Press Releases

Michigan College Access Network awards $25,000 grant to Jackson County Cradle to Career Education Network

Grant to support continued network development
to enhance college access strategy for Jackson County

 

May 2, 2019 - LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) announced the Jackson County Cradle to Career (C2C) Education Network will receive a $25,000 Continuous Improvement Grant to support shared measurement systems for the college access and success work in the county. This is the sixth grant that MCAN has awarded to this Local College Access Network (LCAN).

MCAN’s Continuous Improvement Grants are awarded to prepared communities to build sustainability, leverage local investments, grow the college access movement and strengthen collective impact within the LCAN’s region. The Jackson County LCAN will use this grant to focus on shared measurement systems. The measurement system will compile data related to college access and attainment.

“Developing a data dashboard is particularly important so we can show progress on our objectives, track where we need improvement and learn from those missed opportunities,” said Irene LeCrone, C2C Coordinator. “This continued support from the Michigan College Access Network will enable us to continue the momentum of this important work in our community." 

Local college access networks (LCANs) set goals focused on student success, establish a system of data-gathering and analysis, report results and engage cross-sector partners in meeting goals. These LCANs coordinate programs, services and resources that lower the barriers preventing students, particularly low-income and first-generation college going students and students of color, from pursuing postsecondary educational opportunities.

“Each local college access network plays a critical role in sparking systematic change necessary to increase college readiness, participation and completion within their community,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, interim executive director of the Michigan College Access Network. “Jackson’s LCAN in Michigan and is often viewed as a network leader among the other LCANs.”

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About Jackson County Cradle to Career (C2) Network

Jackson County Cradle to Career (C2C) was launched in 2012 with a Planning Grant from MCAN. C2C is the network of education and community leaders working together to achieve common goals in education. It is the communitywide, collaborative effort to address the social, financial and academic barriers to student success, from early childhood through adulthood. C2C is a network, not a program or initiative –it is coordinated, purposeful connections between schools, businesses, community resources and people to improve our education outcomes. C2C uses a Collective Impact framework to bring people together in a structured way to achieve social change. Within this model, educators and community leaders work together toward clearly defined goals by building collaborative relationships, reinforcing each others efforts and tracking progress with proven data. The work of the network is managed by a coordinator and overseen by the C2C Coordinating Council.

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. For the eighth year in a row, Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate has increased — from 35.7 percent of 25-to-64-year-olds possessing at least an associate degree in 2008, to 41 percent in 2018. Additionally, it is estimated another 4 percent of Michiganders have a high-quality certificate, bringing Michigan’s official attainment rate to 45 percent as of 2019.  It is MCAN’s goal to increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60 percent by the year 2025. For more information, visit micollegeaccess.org

Media Contact: Christopher Tremblay
christopher(a)micollegeaccess.org
517-816-7774
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Record Number of High Schools across Michigan Celebrate College Decision Day

College Decision Day celebrates all seniors continuing their education
 
May 1, 2019 - LANSING, Mich. − The month of May kicks off College Decision Day events across Michigan. A record 300 high schools across the state are recognizing high school seniors for making plans to continue their education beyond high school. College Decision Day, which mimics the NCAA’s National Signing Day for athletes, celebrates high school seniors who are going to college while encouraging younger students and families to prepare for their education beyond high school.
 
“College Decision Day celebrates every student who decides to further their education,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, Michigan College Access Network interim executive director. “From Manistee to Detroit, we want to celebrate students who decide to head to college. Different schools will hold varying celebrations, but all aim to recognize and applaud this important decision in the lives of students.”
 
Since 2014, the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) has organized College Decision Day as a statewide event, an adaption of National College Signing Day. Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Reach Higher” initiative aimed to inspire every student across the country to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school. Events in Michigan start today and run through the month of May.
 
MCAN has made a map available of all College Decision Day events here.
 
To celebrate our seniors, people across the state are wearing college gear and sharing encouragement on social media. Show your support by using #MIDecisionDay and #ReachHigher support by posting pictures wearing college gear from your alma mater and join the conversation on social media like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. MCAN’s goal is to increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60 percent by the year 2025.
 
To learn more about Michigan’s College Decision Day, visit the Michigan College Access Network website.
 
