Press Releases

Next article

Next

Michigan College Access Network Commends Gov. Whitmer, Calls for Focus on College-Going Students During COVID-19 Crisis

The following is a statement from Ryan Fewins-Bliss, executive director of MCAN:

April 9, 2020 — LANSING, Mich. — “The COVID-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus has significantly altered the lives of people around the world. We thank Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for making tough decisions to protect Michigan’s citizens. These decisions have a major impact on our K-12 education systems, postsecondary institutions as well as students and their families. Today’s extension of the Stay Home, Stay Safe order until April 30 is no doubt based on the scientific forecasting that has been guiding the state’s decisions.

Now, more than ever, Michigan College Access Network is committed to ensuring access to postsecondary education with a continued focus on “Sixty by 30,” the goal to increase the number of Michigan adults with a postsecondary degree or certificate to 60% by the year 2030. We call upon the governor, our legislators, and education leaders to find creative ways to continue to support the educational pursuits of those most affected by COVID-19, especially students of color and low-income students. We applaud the governor for establishing the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities. This is a step in the right direction. 

The revitalization of Michigan’s economy in the aftermath of this crisis will  affirm the importance for residents to attain postsecondary education. Education has been deeply affected by this crisis, and as postsecondary leaders we cannot lose focus. Michigan’s leaders have shown an evolving model of K-12 education is critical; we ask that they show that same regard for higher education by supporting Michigan’s world-class colleges and universities and their students — both incoming and current.

These recent decisions are causing MCAN to rethink how we, too, support college access, success and attainment during this time. MCAN has responded by launching new COVID-19 Response Grants, a Meeting the Challenge webinar series, a COVID-19 Resources webpage, and will soon be announcing plans for a statewide Virtual Decision Day later this month, a way to celebrate graduating high school seniors and their postsecondary plans.

MCAN commends all leaders throughout Michigan who have been working around-the-clock to respond to the needs within our state.”

ABOUT THE MICHIGAN COLLEGE ACCESS NETWORK (MCAN)
As the leader in the state’s college access movement, MCAN works to improve the futures of Michigan’s students and communities by making college accessible to all. MCAN’s work centers on one main goal: To increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60% by 2030. MCAN engages partners statewide who are committed to systems-level change and the reduction of barriers to increase college readiness, participation and completion rates, particularly among low-income students, first-generation college-going students, and students of color. MCAN has helped Michigan’s postsecondary attainment rate increase for the 10th consecutive year. For more information, visit micollegeaccess.org.  

###

Media Contact: Christopher Tremblay
Email: Christopher(a)micollegeaccess.org 
Cell: (517) 816-7774
Download Press Release (PDF)

72 Michigan high schools hosting college advisers

AdviseMI Program helps low-income and first-generation students navigate college exploration  

April 8, 2020 — LANSING, Mich.  Seventy-two Michigan high schools have been selected to host college advisers through the Michigan College Access Network’s (MCAN) AdviseMI AmeriCorps program for the 2020-21 school year. This is the sixth year of the AdviseMI program, which places recent college graduates in high schools to help students navigate the  process. Since 2015, AdviseMI has had 164 advisers serve in the program.

Fifty-six advisers will serve 72 high schools, with some advisers splitting their time between two high schools, allowing for a broader reach in communities across the state. AdviseMI aims to increase the number of high school students who pursue education beyond high school. The AmeriCorps program embeds well-trained, near-peer college advisers into high schools across Michigan, particularly in communities with low college-going rates and low adult educational attainment rates.

The average Michigan high school counselor is assigned over 700 students, making it difficult to provide the individualized attention necessary to help students identify which postsecondary education options are the right fit. AdviseMI advisers collaborate with high school counselors to bridge the gap in college exploration by helping students navigate the complex transition from high school to a postsecondary education institution.

College advisers will be ready to serve when the school year starts in fall 2020 at host sites selected to participate in AdviseMI. Advisers undergo an intensive four-week training. After completing the training, they will be ready to help students navigate the complex college exploration process, retake college admissions tests, apply to colleges that are a fit, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), secure financial aid and enroll in a postsecondary institution.

“The 72 schools that will host these well-trained advisers are the perfect complement to the hard work of school counselors working to increase the college-going rate in communities across the state,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, MCAN executive director. “Recent college graduates are able to effectively serve as advisers by demystifying the college-going process because it’s a path they recently traveled themselves.”

