Press Releases

College Cash Campaign kicks off statewide

Nov. 27, LANSING, MICH. – More than 250 schools across the state are joining the Michigan College Cash Campaign to increase the number of students completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and scholarship applications. The Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) coordinates with participating schools to encourage support around completing FAFSA and scholarship applications from November through March. The promotion aims to help eligible students find financial aid to pursue education beyond high school.

“Perceived cost is one of the biggest obstacles students encounter on their journey to furthering their education. Applying for financial aid is an important step to helping students navigate the college and financial application process,” said Brandy Johnson, MCAN Executive Director. “Every school participating in this campaign is giving students an advantage.”

The Michigan College Cash Campaign is a part of several statewide initiatives that help students navigate the college-going process during their senior year.

The FAFSA is a free application that is the only way for students to obtain access federal and state financial aid. In addition, many colleges and universities require the FAFSA for institutional and merit-based aid. The FAFSA helps students who may not understand how to locate financial resources. 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 eligibility for grants or loans. Filing the FAFSA is considered a leading indicator of whether students will pursue college. The Michigan FAFSA tracker is here.

Hundreds of schools participate to improve each district’s FAFSA completion rate. The average FAFSA completion rate in Michigan for the 2017-18 school year was 64.2 percent (as of June 2018).

New this year, MCAN has teamed up with national scholarship platform provider, Scholly, which offers an award-winning, personalized scholarship matching and application tracking tool. Up to 10,000 Michigan high school seniors will have access through their school's participation in the College Cash Campaign.

“This important movement will better position Michigan’s students and our state to fulfill the talent needs of businesses and prepare for the jobs of the future,” said Johnson.

More information about the Michigan College Cash Campaign is here.

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ABOUT THE 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 seventh 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 39.4 percent in 2015. Additionally, it is estimated another 4 percent of Michiganders have a high-quality certificate, bringing Michigan’s official attainment rate to 43.7 percent as of 2018. 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:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Cell:
517-816-7774

Download Press Release (PDF)

20 Michigan High Schools Receive MCAN “Reach Higher High School” Grants

 Nov. 27, LANSING, MICH.—The Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) announced today that more than $150,000 in grant funding has been awarded to high schools across the state to improve college enrollment and completion outcomes. The awarded schools received $5,000 to $20,000 grants to focus on creating and sustaining a college-going culture inside schools in an effort to improve postsecondary education outcomes. Since inception in 2015, MCAN has awarded more than $1.5 million through the Reach Higher grant program.

“These schools play an important role in sparking change necessary to increase college readiness, participation, and completion within their community,” said Brandy Johnson, executive director of the Michigan College Access Network.

Year 1: Reach Higher High School Grant

Grant funding supports assembling a Postsecondary Advisory Council, coordinating a suite of college access interventions, assessing the college-going culture and school counseling capacity, and collecting and analyzing disaggregated student outcomes data.

Year 3: Reach Higher System Impact Grant

Grant funding supports innovative, aggressive, reform-minded high schools that plan to implement a bold systems change initiative, utilize local quantitative and qualitative data, and improve metrics around college and career readiness. 

Year 4: Reach Higher System Impact Renewal Grant

Grant funding supports the continuation of Year 3 efforts (see above).  These high schools continue to
systematize, scale, or sustain their bold systems change initiative project(s) from previous years. High schools were selected based on a competitive grant review process. Schools receiving the Reach Higher grants address five essential elements of a high school strategy aimed at increasing college enrollment, including: 

  1. Postsecondary Advisory Council 
    Reach Higher High Schools will bring together a team of stakeholders to set the school’s vision and college access strategy. The PAC will meet regularly to strategically develop and implement the school’s college access programming, collect and analyze data, develop and implement data-driven collaborative action plans.
  2. Linked College Access Events
    Reach Higher High Schools will host a linked triad of college access events – Michigan College Month, College Cash Campaign and College Decision Day– prioritizing the development of a coordinated, strategic effort to execute targeted interventions throughout an entire year.
  3. College-Going Culture Assessment
    Reach Higher High Schools will conduct the Postsecondary Success Asset Mapping (PSAM) survey to assess the building’s college-going culture in five asset areas: transition knowledge and skills, content knowledge, learning skills and techniques, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and school-based systems.
  4. School Counseling Self-Assessment
    Reach Higher High Schools will assess the current effectiveness of its college and career readiness counseling, support and programming from two perspectives: Staffing and Capacity and College-Going Culture and Programs.
  5. Student Outcome Data Analysis
    Reach Higher High schools will utilize publicly available data sources to collect, disaggregate, and analyze data on key college and career readiness student outcome metrics.  Findings will be utilized to develop collaborative action plans. 

