Dec. 21, 2021, GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- School was never Morgan Brink’s thing.
“Honestly, I barely graduated from high school,” said Brink, now 32. “But today, I’m taking Honors classes at Grand Rapids Community College -- and I’m actually on the Dean’s List!”
So, why the turnaround? Brink credits her new love of learning to three things: maturity, a strict homework schedule and Michigan Reconnect.
Michigan Reconnect is a state scholarship program that provides free in-district tuition for those 25 and older who don’t already have a college degree. This fall, 998 students enrolled at GRCC through Reconnect.
The scholarships are changing the lives of people all over the state.
“After my husband and I lost our screen-printing business during the pandemic, I knew I had to reinvent myself,” said Brink, who lives in Wyoming with her husband, Brandon, and their two children, 5-year-old Thea and 2-year-old Beau.
“As a mom, you really don’t want to take away resources from your kids. But thanks to Reconnect, I can get my degree for free, and it won’t be a financial burden on my family.”
Brink is on track to graduate from GRCC in 2023 with an associate degree in marketing and plans to eventually earn a bachelor’s degree. One day, she hopes to start her own property management company.
Most of her classes are online right now, which works well for a busy mom. She hits the books at night and Mondays and Wednesdays, when the kids are at kindergarten and day care.
“I really try to do my homework when they’re not home so it doesn’t take away from my family time,” she said. “I’m definitely taking school a lot more seriously now that I’m older and I care about my family’s future.”
Along with Honors classes, making the Dean’s List and earning a Grand Rapids Community Foundation merit scholarship to cover the cost of her books, Brink also joined Phi Theta Kappa, an international honor society for two-year colleges.
“It’s actually kind of crazy how well I’m doing in school,” she said. “I feel like Reconnect gave me the launchpad to prove to myself that I really am capable of getting a college degree.”
This story was written by Beth McKenna.