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  • Alicia Wallace

Michigan Works! Tuition Assistance Program Helps RN Student Focus on Education, Not Bills


Rachel Graham was a single mom, who at forty, decided to change careers and enter nursing school. Though she worked, she knew she would not be able to continue working full time, as well as pursue the full time RN classes at NCMC. She struggled with the idea of not having enough income to pay my bills, as well as having immense student loan debt after school was done. In the end, Rachel chose the path of school, part-time work, and searching out as many scholarships as possible to help ease her financial burden. Her search led her to Michigan Works!


During her first semester of nursing school, Rachel was awarded class room training assistance from Michigan Works with the help of Career Navigator Rachel and Career Advisor Niki. This assistance helped Rachel pay for her books, uniforms, and necessary supplies for the program. Throughout the rest of the program, Michigan Works assisted with the cost of gas in travelling to school and clinicals, which was very helpful considering her commute.


Throughout her nursing program at NCMC, Rachel was repeatedly on the Dean’s and President’s List, receiving a GPA of 3.72 overall. She was a member of the Student Nurses Association and often spoke on behalf of NCMC’s students with guests of the college, as requested by faculty.


“Nursing school in itself is a challenge, no one can dispute that,” says Rachel. “Nursing school during a pandemic is a whole other story! I learned that using all available resources is absolutely necessary to be successful, and that often means a little hard work and preparation can make the busiest times less stressful. Having this assistance from Michigan Works! enabled me to focus on school, rather than having to work full-time, which played a huge role in my experience.”


“I graduated with high honors and a very small student loan. Even before graduation, I was hired at Munson Healthcare Charlevoix Hospital on the Medical-Surgical floor. I began my career as a graduate nurse one week after receiving my diploma, and even before passing the NCLEX a month later, I had paid off my student loan, which was a huge relief. Now that I am a Registered Nurse, I am in the process of beginning my bachelor’s program in a few months. What a wild ride!“

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