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AdviseMI to Increase Number of College Advisers in High Schools

Program Spotlight: AdviseMI

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With a student-to-counselor ratio exceeding 700-to-1, the Michigan College Access Network recognizes that Michigan high school students need more one-on-one support to complete the complex process of seeking college admission and financial aid. MCAN is committed to expanding the quantity and quality of college-access professionals working in Michigan high schools, which is why it created the AdviseMI program. AdviseMI will partner with 40-50 new high schools that are interested in hosting a full-time college adviser to support the work of school counselors.

Since 2010, MCAN has partnered with the College Advising Corp to establish college-advising programs at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. Today, the two programs collectively hire 42 near-peer college advisers who are recent college graduates. The advisers serve 52 high schools and 36,000 students; many of whom are low-income and first-generation, college-going students. Despite major growth in the number of advisers available, many high schools remain in need of such services.

The goal of the AdviseMI program is to increase the number of high school students who enter and complete postsecondary education. Program advisers will complete an intensive five-week training session that enables them to help students navigate the college-exploration process, take college admissions tests, apply to suitable colleges, complete the Federal Application For Student Aid, and matriculate to college. Advisers serve a critical role as expert, mentor, champion, and guide to the students they serve. They also play a transformative role in the buildings in which they are placed, by partnering with staff and faculty to foster a college-going culture, and providing much-needed supplemental support to school counselors.

During the upcoming 2015-2016 academic year, MCAN will partner with several new universities to recruit, hire, train and support the near-peer advisers who will work on behalf of AdviseMI. MCAN also is now seeking proposals from high school administrators and counselors who wish to dramatically increase their college-going rates through a systemic team approach, and are committed to supporting a dedicated, full-time college adviser.

Interested high schools should complete an application, provide several assurances, and include two letters of support. Participating high schools also must commit to a minimum of three academic years in the program, and provide a portion of funds for the adviser. Host high schools will be announced at the MCAN Annual Conference on April 13, 2015. 

To learn more about the AdviseMI program and view the Request for Proposal, visit www.micollegeaccess.org/statewide-initiatives/advisemi. If you have questions, contact me by calling (517) 316-1713 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The deadline for submitting an application is March 16, 2015.

Jamie Jacobs headshot 2013Author: Jamie Jacobs, director of professional development

Posted: Feb. 18, 2015

Proposed Funding Increase for Statewide College and Career Preparation

This week Gov. Rick Snyder released his FY2016 Budget proposal and we are thrilled to see Gov. Snyder has proposed to increase funding to support statewide college access initiatives for students. The proposal includes increase funding for the state's college and career readiness activities from $2 million to $3 million through the Michigan College Access Network.

Much of the increase will go to expanding college access activities for Michigan high school students. Those of you familiar with our work at MCAN know we help fund the placement of dedicated college advisers in high schools and organizes outreach efforts to make students and parents aware of the steps necessary to pursue education beyond high school. Additionally, our funding supports statewide college access campaigns, professional development opportunities, and grants to local college access networks.

Funding will be distributed through the Talent and Economic Development Agency to MCAN and will be used for:

  1. Access to local college networking program and services
  2. Increasing participation and graduation rates through local college access networks
  3. Support "Advise Michigan" program in recruiting, training, and placing current college graduates in becoming college advisors in high schools for low-income and first-generation students
  4. Granting mini-scholarships to high schools that display efforts in encouraging and assisting students that are applying for college
  5. Support Michigan College Access Portal, a portal that provides free support and resources for all students and parents that simplify the process from transitioning from middle to high school or from high school to college
  6. Increase awareness and outreach programs in assisting student and parents to apply for federal student aid

We're excited to work with the new Talent and Economic Development Agency, because like us, they are committed to investing in our talent in order to supply a workforce that meets future market demands. We know postsecondary education is essential to help people succeed professionally or advance in their careers.

The governor also proposed to increase funding to community colleges and public universities, teamed with a funding increase based on student-centric, best practices of the colleges. We applaud this commitment to put our students first.

Our state must ensure more young people are enrolling in and completing postsecondary degrees and certificates, because 70 percent of all jobs in Michigan will require postsecondary education by the year 2020.
We appreciate the Gov. Snyder's commitment to making this goal a reality.

Brandy Johnson headshot 2013Author: Brandy Johnson, MCAN executive director

Posted: February 13, 2015

Raising the Bar on FAFSA Completion

LCAN Spotlight: Detroit College Access NetworkFAFSA bulletin board

Michigan College Access Network stresses the importance of student completion of a Federal Application For Student Aid as a critical step toward fostering a college-going culture. First Lady Michelle Obama also has taken up the cause with her FAFSA Completion Commencement Video Challenge.

