Michigan's College Access Blog

Building Bridges: The Creation of the MCAN Higher Education Advisory Board

Recently, we formally established the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) Higher Education Advisory Board. The board, comprised of higher educational institutions across the state, will work collaboratively to increase college access and completion rates throughout the state of Michigan. By partnering directly with colleges and universities, we hope to strengthen our relationship with higher education institutions and, in doing so, get closer to reaching our Big Goal – 60 percent degree attainment by 2025.

MCAN works closely with local communities in order to build a college-going culture and lower barriers for students as they prepare for life after high school. That’s why we’re so thrilled to be fostering and formalizing a relationship with higher education institutions across Michigan. So far, there are 57 colleges and universities represented within the MCAN Higher Education Advisory Board — 85 percent of all public and private college and universities in the state! They are:

Adrian College Kalamazoo College Northwood University
Alma College Kalamazoo Valley Community College  Oakland Community College
Andrews University  Kellogg Community College Oakland University
Aquinas College Lake Michigan College Olivet College
Baker College Lake Superior State University Saginaw Valley State University
Bay College Lansing Community College Schoolcraft College
Calvin College Macomb Community College Siena Heights University
Central Michigan University  Madonna University Southwestern Michigan College
Cleary University Marygrove College Spring Arbor University
College for Creative Studies  Michigan State University St. Clair County Community College
Concordia University Ann Arbor  Michigan Technical University University of Detroit Mercy
Cornerstone University Mid-Michigan Community College University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Delta College Monroe County Community College University of Michigan-Dearborn
Eastern Michigan University Montcalm Community College University of Michigan-Flint
Ferris State University Mott Community College Walsh College
Glen Oaks Community College Muskegon Community College Wayne County Community College
Grand Rapids Community College  North Central Michigan College Wayne State University
Grand Valley State University Northern Michigan University West Shore Community College
Jackson College Northwestern Michigan College Western Michigan University

By having a formal relationship – and a single point of contact from each college and university – the MCAN Higher Education Advisory Board will help inform and shape college access programming by providing feedback on our strategies from a higher education perspective. We are confident that the group will strengthen our local college access networks, statewide initiatives and the AdviseMI program.

MCAN is dedicated to making college accessible for all Michigan residents. As the leader in the state’s college access movement, MCAN’s mission is to increase Michigan’s college readiness, participation and completion rates, particularly among low-income students, first-generation college going students, and students of color. We’re thrilled to be collaborating more closely with colleges and universities across the state and look forward to working collectively toward Goal 2025.

To learn more about the MCAN Higher Education Advisory Board, visit www.micollegeaccess.org/goal-2025/higher-education-advisory-board.

Author: Brandy Johnson, Executive Director, Michigan College Access Network
Posted: April 7, 2017

Supporting School Counselors: MCAN Launches a New Scholarship Program for School Counselors

The Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) works to increase college readiness, participation and completion for Michigan students, particularly among low-income students, students who are first in their families to pursue higher education, and students of color. One of our organization’s goals is to ensure individuals working with students are equipped with the best information and training available.  School counselors work each and every day with students and, therefore, have become one of MCAN’s greatest champions and allies in this work.  We believe they are well poised to lead the charge in ensuring students are socially, academically, logistically and financially prepared for postsecondary education. 

We know that schools are often unable to provide funding for school counselors to attend state and national conferences and trainings. That’s why MCAN has prioritized providing resources to directly to school counselors.  In addition to our highly successful School Counselor Postsecondary Planning Training Course and aggressive advocacy efforts, MCAN has recently launched a Michigan School Counselor Professional Development Scholarshipprogram. This program is geared specifically for school counselors who are interested in receiving college and career readiness training. This funding opportunity will help ensure school counselors are able to assist all students in the development of their postsecondary education plans with the most relevant and up-to-date information available.

Scholarships are available on a rolling basis on an annual basis.  Applicants are encouraged to contact MCAN when considering an application for confirmation that funding is still available.

We encourage you to share this opportunity with school counselors in your community!

For more information contact, Jamie Jacobs, senior director of capacity building, jamie(a)micollegeaccess.org, 517-316-1713


Author:Domonique Clemons, Program Assistant,Michigan College Access Network
Posted: March 28, 2017

Zip Codes

The theme for this year’s MCAN conference is Champions for Opportunity: Prioritizing Michigan’s College Attainment. My work is focused on helping educators become champions of college opportunity, so needless to say, I’m excited for this conference! My personal mission is to ensure that student outcomes are not determined by zip code, and I do this by ensuring that teachers have what they need to help all students achieve at high levels.

I work for an educational nonprofit, AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination). At AVID, we have a saying: When teachers are engaged, all students succeed. Our focus is on providing the best resources, training, and research-based strategies to our educators. We impact students through giving teachers what they need to help more students be college-ready. We care about teachers, and the tools and support that they receive, because we were founded by a teacher.