The advisers will be recent graduates from a record number 18 partner colleges, including Adrian College, Albion College, Aquinas College, Baker College, Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, Ferris State University, Lake Superior State University, Kalamazoo College, Madonna University, Northern Michigan University, Oakland University, Saginaw Valley State University, Siena Heights University, University of Michigan- Dearborn, University of Michigan-Flint, Wayne State University and Western Michigan University. 

Please find the complete list of the 72 high schools selected through a competitive review process to receive the 56 college advisers here. High schools new to the program are indicated by an asterisk.

Amidst the uncharted territories of the COVID-19 pandemic, AdviseMI advisers are continuing their work to help high school students — especially seniors — navigate their path to college. They are relying on virtual calls, email and texting to help their students finalize their college plans. They continue to share resources and tools to keep them on track. 

ADVISER RECRUITMENT UNDERWAY
The AdviseMI Program is currently recruiting recent college graduates to serve as 2020-21 college advisers. For more information, prospective candidates should visit micollegeaccess.org/adviser.

ABOUT THE MICHIGAN COLLEGE ACCESS NETWORK (MCAN)
As the leader in the state’s college access movement, MCAN works to improve the futures of Michigan’s students and communities by making college accessible to all. MCAN’s work centers on one main goal: To increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60% by 2030. MCAN engages partners statewide who are committed to systems-level change and the reduction of barriers to increase college readiness, participation and completion rates, particularly among low-income students, first-generation college-going students, and students of color. MCAN has helped Michigan’s postsecondary attainment rate increase for the 10th consecutive year. For more information, visit micollegeaccess.org.  

###

Media Contact: Christopher Tremblay
Email: 
Christopher(a)micollegeaccess.org 
Cell:
 (517) 816-7774
Download Press Release (PDF)

Michigan College Access Network presents grant opportunities to postsecondary initiatives affected by COVID-19 global pandemic

Funding will support areas of need to assist with college readiness, enrollment and completion 

April 7, 2020 — LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) has announced new COVID-19 Response Grants to help Michigan high schools, Local College Access Networks, community-based nonprofit organizations and higher education institutions to support emergent postsecondary projects and programs in their communities.

 

“The COVID-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus has significantly altered the lives of people around  the world,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, executive director of MCAN. “As we all adapt to a ‘new normal,’ MCAN remains committed to supporting our partners in college access and achieving 60 % of Michigan residents with a completed postsecondary certificate or degree by 2030 as a part of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Sixty by 30 goal.” 

FUNDING
COVID-19 Response Grants provide two flexible funding pathways:

  • Up to $2,500 in mini-grants targeted for high schools.
  • Up to $10,000 for a community response.

MCAN has waived the match funding requirement for this grant opportunity and commits to an expedited review process.

ELIGIBILITY
Examples of proposals that fall within the grant parameters include, but are not limited to: virtual Decision Day, summer melt support, transition advising support, SAT prep support for rising high school seniors, training on using virtual learning platforms, and providing Wi-Fi hot spots to support rural student learning. 

TIMELINE
COVID-19 Response Grants are available now on a rolling basis until allocated funding is depleted. Grant applications should be submitted with an expected implementation of no more than 12 months from award date. No-cost extensions may be considered on a case-by-case basis upon request by a grantee. No grants will be awarded from Sept. 1-30. Grants received during that time will be considered for funding after Oct. 1.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Please direct questions to Jessica Soja, community mobilization strategy manager, by calling (517) 816-7769 or by emailing  jessica(a)micollegeaccess.org. Soja also can assist with the online grant management system, SurveyMonkey Apply, and help brainstorm potential ways to use COVID-19 Response Grant funding.

ABOUT THE MICHIGAN COLLEGE ACCESS NETWORK (MCAN)
As the leader in the state’s college access movement, MCAN works to improve the futures of Michigan’s students and communities by making college accessible to all. MCAN’s work centers on one main goal: To increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60% by 2030. MCAN engages partners statewide who are committed to systems-level change and the reduction of barriers to increase college readiness, participation and completion rates, particularly among low-income students, first-generation college-going students, and students of color. MCAN has helped Michigan’s postsecondary attainment rate increase for the 10th consecutive year. For more information, visit micollegeaccess.org.  

