Press Releases

Michigan College Access Network invests $10,000 to encourage early postsecondary exposure in Redford

The grant will support the launch of the Warriors WILL program to encourage early postsecondary education exposure, experience and success.

September 11, 2019 - LANSING, Mich.— Students at Redford’s Westfield Preparatory High School will have the chance to sample college experiences and explore careers thanks to a $10,000 Innovative Program Grant from the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN).

The award will launch the Warriors WILL (Willingly Innovate Learn and Lead) program that encourages early postsecondary exposure, experience and success for all students.

The grant-funded initiative will have two components:

  • Summer enrichment and intervention program.
  • High school dual enrollment, starting with ninth graders.

The weeklong summer enrichment and intervention program includes career exploration, 21st century skills, team building, field trips and college tours. The high school dual enrollment experience will focus on completing a college-level speech or humanities course, as well as a campus visit.

“Warriors WILL enables us to identify students with academic gaps which will, in turn, allow us to be proactive about interventions and remediations,” said Aquan Grant, founder and principal of Westfield Prep. “We also look forward to giving students the chance to experience college-level coursework with guidance from both high school and college staff to increase college enrollment and success.”

“This initiative aligns with our goal of Sixty by 30 and provides opportunities for students who can benefit from early college credit programs,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, interim executive director of MCAN. “We are looking forward to Warriors WILL leading to increases in college enrollment and completion for Westfield Prep students.”

MCAN’s Innovative Program Grants are designed to fund programming that increases college readiness, enrollment and completion in local communities and across the state. Since these grants were introduced in 2016, MCAN has awarded more than $300,000 in 32 grants to organizations throughout the state with grants of up to $10,000.

ABOUT THE MICHIGAN COLLEGE ACCESS NETWORK (MCAN)

As the leader in the state’s college access movement, MCAN has a 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% of 25-to-64-year-olds possessing at least an associate degree in 2008, to 41% in 2018. Additionally, it is estimated another 4% of Michiganders have a high-quality certificate, bringing Michigan’s official attainment rate to 45% as of 2019. It is MCAN’s goal to increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60% by 2030. For more information, visit micollegeaccess.org.

ABOUT WESTFIELD PREPARATORY HIGH SCHOOL

Founded in 2019, Westfield Preparatory High School is a new charter school in Redford, Michigan, authorized by Grand Valley State University.  The school is managed by PrepNet, and the school’s mission is “Preparing for college success.” Each graduate of this school is required to complete a minimum of two Advanced Placement courses, two approved college courses over the 100-level, or one AP course and one approved college course over the 100-level, make successful application to a four-year college or university, complete 60 hours of community service, and successfully complete an individualized senior project. For more information, visit nhaschools.com/schools/westfield-preparatory-high-school/en.

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

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Youth in foster care have stronger college access opportunity thanks to Ferris State University President

August 27, 2019 - LANSING, Mich.− Youth in foster care and adoptive families now have a stronger path forward toward higher education thanks to Ferris State University. 

In line with the Michigan College Access Network’s (MCAN) mission to increase college participation and The New Foster Care’s (TNFC) goal of supporting youth transitioning out of foster care, MCAN and TNFC commend Ferris President David Eisler and his wife Patsy for their recent establishment of the Norris and Irene Johnson Scholarship Endowment. 

Ferris recently announced the creation of the Endowment after the Eisler family chose to memorialize Patsy’s adoptive parents, Norris and Irene Johnson, with a $350,000 scholarship endowment. The Ferris Foundation has matched that gift through the Ferris Futures Scholarship Challenge, creating $700,000 in scholarship support for former foster care youth to attend Ferris and earn a bachelor’s degree. 

“MCAN is thrilled to learn of this new and important resource for youth in foster care.  This is a tremendous commitment to increasing college access and expanding opportunity for those students often left behind by our systems,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, MCAN’s interim executive director. “The Eisler’s support for youth in foster care and adoptive families to consider higher education is an incredible gift as is the inclusion of these students in the Ferris family.” 

According to Casey Family Programs, 70 percent of youth in foster care report that they want to attend college, but fewer than 10 percent who graduate from high school enroll in college, and of those less than one percent graduate from college.

"I was honored to meet with Dr. David Eisler while doing a Fostering Success Michigan campus tour for youth who have experienced foster care," said Khadija Walker-Fobbs, Executive Director of The New Foster Care. "His vision and passion for all youth, combined with the mentor and coaching supports provided through the Ferris Youth Initiative foster care support program, create a legacy of leadership and generational change." 

The State of Michigan also recognizes the importance of assisting youth in foster care and adoptive families through the Fostering Futures Scholarship, made possible by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Michigan Department of Treasury. 

“Care and responsibility for children and youth in foster care is everyone’s business,” said JooYeun Chang, executive director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Services Agency. “All of our youth deserve an opportunity to pursue their dreams of a higher education and a fair chance to succeed in adulthood. With this generous donation the Eislers and Ferris State are helping our youth realize their dreams of a college education.”

