GRCC President Pink says bipartisan state budget agreement will boost opportunities, make college more accessible

Grand Rapids Community College leaders are applauding Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Legislature for a budget agreement providing additional resources for Futures for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect programs to make a college education more accessible and help West Michigan’s recovery from the pandemic.

The budget increases funding for Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners – programs covering the cost of in-district tuition for eligible residents – and also includes funding to help provide support services to help students be successful and complete their credential.

The budget deal, which the governor said she’ll sign into law before the end of the month, also includes a one-time 1 percent increase for operations at universities and community colleges, with a one-time 4 percent increase to help keep tuition costs down. 

“I applaud the Governor and the Legislature for this bipartisan plan recognizing the important role community colleges play in helping residents change their lives and boosting our economy,” GRCC President Bill Pink said.

“We are seeing the impact the Futures for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect programs are having. People of all ages in our community are starting their college pathway, or picking up where they left off – sometimes 10 or 15 years ago. These are opportunities to change their careers and help their families.

“While I also appreciate the one-time increase for operations in the budget, one-time funding makes it difficult to create sustainable student-supporting programs. I look forward to continuing this conversation with our lawmakers about the challenges and opportunities community colleges will face beyond this year.”

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