Press Releases

Michigan College Access Network Hosts Eighth Annual Conference, Announces Impact Awards

Mar. 13, 2018 - LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) held its eighth annual conference in Lansing and acknowledged 12 outstanding postsecondary education advocates from across the state at the awards dinner Monday evening. The theme of this year’s conference was “Cultivating Tomorrow’s Talent” and emphasized the role talent development plays in reaching 60 percent of Michigan’s adult population having a college degree or certificate by year 2025 and advocating for better initiatives and programs to support all students as they pursue postsecondary education.  

“The College Access Impact Awards shine a light on the individuals and organizations who have made extraordinary efforts to improve postsecondary attainment,” said Brandy Johnson, executive director of MCAN. “The award winners play a key role in ensuring that students are college and career ready by increasing college applications, FAFSA completion rates and college enrollment. We are looking to the future, along with the students, as we cultivate tomorrow’s talent to launch Michigan as an innovative state.”

The 2018 College Access Impact Award winners were:

The Flagship Award – Washtenaw Futures
The Flagship Award recognizes those that develop sustainable college access networks. Washtenaw Futures, a community network focused on making completion of postsecondary education an achievable reality for every student in Washtenaw County, was selected as the recipient of the Flagship Award because of their well-developed, respected, statewide network, dedication to collective impact, strong leadership team and focus on continuous improvement.

The Ombudsman Award – Brittney Mitchell, Byron Terrell Williams and Moussa Traore
The Ombudsman Award recognizes individuals whose passion for college access helped them persevere over challenges while engaged in their year of service as an AmeriCorps member through one of the college advising programs in Michigan.

Britteny Mitchell is a member of the Michigan College Advising Corps serving Chandler Park Academy. Using her own story to connect with students, she has shown consistent excellence and impressive metrics.

Bryon Terrell Williams is a member of AdviseMI serving Owendale-Gagetown High School and Harbor Beach Community High School, respectively. He works diligently to bring college-going culture to both the schools he works in and the wider community.

Moussa Traore is a member of the Michigan State University College Advising Corps serving Hazel Park High School. Through calm, quiet leadership and special interactions with students, she quickly established a reputation as an understanding, compassionate resource for students and parents alike.

The Cardinal Award – North Branch High School
The Cardinal Award recognizes those that rally communities by promoting statewide campaigns that help create a sense of urgency around the postsecondary planning process. North Branch High School received the Cardinal Award due to their school-wide approach to promoting college access including strong participation in the virtual college fair, engagement in statewide campaigns including “Michigan College Month,” success with the Reach Higher grant program, and embedding a new college adviser in an already successful system.

The Steward Award – Dr. Shawn Bultsma, Dr. Thomas Haas, and Grand Valley State University Educational Leadership and Counseling Department
The Steward Award recognizes those that have dramatically contributed to increasing the skills, talent and knowledge of college access professionals in Michigan. MCAN selected GVSU Educational Leadership and Counseling Department as recipient of the Steward Award because of their innovative graduate assistantship/college adviser program, their commitment to quality training of school counselors, their support of the AdviseMI program, and the leadership of GVSU President Dr. Thomas Haas on the Governor’s 21st Century Education Commission.

The Beacon Award – The Detroit Regional Chamber
The Beacon Award recognizes those that strengthen success through partnerships. The Detroit Regional Chamber earned MCAN’s Beacon Award because of their strong leadership in the college access and degree completion space, their innovative FAFSA Challenge, their long-term and ongoing support for the Detroit College Access Network and Detroit Drives Degrees initiative, as well as their support of the Detroit Promise.

The Chief Mate Award – Jennifer Brown, school counselor at Bullock Creek High School
The Chief Mate Award recognizes a school counselor or school counseling program that has made significant strides in advancing the college readiness and enrollment supports and services to students. Jennifer Brown affected the college-going culture at Bullock Creek High School through increasing FAFSA completion rates, successfully completing MCAN’s postsecondary counselor course, and commitment to all three statewide MCAN campaigns.

The Compass Award – Rep. Brett Roberts and Sen. Jim Ananich
The Compass Award recognizes those that advocate for bold proposals that focus on increasing Michigan’s postsecondary attainment rate.

State Representative Brett Roberts was honored for his ongoing and committed efforts in the passage of HB 4181 (now PA 151 of 2017), legislation that ensures school counselor training includes specific content around college and career advising.

