April 28, 2021

Change of Summer Plans

I wrote recently about taking a couple of college classes this summer to finish a degree... not for any reason other than to just have it completed, because I am only two credit hours shy of an associate degree. I've been in contact with the school's financial aid advisor because of the Michigan Reconnect program--the program is for people 25 and older, who have not earned a degree and want to return to college, they can attend their county's community college tuition-free to earn a degree.

When I read the guidelines, it said you have to take a minimum of 6 credit hours per semester for the scholarship, so I registered for two (3 credit hour) classes this summer. I just picked two classes that sounded interesting to me.

Since then, however, the financial aid advisor called me and said that there was going to be a problem with the MI Reconnect scholarship. Apparently, since I only need two credit hours, I'm not eligible because I have to take six credit hours of classes--but since I don't actually *need* that extra class to graduate, the scholarship won't cover any of it. I happen to fall into this margin that isn't really accounted for.

However, I learned something really interesting that is making me rethink this whole thing...

The advisor said that if I want to change programs of study (right now, they just have me listed as a general "Associate of Science" degree), I can take all the classes required to fill that degree--with the MI Reconnect scholarship. So, she said that if I changed my program to "Accounting" for example, I could take all of the classes required to get an associate degree in accounting. That's a huge game-changer! I may not want to do that at all, but it's something to think about for sure. Now, there are several options:

If I was to just take a single class to get my degree, the door for the MI Reconnect scholarship is closed. The advisor said that if the single class is all I want to do, just to finish out the degree, she could get me a grant or scholarship to cover the cost of the class and the books. That's option one.

I could choose a new program of study, and then take the classes needed (tuition-free) as long as I take six credit hours per semester--option two. The problem with this is that I have no idea what program I'd want to do. The community college in my county doesn't offer any programs that I am very interested in (it's known for its nursing program, but I definitely don't want to do that).

Option three: I could choose an out-of-county community college that has a program I am interested in, but the scholarship wouldn't cover all of the tuition--it would only cover about half of it. This is somewhat interesting to me, because there is a college in Flint, Michigan that has a program for an autopsy assistant--something that I would be very into. (When I was in high school I wanted to become a forensic pathologist, but I didn't want to go through all of the schooling--you need to go through medical school.) An autopsy assistant works with a forensic pathologist. This would be a positive because if I actually choose to use the degree, it would be something that I'm really interested in.

Option four: I could do nothing. I'm totally fine without having a degree. The only reason I even looked into it was because I happened to notice that I was only two credits shy of an associate degree.

College is super expensive, so if I had to pay for all of it out-of-pocket, I wouldn't want to do it. But I feel like this Michigan Reconnect scholarship is too good of an opportunity to pass up. And even if I don't plan to use the degree, I really think that I would like taking classes and learning new things--especially if it's a topic I'm interested in.

Just for the heck of it, I had my transcripts from EMU and my community college sent to the college in Flint. I'll see exactly what it would cost me out-of-pocket, and if it's reasonable, I'd like to do it. (It's an hour and a half away, which is a long commute, so I'll have to see what the class schedules are like as well.)

In the meantime, though, I dropped the two summer classes I'd registered for so that I can figure out what I want to do. I wish my local college had a program I was interested in because that would make it easy to decide. But, I'm already twice the age of 95% of the students there, so if I should wait a couple of months--or even a year--to decide, it's not going to make any difference! Haha.


  1. Katie the only thing I will add to your decision making process is that you're going to blink and your boys will be out of the house. It would be nice for you to have some kind of job that you're interested to keep you busy. I was a stay at home mom for many years doing just part-time jobs here and there. I had an opportunity at the end of my son (my only) being in 8th grade an I'm so glad I did because when he leaves for college I think having a job to go to every day will make it easier - that's part of why I decided to go back to work full time. -Beth

  2. If you take a couple of courses at the Flint CC, would you be able to transfer those credits back to your original CC? And if so, would that enable you to complete your associate's degree at the original CC? Just a thought that you might get a "twofer" out of it. And if you decide the commute to the Flint CC is too long or something, then you would've gotten something out of it.

  3. I'm voting for Option #2 in Accounting. I seen your budget post and you have a knack for numbers, but beyond that accounting opens the doors for so many things, more quickly than any other degree if you had to find employment super fast. You could always end up doing the books for a forensic pathologist. And don't forget about auditing, the other side of accounting, there are forensic auditors as well..

  4. I'll chime in with a follow your heart pitch. Go for the autopsy assistant!! Whether you do it now or wait until your boys are grown, chase the dream. You won't regret it. Yours truly, Dream Chaser!

  5. Katie, you are honestly great at many things! What about all of the skills you have acquired in building and architecture? You are a "Jill of All Trades!"


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