The list of high schools receiving Reach Higher High School grants this time include

(by geographic region): 

Michigan Region

Name of School

Type of Grant

East

Marlette Junior/Senior High School

Year 1: Reach Higher Grant

WAY Academy (Flint)

Year 1: Reach Higher Grant

Metro Detroit

Detroit Edison Public School Academy (DEPSA)

Year 1: Reach Higher Grant

Hamtramck High School

Year 1: Reach Higher Grant

Western International High School

Year 1: Reach Higher Grant

Northeast

Inland Lakes High School

Year 1: Reach Higher Grant

Northwest

Evart High School

Year 1: Reach Higher Grant

Morley Stanwood High School

Year 1: Reach Higher Grant

Southeast

Arbor Preparatory High School

Year 1: Reach Higher Grant

Camden Frontier High School

Year 1: Reach Higher Grant

Hillsdale High School

Year 3: Reach Higher System Impact Grant

Hartland High School

Year 4: Reach Higher System Impact Renewal Grant

Southwest

Lawton High School

Year 1: Reach Higher Grant

Three Rivers High School

Year 1: Reach Higher Grant

Upper Peninsula

Sault Area Schools

Year 1: Reach Higher Grant

West

CA Frost Environmental Science Academy

Year 1: Reach Higher Grant

Innovation Central High School

Year 1: Reach Higher Grant

Wyoming High School

Year 3: Reach Higher System Impact Grant

Grand Rapids University Preparatory Academy (UPrep)

Year 3: Reach Higher System Impact Grant

Allegan County Area Technical and Education Center

Year 4: Reach Higher System Impact Renewal Grant

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ABOUT THE 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 seventh 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 39.4 percent in 2015. Additionally, it is estimated another 4 percent of Michiganders have a high-quality certificate, bringing Michigan’s official attainment rate to 43.7 percent as of 2018. 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:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Cell:
517-816-7774

Download Press Release (PDF)

 

MCAN announces partnership with national scholarship search platform, Scholly

Oct. 22, LANSING, MICH. — The Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) has teamed up with national scholarship search platform, Scholly.  This newly formed partnership supports MCAN’s statewide College Cash Campaign initiative. MCAN’s College Cash Campaign is an initiative for Michigan schools to set a bold completion goal for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and assist students with the completion of other financial aid and scholarship applications between November 1 and March 1.

This arrangement with Scholly is a direct benefit for Michigan’s high school seniors, especially those students seeking scholarships to pay for college.  A total of 10,000 Michigan high school seniors will be given access to this tool. High school representatives from nearly 70 Michigan high schools claimed the available slots in just 10 days, an indication of the popularity and need for this service. As of October 19, only several hundred access codes remain available.

Students from participating College Cash Campaign schools will have access to a Michigan microsite and code to download the mobile application or access the tool online for free.  More information about the tool is available online at myscholly.com.  The mobile version of the app is available in Google Play and the Apple App Store.

 “This partnership with Scholly is an incentive for students to apply for scholarships in order to reduce the college affordability barrier, which is the most cited barrier to college enrollment, persistence, and completion,” said Jamie Jacobs, senior director of high school innovation for MCAN.

HOW SCHOLLY WORKS

Scholly is a mobile and web app that connects students to millions of dollars in college scholarship money. Scholly’s scholarship-matching platform connects students and their families with actual scholarship opportunities. The app turns the search process from months into minutes! The user-friendly platform also provides subscribers with Scholly Editor, a tool that uses artificial intelligence technology help students instantly proofread and edit scholarship essays, college admissions essays, and other writing assignments. Students can also manage deadlines, track progress, and ultimately secure the money they need to accomplish their educational goals.

“Scholly’s motto is Opportunity for All,” said Azani Pinkney, chief of staff at Scholly. “We are excited to be partnering with the Michigan College Access Network and their College Cash Campaign to create educational opportunity for students across the state of Michigan and help them find the resources they need to pay for college.”

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ABOUT SCHOLLY

Schollywas created by Christopher Gray, who won $1.3 million in scholarships through hard work, grit, and determination. Realizing how broken and time consuming the search process was, Gray and his team created Schollyto allow students pursuing their higher education to search for scholarship money with ease. Since its inception in 2014, Schollyhas helped 3 million students find over 100 million dollars in scholarships. See the Scholly platform video here and the editor video here.