State Senator Jim Ananich (D-Flint) was honored for his efforts around SB 98, expanding the number of legislatively-created promise zones in Michigan to help students pay for college.

The conference featured keynote speakers Michele Siqueiros, president, The Campaign for College Opportunity, Laura Owen, director of the Center for Postsecondary Readiness and Success at American University, and John Fox, head of Mopar sales and operations at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

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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 2016. Additionally, it is estimated another 4 percent of Michiganders have a high-quality certificate, bringing Michigan’s official attainment rate to 43.7 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 micollegeaccess.org.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Deputy Director for Partnerships and Advocacy
Media Contact: Sarah Anthony
Email: Sarah(a)micollegeaccess.org
Cell: 313-355-4078

Download Press Release (PDF)

MCAN responds to education comments in Gov. Snyder’s 2018 State of the State Speech

Jan. 24, 2018 - LANSING, Mich. - The following statement is from Brandy Johnson, executive director of the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN), in response to comments about education delivered by Gov. Rick Snyder in his 2018 State of the State speech.

“Governor Rick Snyder is ending his term as governor on a strong note by drawing a crucial connection between Michigan’s economic stability and postsecondary education attainment in his 2018 State of the State Speech. Gov. Snyder said talent in Michigan is his first priority and called on the Legislature to invest in higher education to supply an educated workforce needed to move our state forward. The early college credits students can take in high school is an important step in the right direction, but we still have work to do.

I was proud to serve on the 21st Century Education Commission. Together, we released a report that provides the framework for Michigan’s education system to better prepare students for a global economy.

The report outlined ambitious college attainment goals:

  • By 2025, 70 percent or more of our 25-year-olds will have completed a college degree, occupational certificate, apprenticeship, or formal skill training. 
  • Eliminate the equity gap at the college enrollment level:  By 2025, the high school graduation and postsecondary enrollment gap between low-income and middle-income children in Michigan will have disappeared.

The Michigan College Access Network team applauds Gov. Snyder’s efforts to improve Michigan’s talent pool, because data demonstrates higher education and in-demand, well-paying jobs go hand-in-hand. The Michigan College Access Network believes all students should be sent the same message, they are college material and postsecondary education is vital to succeeding. Family income should never dictate a student’s future, and we applaud the governor’s efforts to make education a priority for all 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 43.4 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 micollegeaccess.org.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Deputy Director for Partnerships and Advocacy
Media Contact: Sarah Anthony
Email: Sarah(a)micollegeaccess.org
Cell: 313-355-4078

Download Press Release (PDF)

Michigan College Access Network Welcomes New Employee

Jahshua Smith will work to increase access to postsecondary education in Michigan

Jan. 22, 2018 - LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) welcomed Jahshua Smith to their AdviseMI team. In his role, Smith will work to enhance the training and professional development of college advisers across the state and help increase Michigan residents’ college readiness, participation and completion of postsecondary degrees through the AdviseMI program.

“Having knowledgeable staff is absolutely vital to the success of the AdviseMI program,” said Brandy Johnson, MCAN Executive Director. “As a program supervisor, Jahshua will work to enhance the training and professional development of college advisers in Metro Detroit and ensure that high school seniors are college and career ready. We are thrilled to have him join our team.”

Smith will serve as MCAN’s AdviseMI Program Supervisor for Metro Detroit. Prior to joining MCAN, he worked as a behavior treatment specialist, supervisor and residential counselor for Highfields Inc., while also serving as program director for All of the Above Creative in Lansing. Before that, he held a position as a school and community specialist with the Center for Court Innovation in New York and was the program coordinator for New Community for Children in Washington D.C. Smith has a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Michigan State University.

“Postsecondary education and degree attainment is paramount for Michigan’s continued success,” said Smith. “Advisers play a key role in helping students gain access to higher education, and I’m eager to help AdviseMI produce and place well-trained advisers in Michigan high schools to help ensure students are equipped with college and career options that best suit them.”

 Smith is a perfect fit for MCAN’s mission to increase postsecondary enrollment and completion because of his passion for education. His experience as both an educator and a leader compliments his role as an AdviseMI program supervisor to combine perspective from both roles to enhance the program.  

AdviseMI partners with 17 Michigan colleges and universities and has helped trained dozens of college advisers to help students in the college exploration, application, financial and preparation processes.

Visit our staff page to learn more about our team’s dedication to improving college attainment rates among Michigan residents.

