathways at LCC, Michael McGinnis. “Some students see finances as the biggest burden. Another thing is students who may have left LCC due to financial debt to the college, we’ve got some forgiveness programs for them.”

It’s a similar story at Jackson College. Officials there said their enrollment has also decreased.

In 2019, the college had over 6,800 students enrolled. There were over 5,800 students in 2021.

Officials told FOX 47 the total amount of students enrolled for 2022 had not been calculated yet, but they are anticipating it will be higher because of Michigan Reconnect.

So far, more than 600 students at the college have taken advantage of the program.

“Whether or not you went to college or never stepped foot on a college campus it really knows down barriers and only thing you really have to do is apply for FASFA,” said Andrew Spohn the Financial Aid Director at Jackson College.

Madewell says she’s determined to finish school because she’s not just doing it for herself.

“I just want to do bigger and better things in life, my 3-year-old deserves that."

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