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. For the eighth year in a row, Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate has increased — from 35.7 percent of 25-to-64-year-olds possessing at least an associate degree in 2008, to 41 percent in 2018. Additionally, it is estimated another 4 percent of Michiganders have a high-quality certificate, bringing Michigan’s official attainment rate to 45 percent as of 2019.  It is MCAN’s goal to increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60 percent by the year 2025. For more information, visit micollegeaccess.org.
 
 
Media Contact: Christopher Tremblay
christopher(a)micollegeaccess.org
517-816-7774
 
 

2019 Kids Count Data reveals college readiness levels dropping

Newly published data reveals decrease in college-readiness of Michigan high school graduates

April 25, 2019 - LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) expressed their support for the Michigan League for Public Policy’s (MLPP) 2019 Kids Count Data Book, which revealed the percent of Michigan high school graduates ready for college dropped from 34.9% to 34.6% (from 2016 to 2018).  College readiness is measured by College Board SAT test scores.

Since MCAN’s inception in 2010, the organization has been focused on college-readiness, particularly among low-income, first-generation college-going students, and students of color.  The report states, “…students from families with low incomes and students of color face additional barriers.”  These students typically do not have parental support to pursue higher education, role models they can relate to, or access to college readiness resources such as a dedicated college adviser or early college credit earning options.

The 2019 MLPP report highlights the five best and worst counties in Michigan for college readiness.  It also showcases that 43 (52%) of Michigan’s 82 counties improved in college readiness.

“This report is a reminder of the critical work that is necessary to turn around educational outcomes in the state of Michigan,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, interim executive director of MCAN.  “We must make college readiness a priority if we want to increase our higher education outcomes. Governor Whitmer just announced her goal of 60% of Michigan residents holding a certificate or degree in her State of the State address. MCAN has been working toward this goal since our inception, and to get there, college readiness needs to be dramatically moving in the opposite direction that this report indicates.”

The Michigan Higher Education Attainment Roundtable (MIHEART), convened by MCAN, also highlights college readiness data in its Fall 2018 Total Talentreport.  That report provides graphs on college readiness that show the equity gaps among races and “economically disadvantaged” populations. 

To increase these SAT scores, MCAN recommends:

  • Students participate in early postsecondary credit earning opportunities.
  • Students take advantage of resources like the Khan Academy.
  • Colleges and universities address remedial coursework and associated policies.

The MLPP report draws attention to the investment necessary to improve these metrics.  MCAN will to collaborate with MLPP to increase college readiness through advocacy and policy initiatives.

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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. For the eighth year in a row, Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate has increased — from 35.7 percent of 25-to-64-year-olds possessing at least an associate degree in 2008, to 41 percent in 2018. Additionally, it is estimated another 4 percent of Michiganders have a high-quality certificate, bringing Michigan’s official attainment rate to 45 percent as of 2019.  It is MCAN’s goal to increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60 percent by the year 2025. For more information, visit 
micollegeaccess.org

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: 
Christopher Tremblay
Email: christopher(a)micollegeaccess.org 
Cell: 517-816-7774

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Michigan College Access Network supports Bills proposing the Michigan Opportunity Initiative Act and Michigan Reconnect Grant Act

Bills will help increase access and reduce barriers to postsecondary education

April 18, 2019 - LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) expressed their support for legislation introduced recently by lawmakers. MCAN joined Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and legislators today at an event on the campus of Lansing Community College to show this support. These bills would increase access to financial aid programs for recent graduates and adults to further their education. House Bill 4464 and Senate Bill 267 establish a tuition assistance program as part of Gov. Whitmer’s Michigan Opportunity Scholarships proposal.  House Bill 4456 and Senate Bill 268 establish a financial aid program for adults as part of Gov. Whitmer’s Michigan Reconnect proposal. 

“Everyone should have the opportunity to further their education, including adults without a postsecondary credential,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, interim executive director of the Michigan College Access Network. “MCAN supports these four bills because they offer a critical step in the right direction in helping provide much needed financial assistance for Michigan residents who want to pursue education beyond high school.”

HB 4464 and SB 267 are part of the Michigan Opportunity Initiative Act, first introduced by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. HB 4464 was introduced by seven state representatives, including: Rep. Sheryl Kennedy (D - Davison), Rep. Nate Shannon (D- Sterling Heights), Rep. Brenda Carter (D- Pontiac), Rep. Matt Koleszar, (D – Plymouth), Lori Stone (D - Warren), Kristy Pagan (D - Canton), and Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D - Detroit). SB 267 was introduced by Sen. Jim Ananich (D- Flint). The proposed legislation would offer high school students either debt-free attendance at a community college or two years of assistance toward a four-year degree.

