MCAN Executive Director to Join White House Task Force, Highlights Michigan Programs Boosting Number of College-Bound Students

Michigan College Access Network calls for communities to increase post-secondary educational attainment   

LANSING, MICH. - July 21, 2014 –
The nationally-recognized founder of the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN), Brandy Johnson, is joining “The White House Opportunity Agenda,” a task force lead by First Lady Michelle Obama on July 28th. The task force will focus on exchanging ideas and strategies to impact students’ college and career readiness, which aligns with Johnson and MCAN’s goal of making college attainable for all.

On a media roundtable call, she discussed MCAN’s efforts in Michigan to build a stronger base statewide targeting low-income students, first-generation college students and students of color.

“Our message is simple; college is for everyone,” said Brandy Johnson, executive director of MCAN. “As a first generation college student, I realized navigating financial aid and the college application process is overwhelming. It’s time we work to give school counselors and students the tools they need in order to be successful.”

Local college access networks (LCANs) are partnerships between school administrators, community leaders, non-profits and other groups to improve the number of college-going students. There are LCANs in more than 50 communities across the state, and many are beginning to show measureable results. The college enrollment rate of Port Huron High graduates is one example; since 2008, the enrollment rate jumped from 46 percent to 71 percent in 2013.

Michigan has recently experienced a small increase in the college attainment rate, from 36.8 percent of working-age adults (ages 25-64) with an associate’s degree, to 37.4 percent. However, our state still lags behind the national average of 39.4 percent, ranking Michigan at 34th in college graduates according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“We encourage other communities to set up an LCAN if they haven’t already. The data speaks for itself. An LCAN can mobilize a community to dramatically increase college-going rates,” said Dan DeGrow, St. Clair County Regional Education Service Agency superintendent and MCAN board member. “We’ve seen a domino effect in our community, highlighting how important it is to pursue education after high school.”

The task force will include experts from across the country. The group will consider new tools that could be used to expand the impact of school counselors and the partners that support them, and learning about community level initiatives that promote equity and opportunity for students’ post secondary education.

WE CAN! Newaygo County is a newer LCAN with a community-based college and career access alliance. Currently, 23 percent of Newaygo County residents have begun or completed postsecondary education. MCAN’s goal is to have 60 percent of Michigan residents with high-quality degrees or credentials by 2025, commonly referred to as “Goal 2025.”

“I’m an LCAN Coordinator because I know first-hand how important it is for students to have the support they need to navigate the college application and financial aid process,” said Melissa Miller, WE CAN! Newaygo County Coordinator. “As a first generation college student, I understand the process can be overwhelming. I’m passionate about increasing the number of college bound graduates in Newaygo County.”


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  


Media Contact:
Lisa King, MCAN Consultant
Email: lisa at micollegeaccess.orgThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">
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