Today, we highlight the Detroit College Access Network and its 2015 campaign goal to grow students’ FAFSA-completion rates to an impressive 80 percent. Already, DCAN attained a 70 percent FAFSA-completion rate in its 2013 and 2014 FAFSA-completion campaigns, a tremendous increase from 54 percent the previous year. This year, in coordination with MCAN’s new College Cash Campaign initiative, DCAN seeks to “move the needle” even further. DCAN's strategy is coordinated by a FAFSA Action Team, which includes the Detroit Regional Chamber, Accounting Aid Society, United Way for Southeast Michigan, and Detroit Public Schools.

 “FAFSA is a leveraging point to help build a college-going culture in high schools. We want students to push further to pursue higher education,” says Ashley Johnson, K-12 program manager for Excellent Schools Detroit. “DCAN and its partners are combining the local and state campaigns. We are embedding the College Cash Campaign into our efforts and also want Detroit heavily represented in the First Lady’s video challenge.” Thus far, 17 DCAN schools have signed up to participate in the in the College Cash Campaign.

To initiate the FAFSA Campaign, DCAN hosts a launch and learning summit for counselors, college advisors, and other college-planning personnel that outlines exactly how to improve FAFSA completion among students. They also ask each high school to participate in the state and national FAFSA campaigns, share current FAFSA-completion numbers, and utilize the Michigan Department of Treasury FAFSA Completion Initiative.

When asked about recommendations for other LCAN’s seeking to improve their schools’ rates of FAFSA completion, Johnson outlined a comprehensive approach:

  1. Remove barriers by offering high-quality FAFSA training to counselors.
  2. Leverage the existing campaigns, such as the First Lady’s video challenge and College Cash Campaign.
  3. Encourage schools to create representative teams made up of administrators, teachers, counselors and students.
  4. Educate about resources available, such as the FAFSA completion name-by-name look-up tool.
  5. Promote a college-going culture that pushes beyond FAFSA completion.
  6. Leverage existing relationships. If there is an entity that already has a great relationship with students’ parents – partner with them to help communicate your message to a broader audience.

“Without the hard work of school counselors, this work wouldn’t happen,” says Johnson. “It’s not just about FAFSA. It’s about creating an entire culture of college going and planning. Push your FAFSA campaign beyond just FAFSA.”

To learn more about the Detroit College Access Network, visit www.moveed.org/partner/detroitcollegenetwork/.

To learn more about the College Cash Campaign, visit www.micollegeaccess.org/statewide-initiatives/college-cash-campaign.


Lisa King headshot 2013Author: Lisa King, public relations consultant for Michigan College Access Network




Posted: February 4, 2015

Celebrating our School Counselors

The first full week of February brings us closer to spring sunshine, and also celebrates an important effort – National School Counseling Week. Sponsored by the American School Counselor Association, National School Counseling Week highlights the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve academic success and plan for a postsecondary education.   

I heart my school counselor picmonkeyed

Over the past few years, MCAN has dedicated a great deal of its energy to providing support to school counselors across the state. As the leader of our professional development strategies, I have gotten to know hundreds of Michigan’s school counselors who are working tirelessly to ensure students receive the support and guidance they need to succeed after high school.  

In honor of National School Counseling Week, MCAN partnered with the Michigan Association for Secondary School Principals and the Michigan Association for College Admissions Counseling to co-host a summit for school administrator and school counselor teams. The summit, “Reaching Higher: Creating a College Going High School,” happens to be today and will bring together more than 100 teams from schools across the state of Michigan. Note: Due to inclement weather, the February 2nd summit has been cancelled. See below for additional information. These teams are committed to building stronger relationships, partnerships, and strategies to ensure Michigan’s students receive the highest quality educational experiences that can be provided.  

You’ve likely heard me say it before (but it is worth repeating), at MCAN, we believe school counselors are well poised to lead the charge in ensuring students are socially, academically, logistically and financially prepared for postsecondary education. School counselors are uniquely positioned to change the postsecondary education trajectories for all students. In order for counselors to effectively lead the college access movement in their buildings, however, they must have the capacity, administrative support, and formal preparation in college counseling. The summit is our next step in supporting the role of school counselors in this movement.

Who was your school counselor? What impact did he or she have on your school experience and your life? Have you ever told that person? National School Counseling Week would be a great time to track down that ol’ school counselor of yours, and send them a quick note of appreciation.  

School counselors, we salute you!

Looking for more ways to celebrate National School Counselor Week? Check out these ASCA resources.

Due to hazardous weather conditions, the College Going Culture Conference scheduled for Monday, February 2nd is cancelled. MASSP, MCAN and MACAC are disappointed to cancel the conference, but agree that the safety of our participants and speakers is paramount. Please look for further communication regarding possible rescheduling of the event and/or refund information. Thank you and please be safe!


Jamie Jacobs headshot 2013

Author: Jamie Jacobs, director of professional development for the Michigan College Access Network




Posted: February 2, 2015 

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