Entrepreneurs: Get your degree with free in-district tuition at Michigan community colleges

The Michigan Reconnect program offers free tuition for Michigan residents ages 21 and over who have not yet earned a degree.

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Jodi Holland, soon-to-be graduate of Grand Rapids Community College, thanks to the Michigan Reconnect program. Photo by Andrew Schmidt, Grand Rapids Community College.

Is earning a degree or certificate on your to-do list for 2024? Michigan State University Extension and the MSU Product Center assist entrepreneurs in the food and beverage industry. These entrepreneurs typically have expertise in food and beverage production, but many lack knowledge about business accounting and management. This is where an associate degree can be extremely beneficial to people interested in owning or managing a business.

Jodi Holland is scheduled to graduate from Grand Rapids Community College in May 2024 and her tuition was covered through the Reconnect program. She will graduate with an associate degree in general studies and a Baking and Pastry Certificate.

Holland adds, “My education has made me a much more effective manager. I have so much more confidence because I’ve gained valuable skills that make me a better leader and employee. Now that I’ve completed school, I’m starting my own business making delicious cookies and treats with the skills I learned in school.”

Applications for the Michigan Reconnect program, which offers free in-district community college tuition for Michigan residents who have not yet earned a degree and who are age 21 or older, are now open. Students can earn an associate degree or Pell-eligible skill certificate.

When asked about applying for the program Holland said, “The hardest part about applying was getting over my fears. I hadn’t been in school in over forty years. The thought of going to school with a lot of people much younger than me was intimidating, but I knew this was my one shot and I was not going to blow it. I had to at least try and I’m so glad I did. I’ve made so many new friends and I have a whole network of people at GRCC who are rooting for me to succeed. I finished school without any student loans and zero school debt.”

More details about how to apply and details about the program can be found on the Michigan Reconnect program’s website at www.michigan.gov/reconnect. The deadline to apply is November 15, 2024.

Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan State University Product Center assist entrepreneurs and businesses in developing products and services in the food and agriculture markets. Its team of experts consult with clients on a one-on-one basis, helping new entrepreneurs navigate from concept development to launch and beyond. The MSU Product Center also offers specialized services such as labeling, packaging, and nutritional analysis. If you are interested in business counseling from the MSU Product Center, please visit our website.

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