In 1980, Mary Catherine Swanson, an English teacher in San Diego, California, saw many at her school lowering expectations and giving up on the new students who were being bussed in from San Diego’s lower-income areas (aka, the wrong zip codes). Swanson felt that it was her moral imperative to create real college opportunities for these students. That year, she created AVID—a class that provided academic and social support, raised expectations, and gave those first 32 AVID students the opportunity to become college- and career-ready. Today, 37 years later, AVID serves 1.5 million students in 46 states and 16 other countries/territories.

Our data tell the story of AVID’s impact in closing the achievement gap. AVID seniors outpace the national average of enrolling in college for the first fall term after high school. This success is exceptional considering that AVID’s student population is largely comprised of students who are underrepresented in higher education. AVID students are also persisting in college at higher rates. Our latest data show that 85% of AVID students overall are persisting into year 2 of college versus 78% nationwide.

We have a goal of ensuring that all students reach their full potential, and we meet this goal through partnering with schools and working side-by-side with teachers, administrators, and district leaders to create new opportunities for students.

The vital question for all of us to consider is: How many more students do we want to impact? Will we let students slip through the cracks or settle for the status quo? I shared the story of AVID’s founder because it continually inspires me to push for better opportunities for all students. If you’re reading this, I think it’s safe to say that you’re with me in this fight. I’m excited to be a part of Michigan’s work to impact more students and help all of them achieve their college dreams, and I’m also excited to meet all of you at the upcoming MCAN Conference, so we can discuss ways to champion college attainment for all students.

If you want to learn more about how AVID partners with schools and the research-based strategies that we provide, please contact me by email at vpeterson(a)avid.org or by phone at 773-426-8912. I hope to meet you at the MCAN Conference, as well.


Author: Dr. Valerie Peterson, Partner Engagement Manager, AVID
Posted: February 15, 2017

National School Counseling Week is Underway; MCAN Supports Our School Counselors!

This week, Feb. 6-10, we celebrate National School Counseling Week. The effort, which is sponsored by the American School Counselor Association, will focus public attention on the special contributions of counselors within the U.S. school systems.

Michigan College Access Network is thrilled to join in this celebration of school counselors. We believe that school counselors are well poised to lead the charge in ensuring students are socially, academically, logistically and financially prepare for postsecondary education. To all of the hard-working school counselors out there, we see you! There are many resources available to help promote National School Counseling Week. We also encourage you to review the following opportunities available throughout the year from MCAN:

School Counselor Postsecondary Planning Training Course
The Michigan College Access Network and Michigan Virtual University co-host an annual training course in postsecondary planning for Michigan school counselors. Participating counselors complete an eight-month, professional development course that focuses on the college-going process and combines web-based and in-person instruction. Counselors accepted into the course will receive an $800 scholarship to complete the course at no cost, with the exception of personal travel to and from three, in-person sessions in Lansing. Registration for the 2017-18 cohort will open in April 2017. Learn more.

College Access Professional Development Scholarships
MCAN now provides scholarship funding to school counselors to attend non-MCAN trainings and conferences to support their professional development. This funding opportunity helps ensure school counselors are able to assist all students in the development of their postsecondary education plans with the most relevant and up-to-date information available. Scholarships are available on a rolling basis until allocated funding is depleted within the fiscal year, which begins October 1 annually. Learn more.

MCAN Annual Conference
On March 13-14, MCAN will host its seventh annual conference, Champion for Opportunity: Prioritizing Michigan's College Attainment. More than 400 community leaders, educators and college access professionals will gather in Lansing for the event. The conference theme will emphasize the importance of prioritizing college attainment in Michigan in order to advocate for our students' success and embrace our role as champions for college attainment strategies. School counselors are welcome and encouraged to attend! Register now

College Access Awards
Each year, during the annual conference, MCAN honors the organizations and individuals whose efforts go above and beyond to improve postsecondary attainment. The College Access Awards features eight award categories that recognize individuals and organizations that have had a tremendous impact on increasing college readiness, participation, and completion in Michigan, particularly among low-income and first-generation students and students of color. School counselors figure prominently in the awards program. In particular, the Chief Mate Award honors an individual school counselor or counseling program that has made “significant strides in advancing the college readiness and enrollment supports and services to students…” The Steward Award recognizes an individual or organization that has dramatically contributed to “increasing the skills, talent, and knowledge of college access professionals” – such as school counselors and advisers.

This National School Counseling Week, remember that MCAN supports and applauds the work of school counselors! We encourage participation in National School Counseling Week activities, to draw attention to this important work. Be sure to download the free resources, including a social media toolkit, sample morning announcements, sample press release, photo challenge signs, and much more! Show your support on Twitter by using the hashtag #NSCW17.

Author: Jamie Jacobs, director of capacity building 

Posted Feb. 7, 2017

Michigan College Access Network | 200 N Washington Square, Suite 210, Lansing, MI 48933 (map) | (517) 316-1713 Contact Us | Site Map | Terms and Privacy