ABOUT THE 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 seventh 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 39.4 percent in 2015. Additionally, it is estimated another 4 percent of Michiganders have a high-quality certificate, bringing Michigan’s official attainment rate to 43.7 percent as of 2018. 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: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Phone: 517-816-7774

Download Press Release (PDF) 

High Schools Across State Kick Off Michigan College Month

Hundreds of high schools host college application and financial aid campaigns throughout October

 Oct. 1, 2018 - LANSING, MICH. — Michigan College Month will kick off October 1 with nearly 350 high schools participating in events statewide. Michigan College Month is part of a larger, national initiative that encourages every graduating senior to submit at least one college application and complete the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) by the end of the month.

High schools across the state will host concurrent college application and financial aid campaigns throughout the month. This is the third annual Michigan College Month, declared by Gov. Rick Snyder.

“The economy and world continue to evolve and education beyond high school is crucial to position Michigan students for success,” said Gov. Rick Snyder. “College degrees and quality credentials are an essential tool to succeed in a global economy.”

Hundreds of schools throughout the state will be designated host sites where activities will take place to guide high school seniors through completing a college application or applying for financial aid. Many Michigan colleges will also collaborate with high schools to waive application fees or other financial barriers that may hold students back from pursuing education beyond high school.

Resources and materials will be provided to school counselors and educators by the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) to guarantee that schools are fully prepared to provide additional assistance to students over the coming months. In addition, schools will be dedicating classroom time to isolating the different parts of the application process so that seniors have a clear step-by-step understanding of how to determine what schools fit their individual needs.

“Navigating the college-going process can feel intimidating—especially for students who would be the first in their families to attend college,” said Brandy Johnson, MCAN executive director. “We want every high school senior to believe they’re college material by supporting them as they weigh their options. From choosing a school, to submitting at least one college application and applying for financial aid—we want to make sure they have the support they need to succeed, every step of the way.”

After modifying the initiative’s duration from one week in October to the entire month, the program structure has granted schools with the flexibility to schedule resources based on their needs in order to best serve students and families. During the 2017 Michigan College Month, more than 51,000 college applications were submitted by more than 32,000 high school seniors who participated in Michigan College Month events.  

 

“Since we kicked off our efforts in 2011, we have continued to see the needle move to increase the number of students pursuing postsecondary education,” Johnson said. “We will continue to grow our efforts to provide an educated and sustainable workforce for Michigan, and to make a difference in the lives of Michigan’s students.”

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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 seventh 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 39.4 percent in 2015. Additionally, it is estimated another 4 percent of Michiganders have a high-quality certificate, bringing Michigan’s official attainment rate to 43.7 percent as of 2018. 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: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Phone: 517-816-7774

Download Press Release (PDF) 

Coalition of Business, Military, Law Enforcement and Education Leaders Urge Legislative Support to Grow Talent in Michigan

Leaders calling for legislative action to increase number of Michigan residents attaining education beyond high school for the jobs of tomorrow

Sept. 25, 2018 - LANSING, Mich. - Business, military, law enforcement, higher education and government leaders today called for greater investment in education beyond high school to equip Michigan residents with the skills and credentials needed to fill the state’s talent gap.

The report, Total Talent: Equipping All Michiganders with the Education and Skills Needed for Success in the Economy of Today and Tomorrow, was released today by the Michigan Higher Education Attainment Roundtable (MIHEART) to urge the incoming Legislature and the next Governor to make talent attainment a top public policy priority.

The “Total Talent” report can be downloaded at http://www.micollegeaccess.org/advocacy/miheart.

“Progress has been made, but Michigan still has work to do if we want to keep a competitive edge when it comes to filling the need for talent”, said Sandy Baruah, President and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber. “The time has come to provide all Michiganders 21st century skills to fill the job needs of tomorrow.”

The report states in detail that while Michigan has increased its rate of postsecondary credential attainment to almost 44 percent of the population, states and communities with higher rates are reaping greater economic gains in the form of creating new jobs and attracting new employers. Talent attainment and education beyond high school affect employers, law enforcement and the military.

