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Breaking Down Educational Barriers

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In the past, we have talked a lot about the importance of career pathways and how they serve as the foundation of fulfilling, financially stable lives. So, when a statewide initiative that provides Michigan residents with professional education was announced, we were excited to share it with our readers!

In February 2021, a bipartisan group of legislators approved $30 million to launch a new program that would pay for the tuition of adults pursuing an associate degree or skills certificate called Michigan Reconnect. To qualify for this program, students must be 25 years old when they apply, have lived in Michigan for a year or more, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and have not yet completed a college degree.

All over the Great Lakes State, community colleges are expecting an increase in enrollment and Kalamazoo Valley Community College (Kalamazoo Valley) is no exception.

“People see Kalamazoo Valley Community College as a part of Kalamazoo’s bedrock,” said Kalamazoo Valley’s Associate Dean of Student Experience Alisha Cederberg. “We want to be an institution where students can land and pursue their dreams. We realized that a lot of our new students are not going to be 18-,19-, or 20-year-olds.”

To Cederberg’s point, Kalamazoo Valley has seen a 20-percent increase in FASFA applications for this year. While a clearer picture of the data will not be available until the fall, the college is prepared for an increase in numbers due to the opportunities that this program provides.

“Education ensures that people have a seat at the table, whereas not having an education can disqualify them,” Cederberg explained. “Thanks to Michigan Reconnect, we can reduce financial barriers and make returning to an education easier. Folks in Kalamazoo definitely understand the benefits of free tuition, thanks to The Kalamazoo Promise, and now there is a state program for adults.”

For those looking to take advantage of this opportunity, there is no better time than the present. Cederberg encourages anyone who is interested in using Michigan Reconnect to connect with Kalamazoo Valley with inquiries.

“We are here to support those who want to upskill in their current job, look for a career change, or work towards a bachelor’s degree,” she shared. “Just send us an email, schedule an appointment, join a Zoom information session, or call us.”

To stay updated on the latest Michigan Reconnect news and how it relates to Kalamazoo Valley, visit the college’s website.

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