The State of Michigan announced a program this year that will allow any Michigan resident to earn a tuition-free two-year associate degree from a community college or skills certificate. The new free community college scholarship, called Michigan Reconnect, is an initiative that offers a historic tuition-free chance for more than 4.1 million Michiganders age 25 and over to earn an associate degree or skills certificate.
Michigan Lags Other State in Advanced Education
As of 2019, only 41% of Michigan’s working-age residents had an associate degree or higher, placing Michigan at 31st in the nation. According to the Michigan Community College Association, the average age of Michigan’s 365,232 residents currently enrolled at a community college is 25.7 years old, and more than 36% are 25 or older. Private firms such as EssayAssistant point out that many students require assistance with research and writing skills.
Michiganders without a college degree or training credential often face economic challenges. For example, a 2020 analysis by the American Association of Community Colleges reports the median earnings of full-time employees with a high school degree is $40,510 annually, while those with an associate degree make $50,079 per year, based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
The Michigan Reconnect Program
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and a bipartisan group of legislatures announced the $30 million Michigan Reconnect program back in February 2021. “I’m proud of the hard work that has gone into creating this historic new opportunity and look forward to continuing bipartisan work with lawmakers toward our goal of ensuring 60% of Michiganders will have a postsecondary degree by 2030.”
Michigan Reconnect will pay the cost of tuition for eligible adults who want to pursue an associate degree or skills certificate at their in-district community college. The program also offers 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, healthcare, or business management.
Eligibility and Applying for the Michigan Reconnect Program
To be eligible for Michigan Reconnect, you must:
- Be at least 25 years old when you apply
- Lived in Michigan for a year or more
- Have a high school diploma
- Have not yet completed a college degree (associate or bachelors)
Reconnect scholarships are accepted by all Michigan community colleges and are even available to eligible adults already enrolled in their local community college. The program pays the remaining tuition and mandatory fees after other state and federal financial aid has been applied. In addition, for those who choose to attend an out-of-district community college, Reconnect will pay the in-district portion of tuition.
You can submit applications at Michigan.gov/Reconnect.
Public Community Colleges in Mid Michigan
Delta Community College – University Center (South of Bay City)
Delta College is a community college dedicated to serving Saginaw, Midland, and Bay counties. The campus at University Center Michigan has both Delta College and Saginaw Valley State University. Fifteen thousand students are enrolled at the college. Delta has more than 140 programs to choose from. Delta Community College ranked 18th best in Michigan from the website Academic Influence.
For the Michigan Reconnect program, legal residents (as defined by the college) of Bay, Midland, or Saginaw counties only are considered in-district for this college.
Mid-Michigan Community College – Harrison
Mid Michigan Community College (MMCC) is a public community college with two campus locations in Harrison, Michigan, and Mount Pleasant, Michigan. The college was founded in 1965 to offer one- and two-year certificates and associate degrees in transfer, occupational, and health science programs. Mid-Michigan Community College ranked 23rd best in Michigan from the website Academic Influence.
For the Michigan Reconnect program, the college’s in-district area consists of the public-school districts of Beaverton, Clare, Farwell, Gladwin, and Harrison.
Kirkland Community Collage – Grayling
Kirtland Community College in Michigan awards college degree and certificate programs. These include transfer associate degrees and areas of study in arts and sciences, business, professional programs, industrial trades, health science, public safety, and other programs. In addition, evening and online courses are available. Kirkland Community College ranked 13th best in Michigan from the website Academic Influence.
For the Michigan Reconnect program, all residents in the Kirtland College District are considered in-district for Kirtland Community College in Michigan.
Lansing Community College – Lansing
Lansing Community College offers 230 various associate degree and certificate programs. Each year approximately 1,150 courses are conducted on its main campus in Lansing and its satellite locations. LCC is also known for its National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium Training Center. Most of the classes in this center are located at the college’s West Campus. Student enrollment is 18,000. Lansing Community College ranked 19th best in Michigan from the website Academic Influence.
LCC’s location in downtown Lansing and its close proximity to Michigan’s capital and the state’s main library make the college campus an ideal research location for those students writing a thesis. In addition, it’s not uncommon for students at nearby Michigan State University to enroll for prerequisite classes at an economic rate.
For the Michigan Reconnect program, residences of the following districts are elidable; Bath, Dansville, Dewitt, East Lansing, Grand Ledge, Haslett, Holt / Dimondale, Lansing, Leslie, Mason, Okemos, Stockbridge, Waverly, Webberville, and Williamston.
Macomb Community College – Warren
The college’s offerings include university transfer, early college, professional certification, workforce development, continuing education, and enrichment. In addition, through its nationally acclaimed University Center, which opened in 1991, it offers bachelor’s degree completion and graduate-level programs. Macomb Community College ranked 12th best in Michigan from the website Academic Influence.
Students who live within or own property in Macomb County are defined as residents and are therefore considered in-district for this college. In addition, veterans or Service Members of the U.S. Armed Services and their dependents are considered resident students and will be charged in-district rates.
Montcalm Community College – Sidney
MCC is a public community college with its campus in Sidney, Michigan. Founded in 1965, Montcalm Community College had a registration of 2,080 students in 2005. Montcalm Community College ranked 14th best in Michigan from the website Academic Influence.
If you live in one of the following school districts or counties, this college is in the district: Carson City-Crystal Schools, Central Montcalm Public Schools, Greenville Public Schools, Lakeview Community Schools, Montabella Community Schools, Tri-County Area Schools, and Vestaburg Community Schools.
Mott Community College – Flint
MCC offers over 100 different degree and certificate programs and hundreds of specific classes. In addition, the college offers degrees, college transfers, or career training. The Commission accredits mott Community College on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Mott Community College ranked 10th best in Michigan from the website Academic Influence.
Students are considered in-district for this college if they live within the boundaries of the Genesee Intermediate School District.
St. Clair County Community College – Port Huron
SC4 offers Associate degree and certificate programs. It also provides online classes and transfer programs to four-year institutions. In addition, working with University Center partners, students can earn Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees without even leaving the SC4 campus. SC4 has learning centers in Harbor Beach, Algonac, Yale, Peck, and Croswell, and its main campus in Port Huron. Through these regional centers, SC4 serves a large portion of the Thumb region of Michigan. SC4 ranked 22nd best in Michigan from the website Academic Influence.
The current district is based upon St. Clair County K-12 school districts and does not include persons living in St. Clair County who reside in Anchor Bay, Armada, Richmond, Brown City, or Croswell-Lexington school districts.
To see if you live within a community college district, check out this map to find the college’s dedicated district area.
Hot Jobs in The Michigan Thumb Region 2021
The following jobs require skilled workers with a certificate or associate degree from a community college. These jobs are in demand in Huron, Tuscola, Sanilac, St. Clair, Lapeer, Genesee, and Shiawassee counties.
- Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics – Median Hourly Wage: $ 17.08
- Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses – Median Hourly Wage:$ 23.23
- Machinists – Median Hourly Wage: $16.06
- Maintenance and Repair Workers, General – Median Hourly Wage: $15.84
- Medical Assistants – Median Hourly Wage: $14.08
- Nursing Assistants – Median Hourly Wage: $14.72
- Personal Care Aides – Median Hourly Wage: $ 11.09
- Pharmacy Technicians – Median Hourly Wage: $ 13.60
- Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters – Median Hourly Wage: $ 33.86
- Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers – Median Hourly Wage: $16.38