Michigan's College Access Blog

First Year of Future Corps Ends in Success

Program Spotlight: Future Corps

An amazing first year of Future Corps will soon come to a close. Michigan College Access Network is celebrating the accomplishments of the pilot high schools, whose hard-working students and staff sponsors made the program successful. MCAN also is preparing to expand Future Corps, and invites more high schools to take part in this student-driven initiative that increases college enrollment.

During the 2014-15 academic year, three high schools participated in the first of a two-year Future Corps pilot program. Each school selected eight ambitious, well-networked students to serve on a Future Corps team, and a staff member to sponsor the team and support their work in the school. These students were specially trained on how to run peer-to-peer campaigns that reinforce Michigan’s college access initiatives, which include increasing college application submissions, Federal Application for Student Aid completion, and academic enrollment. Each school that participates in Future Corps receives:

  • Opportunities to increase school-wide college application and FAFSA  completion rates;
  • Participation in the four-day Future Corps Workshop for two Future Corps students and a faculty sponsor;
  • Professional development training for the faculty sponsor;
  • Leadership training sessions with College Summit coaches and student leaders; and
  • Staff and student trainings on college access and success technology, such as mobile apps.

According to the Future Corps team at Hillsdale High School, an impressive 98 percent of the senior class applied to college or the military during College Application Week. “We put notices on Facebook and Twitter about our classmates applying to college,” said Karri Shalosky, Hillsdale High School Future Corps Team. “We got hundreds of ‘LIKES’ and our message reached thousands of people!”

The school and its Future Corps team also intend to participate in First Lady Michelle Obama’s FAFSA-Completion Video Challenge, and are making plans to celebrate College Decision Day and evaluate FAFSA-completion results. Because peer-to-peer advocacy is a key component of Future Corps, the program helps high school counselors maximize their efforts to inform all graduating seniors about college access resources, and celebrate the completion of important steps in the enrollment process.

“Our FAFSA Party was a success,” says Future Corps Sponsor Mindy Eggleston. “We had 28 students attend. We provided food, gave away prizes, and posted the winners on our Facebook and Twitter pages. We also had about 10-12 parents who showed up with their students. Students at Hillsdale High School are definitely talking about college and students are realizing that if they want it – they can do it!” Eggleston’s sentiment is shared by the students.

Join Future Corps

MCAN is currently accepting proposals from high schools that wish to strengthen their college-going culture by participating in Future Corps. Participating schools must agree to the following:

  • Select a counselor or teacher to sponsor the Future Corps team;
  • Send Future Corps captains and sponsor to a four-day summer training;
  • Host a professional development session for Future Corps students to train faculty on the latest college access technologies;
  • Participate in a series of peer-to-peer campaigns to increase college knowledge and attainment;
  • Organize meetings with the school principal and Future Corps students to review campaigns and progress;
  • Provide College Summit feedback for improving the program; and
  • Spend $5,000 all-inclusive which will be matched with $5,000 from MCAN

To apply or to learn more visit micollegeaccess.org/statewide-initiatives/future-corps.

Christ Taylor headshot 2013Author: Christi Taylor, director of statewide initiatives and special projects

Posted: March 4, 2015

AdviseMI to Increase Number of College Advisers in High Schools

Program Spotlight: AdviseMI

MCAN is Proud of Our University Partners!

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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

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