Michigan Reconnect helps more than 1,100 students attend GRCC tuition-free

More than 1,100 people have been accepted to attend Grand Rapids Community College tuition-free through the Michigan Reconnect program, aimed at helping residents 25 and older gain new skills as the state emerges from the pandemic.

More than 70,000 Michiganders have been accepted into the program statewide, exceeding the government’s goal of 60,000 by Memorial Day, according to Gov.
Gretchen Whitmer and the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. Students can work toward an associate degree or a career skills certificate.

About a third of GRCC’s Reconnect students are already taking classes this summer. Of these, about 40% have restarted their education after time away — including about 10% who are picking up where they left off 10 or more years ago.

“Michigan Reconnect gives residents an opportunity to return to the classroom and advance in their career or gain new skills in emerging fields,” says Tina Hoxie, GRCC’s associate provost. “Take that step forward. No one needs to walk this journey on their own. We want students to be successful so our community as a whole is successful, and we will help them along the way.”

Tuition and fees

Reconnect covers resident-rate tuition and mandatory fees after other state and federal scholarships and grants have been applied. GRCC students living outside of the Kent Intermediate School District will pay the difference between the resident and non-resident tuition rates not covered by Reconnect or other financial aid. 

Reconnect is one of several programs available to students to reduce costs and potentially attend tuition-free.

More than 3,200 students were accepted by the state to attend GRCC through Futures for Frontliners, a program providing tuition-free education for people who worked during the COVID-19 shutdown. Eligible front-liners must begin enrollment in college no later than Fall 2021. 

Eligible students also can attend GRCC through the Grand Rapids Promise Zone Scholarship or with assistance from the federal Pell Grant program.

GRCC has online and hybrid class options, allowing students to schedule classes around home and work responsibilities.

Students’ success builds community

The bipartisan, $30 million Michigan Reconnect program is part of Gov. Whitmer’s plan to have 60% of the state’s residents earning a postsecondary degree or certificate by 2030.

“A talented and skilled workforce helps build a strong economy and puts Michigan on the map as a place for opportunity,” Whitmer said. “Businesses need skilled talent so they can thrive in our vibrant communities. I’m proud of the hardworking men and women who have taken the leap to continue their education, and I look forward to ongoing bipartisan work with lawmakers to connect millions of Michiganders to the resources they need to succeed in a good-paying career.”

People hoping to attend through Reconnect are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA. GRCC financial aid specialists are able to help with applications. 

Additional information is available at grcc.edu/reconnect, by calling the Reconnect hotline at 616-234-3366, and by emailing reconnect@grcc.edu.


Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.