HB 4456 and SB 268 are part of Gov. Whitmer’s proposed Michigan Reconnect Grant Act. HB 4456 was introduced by eight state representatives: Rep. Ben Frederick (R –Owosso), Rep. Sarah Anthony (D- Lansing), Rep. Scott VanSingel (R– Grant), Rep. Sheryl Kennedy (D– Davison), Rep. Julie Calley (R- Portland), Rep. Joseph Tate (D- Detroit), Rep. Nate Shannon (D- Sterling Heights) and Rep. Gregory Markkanen (R- Hancock). SB 268 was introduced by Sen. Kenneth Horn (R- Frankenmuth). The proposed legislation would provide debt-free tuition for up to two years for students over the age of 25, already in the workforce and seeking an associate degree or industry-related credentials. 

“Michigan has made important strides in increasing the number of residents who pursue and complete a degree or credential beyond high school, and it is critical that we continue to build that momentum,” said Rep. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing). “We know that all Michigan residents have the potential and we want to make sure that they have the opportunity by providing much-needed financial assistance.”

The Michigan Opportunity Scholarship and Michigan Reconnect Program were first proposed in Gov. Whitmer’s 2019 State of the State address.

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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. For the eighth year in a row, Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate has increased — from 35.7 percent of 25-to-64-year-olds possessing at least an associate degree in 2008, to 41 percent in 2018. Additionally, it is estimated another 4 percent of Michiganders have a high-quality certificate, bringing Michigan’s official attainment rate to 45 percent as of 2019.  It is MCAN’s goal to increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60 percent by the year 2025. For more information, visit micollegeaccess.org

Media Contact: Christopher Tremblay
Email: christopher(a)micollegeaccess.org
Cell: 814-504-5650

 

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Michigan Promise Zones Association Endorses Scholarship Legislation

Eleven Promise Zones in Michigan support statewide efforts

to increase postsecondary attainment

April 17, 2019 - LANSING, MICH. – The Michigan Promise Zones Association (MPZA), today voiced  support for legislation that would enact the MI Opportunity Scholarship and Michigan Reconnect. House Bill 4464, introduced by Rep. Sheryl Kennedy (D - Davison) and Senate Bill 267 introduced by Sen. Jim Ananich (D- Flint) support the “Michigan Opportunity Initiative” to establish a tuition assistance program for undergraduate students attending colleges, universities and junior and community colleges. House Bill 4456 and Senate Bill 268 establish a financial aid program for adults as part of Gov. Whitmer’s Michigan Reconnect proposal.   

The two scholarship initiatives were first announced by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in her Feb. 12 State of the State address. Today, Whitmer joined legislators and Michigan leaders to show support of these bills. MPZA represents the 11 communities awarding Promise Zone scholarships to students.

“We have learned from our work in the Promise Zones that when we take down the barriers to higher education, we all win,” said MPZA chair Ellen Lipton. “This commitment of new financial aid from the state will allow us to do bigger and better things for the communities and students our scholarship programs serve.”

Ten Promise Zones were established through bipartisan legislation signed into law by Gov. Jennifer Granholm in 2009 and were inspired by The Kalamazoo Promise, the nation’s first universal, place-based scholarship program. An additional five Promise Zones were authorized through legislation signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2017.

The 11 operating Promise Zones are located in the Baldwin, Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, Hazel Park, Lansing, Pontiac and Saginaw school districts, the Muskegon Area and Newaygo County intermediate school districts, the City of Detroit and Mason County. Four other Promise Zones are under development.

By law, the Promise Zones must provide all eligible students a tuition-free path to an associate degree, but many of the existing Promise Zone scholarships can also be used to attend BA granting institutions and technical schools.   Promise Zones also provide non-financial support for the college bound students they serve and work with other college access organizations to get more students “to and through” college.  

The Michigan Promise Zones Association, formed in 2016, is an affiliate of the Michigan College Access Network.

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: 
Chuck Wilbur 
Email: 
cwilbur(a)publicpolicy.com 
Cell: 517-881-2689

Download PDF Here

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