MCAN Highlights Port Huron High School Example of Network Efficacy, Show Dramatic Increase in College Bound Students

54 percent increase in five year period of students who are heading to college after utilizing Michigan’s College Access Network framework  

The number of Port Huron High School graduates who enroll in college has increased by 54 percent in a five year period after working with the Michigan College Access Network and partner organizations to develop a college access strategy. These statistics were compiled by the St. Clair County KnowHow2GO Initiative, a local college access network (LCAN) that launched in 2008.

The college enrollment rate for Port Huron High gradutes in 2008 was 46 percent, and in 2013 it increased dramatically to 71 percent. St. Clair County KnowHow2GO is a partnership that started in 2008 between the St. Clair County Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA), the county's K-12 public school districts, St. Clair County Community College, the Community Foundation of St. Clair County and other community leaders. St. Clair County KnowHow2GO is affiliated with the Michigan College Access Network, or MCAN.

“This is some of the most compelling evidence we’ve seen since launching MCAN four years ago that our strategy to boost college attainment rates works,” said Brandy Johnson, Michigan College Access Network executive director. “Education after high school is for everybody. These statistics reinforce our organization’s belief that when a community is unilaterally committed to increasing college attendance by students, we can work together to achieve great things.”

MCAN supports the creation of cross-sector community coalitions committed to increasing local postsecondary readiness, enrollment and completion rates. St. Clair County KnowHow2GO was one of the first communities to adopt MCAN’s strategy and model for local networks, or LCANs. Since 2010, MCAN has supported more than 50 communities in establishing a local college access network.

LCANs are part of the strategy to boost college attainment rates by utilizing partnerships, collaboration and network building. LCANs target low-income and first-generation students to establish a college-going culture. The partners who help in creating this culture are higher education institutions, business leaders, economic development organizations, students, their families and youth organizations. This work is crucial in a modern economy, job forecasting indicates that 62 percent of all jobs in Michigan will require post-secondary training by 2018.

St. Clair County KnowHow2GO’s leadership team recognizes the importance of data driven decisions to make the largest impact in their community. By utilizing the LCAN model, the leadership team is able to have a constructive dialogue about data successes and areas for improvement.

Port Huron High was identified by St. Clair County KnowHow2GO to receive a part-time college advisor in 2008 because its college enrollment rate was one of the lowest in the county at less than 50 percent. It also has the highest percentage of students whose family income levels make them eligible for free or reduced price lunches. 

“Going to college shouldn’t be dictated by ethnicity or your family’s income, but should be an opportunity we expand to all eligible students in Michigan,” said Johnson.

After observing early data improvement following the placement of the Port Huron High college advisor, St. Clair County KnowHow2GO implemented a strategy to provide college advisors at six high schools in the county. The college advisors are funded by the University of Michigan College Advising Corps, Michigan State University College Advising Corps, the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, St. Clair County RESA, Michigan College Access Network and through various local funds.

In St. Clair County, 58 percent of graduates enrolled in college in 2008. In 2013, the countywide percentage was 66 percent.

“KnowHow2GO has played a crucial role in emphasizing the importance of post-high school education, and the data demonstrates the program is working,” said Dan DeGrow, St. Clair County Regional Education Service Agency superintendent and MCAN board member. “We’re thrilled with the results, KnowHow2GO has truly been a team effort, spanning from school administrators to advisors to community leaders.”

To learn more about the effort to establish local college access networks and boost college attainment rates across the state, visit the Michigan College Access Network at Michigan College Access Network at The organization’s goal is to increase the percentage of Michigan residents with high-quality degrees or credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025.


About Michigan College Access Network
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. Michigan has recently experienced a modest increase in our college attainment rate -- from 36.8% of 25-to-64-year-olds possessing at least an associate’s degree, to 37.4%. However, Michigan’s rate still lags behind the national average of 39.4 percent. It is MCAN’s goal to increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60 percent by the year 2025. For more information, visit  


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