GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A total of $6 million in grants will be available for students who are part of the Michigan Reconnect program or the Future for Frontliners program to help pay for costs outside of tuition.

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist announced the funding on Thursday at Grand Rapids Community College, which has about 1,000 students in each program. The grants are available to help students pay for things like books, transportation and childcare.

The Michigan Reconnect program launched in February of 2021 and offers free or reduced tuition for students who are 25 years or older who do not yet have a college degree. There is already $55 million marked for the program in the state’s 2023 budget.

One woman who is taking part of the program spoke at Thursday’s event about how it has impacted her life.

“The reconnect program is changing my life and is changing the way my kids see things, too,” she said. “My kids watch everything that I do: from hours of studying to going with me to the book store. They are here with me now and they will be there this spring when I walk at commencement.”

This month, the program hit the milestone of accepting 100,000 students.

The Future for Frontliners is a similar program for Michigan residents who worked in essential fields during the COVID-19 shutdown.

Gilchrist said the goal is to bring the number of adults in the state with either a degree or a training certificate up to 60% by 2030.

“This program is about helping people … complete education they may have previously started. But life happens and sometimes people are not able to finish their educational experiences,” he said. “These wrap around services, the level of $6 million worth of funding, will help people have what they need to be able to actually finish.”

More information about the two programs can be found online at or