###

Media Contact: Christopher Tremblay
Email: Christopher(a)micollegeaccess.org 
Cell: (517) 816-7774
Download Press Release (PDF)

Michigan’s postsecondary attainment rate increases for 10th consecutive year

Lumina Foundation reports Michigan’s rate is now 45.5%

Feb. 14, 2020 — LANSING, Mich. — Michigan’s postsecondary attainment rate has increased for the 10th consecutive year to 45.5%, up 0.5% from last year, according to the latest Stronger Nation Report from the Lumina Foundation. The increase contributes to the progress toward the state’s and MCAN’s “Sixty by 30” goal.

Because of the lag in postsecondary attainment data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, this new data represents Michigan’s 2018 rate – the latest information available.

“It’s great to see everyone’s hard work to increase college access and success in Michigan is paying off,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, executive director of the Michigan College Access Network. “While we have reason to celebrate, this new data also points to the tremendous work ahead of us. We need that rate to increase faster, we need to close significant race and income gaps. And we still lag the national postsecondary attainment rate of 48.4%. Michigan’s rank of 34th among U.S. states and territories should be a clear call that we cannot rest on this issue. We will not meet the ‘Sixty by 30’ goal unless we activate change at the state, local and institutional level immediately.”

The Lumina Foundation, the nation’s largest private foundation focused solely on increasing Americans’ success in higher education, began reporting the attainment rate — which includes associate degrees and higher — in 2008. That year, the rate in Michigan stood at 35.6%. In 2018, that rate rose to 41.5%. The report estimates that 4% of Michigan residents between the ages of 25 and 64 hold a workforce-relevant certificate, which brings the state’s overall postsecondary attainment rate to 45.5%. Certificate estimates have been included in the postsecondary attainment rate since 2014.

Michigan's overall rate of educational attainment has increased by 9.9 percentage points since 2008.

“Using MCAN’s equity lens, the most encouraging news of this increase is that simultaneously we saw attainment rates increase for African American, Hispanic, Native American and Asian American students,” said Fewins-Bliss.

Those attainment rate increases are:

  • African American rate grew from 25.61% to 25.8% (up 0.19%).
  • Hispanic rate grew from 24.65% to 25.9% (up 1.25%).
  • Native American rate grew from 25.11% to 27.1% (up 1.99%).
  • Asian American rate grew from 70.63% to 71.7% (up 1.07%).
  • The attainment rate increased at three degree levels: associate degrees (+0.1), bachelor’s degrees (+0.4), and graduate/professional degrees (+0.1).

Just one county in Michigan has hit the “Sixty by 30” goal outlined by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in her 2019 state of the state address. Washtenaw County’s newly released rate is 64.6%.

In related news, just this week, Oakland County Executive David Coulter announced an aspirational goal of an 80% attainment rate for Oakland County.

In addition to Washtenaw County, Michigan now has three other counties (up two from 2019) with attainment rates above 50%:

  • Oakland County: 57.5%
  • Leelanau County: 50.7%
  • Kalamazoo County: 50.3%

Overall, 77% of Michigan counties saw an increase in postsecondary attainment rates, which represents 64 counties. Ten counties in Michigan are above the state rate of 45.5%.

Both of Michigan’s largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas also grew:

  • Detroit-Warren-Dearborn grew 0.7% from 41.6% to 42.3%.
  • Grand Rapids-Wyoming grew 0.6% from 43.4% to 44%.

ABOUT MICHIGAN COLLEGE ACCESS NETWORK (MCAN)
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. For the tenth year in a row, Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate has increased — from 35.6% of 25-to-64-year-olds possessing at least an associate degree in 2008, to 41.5% in 2018. Additionally, it is estimated another 4% of Michiganders have a postsecondary certificate, bringing Michigan’s official attainment rate to 45.5%. MCAN’s goal is to increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60% by 2030. For more information, visit micollegeaccess.org.

###

Media Contact: Christopher Tremblay
Email: 
Christopher(a)micollegeaccess.org 
Cell:
 (517) 816-7774
Download Press Release (PDF)

Michigan College Access Network | 200 N Washington Square, Suite 420, Lansing, MI 48933 (map) | (517) 316-1713 Contact Us | Site Map | Terms and Privacy