"Our nation’s military also faces a skills gap. Today, more than half of young Michiganders are ineligible to serve partly due to poor academics. By 2025, over 60 percent of Michigan jobs will require some type of postsecondary degree or credential,” said Major General (Ret.) Thomas G. Cutler, USAF. “Michigan has considerable work to do to ensure it can field this well-qualified workforce."

"We partner with and rely on our community colleges and universities to provide the quality officers we depend on and to update the skills and abilities of our talent pool,” said Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth, Ingham County Sheriff’s Department.

The report notes that Michigan has shifted the burden of paying for postsecondary education onto the backs of students and families and now has one of the highest share of higher education costs being borne by students and families – sixth highest in the nation. Michigan also has more workers (more than 20 percent) than almost every state already on the job with only a high school diploma— workers at high risk of seeing their occupations disappear.

To close the talent gap, MIHEART recommendations from the report include:

• Significantly increase need-based state financial aid to make education past high school accessible and affordable
• More aggressive state outreach and financial support for 20 percent of Michigan workers already in the labor market with some college but no degree
• Improve career/college awareness, counseling and advising at high school and college levels
• Enhance collaboration between K-12 and higher education institutions to improve alignment and acceptance of credit in rigorous academic areas
• Improve transfer and credit acceptance between various higher education institutions for seamless learning and credential earning
• Increase high school student participation in all forms of powerful and cost-saving early postsecondary credit-earning programs (dual enrollment, Early/Middle Colleges, Career Technical Education (CTE) and AP/IB course taking)

The report highlights the significant progress made by Michigan’s public and independent colleges and universities to cut costs and improve access to education beyond high school by ensuring students successfully complete degree and certification programs.

“A thriving education system is an essential building block to a strong economy, and a high school diploma is not enough to succeed in today’s world,” said Michael Hansen, president of the Michigan Community College Association. “A postsecondary credential like a college degree or occupational certificate is a must. Postsecondary credentials translate to higher incomes, better job prospects and a stronger statewide economy. We support any policies that promote and support life-long learning.”

Despite these efforts, affording education is a responsibility—once shouldered by the State of Michigan —that often falls on the backs of Michigan’s families. Michigan is now ranked as one of the worst states in the nation when it comes to financial support for students seeking to pursue education beyond high school.

“One of the biggest barriers to education beyond high school is perceived affordability and the lack of guidance to access, navigate, and succeed in Michigan’s knowledge economy,” said Brandy Johnson, MCAN executive director. “Many workers today are seeing automation and a fast-paced work world rapidly changing. By increasing access to these programs and expanding opportunities for students, we can help them tackle the intimidating process of pursuing a degree or certificate beyond high school.”

Total Talent: Equipping All Michiganders with the Education and Skills Needed for Success in the Economy of Today and Tomorrow was prepared by the Michigan Higher Education Attainment Roundtable. The report brought together the public and independent colleges and universities, Business Leaders for Michigan, the Michigan Department of Education, Michigan College Access Network, the Governor’s office, and community and regional K-12 education, higher education and workforce leaders. The workgroup was facilitated by John Austin, and supported with funding from The Kresge Foundation, Michigan College Access Network and National College Access Network.

The Michigan Higher Education Roundtable (MIHEART) is comprised of business, military, law enforcement, K-12 education, higher education and government leaders passionate about increasing and retaining talent in Michigan, including:

• Nancy Fishman, the Council for Strong America
• Nancy Moody, DTE Energy
• Major General (Ret.) Tom Cutler, USAF
• Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth, Ingham County Sherriff’s Office
• Brandy Johnson, Michigan College Access Network
• John Austin, former President, Michigan State Board of Education
• Tim Sowton, Business Leaders for Michigan
• Robert Lefevre and Colby Cesaro, Michigan Independent Colleges & Universities
• Tim Sowton, Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM)
• Caroline Altman Smith, The Kresge Foundation
• Chris Wigent, Michigan Association of School Administrators (MASA)
• Wendy Zdeb, Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals
• Michael Hansen and Erica Orians, Michigan Community College Association (MCCA) – Michigan
Center for Student Success (MCSS)
• Brian Pyles and Jill Kroll Michigan Department of Education (MDE)
• Roger Curtis and Mary Lynn Noah, Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development
• Tyler Sawher, Office of Governor Snyder
• Dan Hurley, Bob Murphy and Will Emerson, Michigan Association of State Universities
• Bill Miller, Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators (MAISA)
• Greg Handel, Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce
• Kevin Stotts, Talent 2025

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Brandy Johnson
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: 602.502.1618

Download Press Release (PDF)

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