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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 43.4 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 micollegeaccess.org.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Deputy Director for Partnerships and Advocacy
Media Contact: Sarah Anthony
Email: Sarah(a)micollegeaccess.org
Cell: 313-355-4078

Download Press Release (PDF)

MCAN to Receive Grant from National College Access Network

Funding will bolster efforts to strengthen students pursuing higher education in Michigan  

Jan.10, 2018 - LANSING, Mich. – The National College Access Network (NCAN) has awarded the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) a State Member Advocacy Grant to help bolster efforts to educate legislators and support policies that strengthen education and postsecondary efforts.

The grant will provide $20,000 over a two year period, totaling $40,000. This grant will provide MCAN the opportunity to expand their organizational capacity to promote policies that support students and their higher education experience.

MCAN is committed  to increasing Michigan’s college readiness, participation and completion rates, particularly among low-income students, first-generation college going students and students of color.

“This grant allows an important education component to ensuring Michigan’s lawmakers know the importance of postsecondary education, as well understanding the efforts on the ground within the communities they represent,” said Brandy Johnson, executive director of the Michigan College Access Network. “The State Member Adovocacy Grant will allow us to focus more resources on raising awareness to increase college access and preparedness opportunities throughout the state .”  

Throughout the duration of the grant period, MCAN will work alongside other college access organizations across NCAN’s membership. The MCAN team will focus on the needs of students and raise conciousness around the importance of need-based aid. 

“Expanding our efforts translates to a broader reach,” said Johnson. “There are issues our organization supports to assist students with the college-going process, including academic, financial and social support.”

MCAN supports legislation that aligns with their mission of improving college access. House bill 4181, introduced by Rep. Brett Roberts (R- Charlotte), was signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder. This legislation would require school counselors to receive training on career and college advising to help guide the decision-making of high school students.

To learn more about the Michigan College Access Network and their efforts to improve Michigan’s college attainment rate, visit micollegeacess.org

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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 43.4 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 micollegeaccess.org

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Deputy Director for Partnerships and Advocacy
Media Contact: Sarah Anthony
Email: Sarah(a)micollegeaccess.org
Cell: 313-355-4078

Download Press Release (PDF)

MCAN Recognizes 11 Selected Michigan Schools

To Receive System Impact Grants

Nov. 2017 - LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) announced today that more than $265,000 in High School System Impact Grants will be awarded to 11 high schools across the state to enhance college and career readiness policy and practices. The awarded schools will receive grants of up to $25,000.

“The funds provided by Reach Higher System Impact Grants will provide the resources necessary for schools to implement bold changes to help their students prepare for a college education and future careers,” said Brandy Johnson, executive director of the Michigan College Access Network. “In today’s knowledge-based economy, it’s imperative that we support students in their efforts to further their education. The Reach Higher System Impact Grants encourage existing participants in our network to take their efforts beyond programming to drive systems change within the partner schools.”

Each of the 11 high schools selected to receive a Reach Higher System Impact Grant was a second year participant of MCAN’s Reach Higher grant program, an initiative aimed at supporting college-going culture inside high schools to increase the number of high school students ready for and enrolling in college. Last year, 100 high schools across the state received more than $500,000 in grants as a part of the Reach Higher program.

Schools were selected based on a competitive grant review process. Reach Higher System Impact Grants will support programs and reforms aimed at bolstering metrics around college and career readiness in a variety of ways, including:

  • Establishing institutionalized college advising positions, increasing existing college and career readiness staff positions, and improving student access to postsecondary education counseling services.
  • Reforming curriculums and course arrangements to specifically address topics such as college readiness, career development and financial literacy.
  • Improving access to college test preparation resources and training programs designed to increase standardized test scores.
  • Creation of college and career planning centers where students, teachers, advisors, and counselors can meet and formulate postsecondary education plans with students.          

“The innovative system changes and reforms made possible by these grants will positively impact students and will build on the successes created by the Reach Higher program,” said Johnson. 

The list of grant recipients includes:

High Schools

Allegan County Area Technical and Education Center

Bridgman High School

Comstock High School

Detroit School of Arts

Hartland High School

Hastings High School

Mancelona High School

Monroe High School

Muskegon High School

Plainwell High School

Whitmore Lake High School

 

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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 43.4 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 micollegeaccess.org.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Deputy Director for Partnerships and Advocacy
Media Contact: Sarah Anthony
Email: Sarah(a)micollegeaccess.org
Cell: 313-355-4078

Download Press Release (PDF)

 

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