Press Releases

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

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Gov. Whitmer attends Michigan College Access Network’s third annual College Access Advocacy Day

 Event focuses on work being done to increase college attainment rates in Michigan

 

April 17, 2019 - LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was one of the more than 120 people in attendance at the Michigan College Access Network’s (MCAN) third annual College Access Advocacy Day event on Wednesday, April 17, in Boji Tower.  The event was co-sponsored by the Michigan Promise Zones Association (MPZA).

Champions of postsecondary education such as Local College Access Networks (LCANs), college access and success organizations, Michigan’s Promise Zones, philanthropy, K-12, higher education and legislators discussed postsecondary education attainment strategies, challenges, and opportunities in Michigan. Gov. Whitmer addressed the importance of increasing the talent pool in Michigan through higher education and the new statewide goal of 60 percent of Michigan residents with college degrees or postsecondary credentials by 2030.

“Participants from across the state came to Lansing to send an important message to lawmakers: college is a necessity.  Education beyond high school is critical for Michigan’s future,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, MCAN interim executive director. “College is for everyone, and we capitalized on the opportunity to lift up the programs and people working to make postsecondary education more attainable.”

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 attainment rate to 45 percent as of 2019.

MCAN’s goal is to increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60 percent.  This year, MCAN will focus on advocating for more school counselors to help students plan for college, increasing FAFSA completion rates, expanding early college credit options, increasing need-based student financial aid, and increasing support for higher education. Learn about MCAN’s 2019 Legislative Priorities.

 

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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

Download Press Release (PDF)

Over 20,000 FAFSA Applications Submitted as a Result of the Michigan College Cash Campaign

Nearly 300 schools participated in a statewide initiative to help students apply for financial aid

April 2, 2019 - LANSING, Mich. – More than 20,000 Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) were submitted by students at 293 partner schools across the state as part of the Michigan College Access Network’s (MCAN) 2018-2019 College Cash Campaign.

Each year, MCAN coordinates with participating schools to encourage support around students’ completion of the FAFSA and scholarship applications from Nov. 1 through March 1. The promotion aims to help eligible students find financial aid to pursue education beyond high school and is one of several statewide initiatives that help students navigate the college-going process during their senior year. In total, 20,098 applications were submitted.

This year, MCAN teamed up with national scholarship platform provider, Scholly, which offers an award-winning, personalized scholarship matching and application tracking tool, to help high school seniors find money for college. Nearly 10,000 access codes were distributed to students.

“We know that filing the FAFSA is one of the leading indicators of whether or not a student will pursue college and that is why we work so hard to ensure that every high school senior has the opportunity to do so,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, interim executive director of the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN). “We believe that every student is college material, and we do not want perceived affordability to keep anyone from pursuing postsecondary education. The FAFSA is the only way for students to unlock access to federal loans and grants, statewide scholarships and grants, and often need and merit-based institutional and community scholarships and grants.”

The FAFSA is a free application that helps students determine their eligibility for financial aid. The form determines the amount of money a family is expected to contribute to the price of attending a postsecondary institution. This is used by the federal government, colleges and universities to determine what financial aid should be offered each student as grants or loans. The Michigan FAFSA tracker is here.

As part of the 2018-2019 College Cash Campaign, 293 partner schools participated to improve their FAFSA completion rate, with 84 schools achieving a 60 percent completion rate or higher.

Top five schools by percentage rate of applications as of March 1, 2019:

  • Taylor Preparatory High School
  • JC/LISD Academy: A Regional Middle College
  • Rogers City High School
  • Alanson Public School
  • Detroit International Academy for Young Women

A complete list of high-achieving College Cash Campaign sites is here.

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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

Download Press Release (PDF)

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