For more information about the Norris and Irene Johnson Scholarship Endowment, visit ferris.edu/HTMLS/news/archive/2019/august/eisler.htm. For more information about the Ferris Youth Initiative visit ferris.edu/diversity/FOFYI/. Learn more about MCAN at micollegeaccess.org, TNFC at thenewfostercare.org, and Fostering Success Michigan at FosteringSuccessMichigan.com.

About Michigan College Access Network 

As the leader in the state’s college access movement, MCAN has a mission 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 2030. For more information, visit micollegeaccess.org

Media Contact: Christopher Tremblay
Email: Christopher(a)micollegeaccess.org
Phone: (517) 816-7774

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AdviseMI Begins 2019 Training for College Advisers Across Michigan

Training program prepares advisers to help students navigate college-going process

July 29, 2019 - LANSING, Mich.− AdviseMI, an initiative through the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN), has begun its annual four-week training program for high school advisers at a conference center in Lansing. Once trained, 56 recent college graduates will serve as postsecondary education advisers in 72 schools across Michigan, with a special focus on schools where a lower percentage of students attend college.

This advanced training, in partnership with the MSU College Advising Corps, is designed to prepare the new advisers to begin working this fall at their assigned schools to encourage more Michigan students to pursue education beyond high school. This is the fifth year of the AdviseMI program. In that time period, AdviseMI has trained 144 college advisers.

“AdviseMI provides important college access resources to nearly 20,000 students and their families,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, interim executive director of MCAN. “We want to change the conversation to ensure all students know, regardless of their ZIP code, they are college material. As recent college graduates themselves, our advisers can help students as near-peers and play a role in driving that message home to students.”

In 2018, AdviseMI received the Outstanding National Service Award at the Governor’s Service Award ceremony. The Outstanding National Service Award is awarded to programs that make an impact in communities and successfully support their service members.

“Our training is comprehensive and intense. We bring college access experts from across the state and country to discuss financial aid programs, match and fit, and the best way to navigate obstacles that students might find in their path to furthering their education,” said Melissa Steward, director of AdviseMI.

These experts will range from high school counselors to financial aid representatives to national organizations such as uAspire. In addition to attending the formal sessions, college advisers will tour college campuses and meet with financial aid and admissions staff, and learn about unique programs that each campus offers.

Once they complete their training, some of the advisers will split their time between two high schools, allowing 56 college advisers to serve 72 high schools across the state. To learn more about AdviseMI, go here.

For media interested in attending a training session, please contact Christopher Tremblay. 

About Michigan College Access Network 

As the leader in the state’s college access movement, MCAN is focused on increasing college readiness, participation and completion in Michigan, 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 postsecondary certificate, bringing Michigan’s 2019 attainment rate to 45 percent.  Along with the State of Michigan, it is MCAN’s goal to increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60 percent by the year 2030. For more information, visit micollegeaccess.org

Media Contact: Christopher Tremblay
christopher(a)micollegeaccess.org
517-816-7774

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Michigan College Access Network moves to support Gov. Whitmer’s statewide postsecondary education goal

Gov. Whitmer called for statewide goal of 60 percent of adults with postsecondary credentials by 2030

July 8, 2019 - LANSING, Mich.− The Michigan College Access Network’s (MCAN) board of directors has moved to align their primary goal to support Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s statewide postsecondary education goal, voting to adopt that 60 percent of Michigan residents complete a postsecondary certificate or degree by the year 2030. MCAN looks forward to continued partnerships with the Governor and her administration to address a growing talent shortage in the state’s workforce.

“I’ve listened to business owners across the state and the most resounding concern is finding top talent,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “I have also talked to families, and they are worried about how to pay for their children to go to college.  The skills gap and college affordability pose serious challenges, and my ‘60 by 30’ plan makes a critical connection between furthering the education of Michigan’s residents and our state’s economic vitality. If residents are willing to put in the work, they should have a path to earn a postsecondary credential and build a life here in Michigan.”

In an effort to cultivate a more educated workforce, Gov. Whitmer proposed two new programs aimed at addressing barriers to postsecondary education. The Michigan Opportunity Initiative would provide graduating high school students with two years of postsecondary education at a community college toward a certificate or an associate degree, debt-free. For students meeting certain criteria including GPA and financial need, the Michigan Opportunity Initiative would provide up to $2,500 toward a four-year degree a year for up to two years at a not-for-profit, four-year university. The Governor’s second proposal, the Michigan Reconnect Grant, would help adults obtain an associate degree and industry-recognized certificates or credentials, debt-free.

“Gov. Whitmer’s education priorities supporting Michigan students are an essential next step to address the state’s talent gap,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, Michigan College Access Network interim executive director. “MCAN’s board voted to support the Governor’s bold vision of 60 percent postsecondary attainment by 2030 because the research makes it clear that college is a necessity in today’s workforce and economy. Michigan currently ranks sixth in the country for highest family share of college expenses and 32nd in the amount of state need-based aid. We would like to flip those statistics.”

Michigan was the only state in the Midwest, and one of just nine states in the country, to not have an established state goal until the Governor’s announcement.

Michigan’s postsecondary attainment rate has increased from 36 percent in 2010 to 45 percent in 2019. MCAN supports statewide and local efforts to expand education beyond high school in Michigan using a strategic plan that will 1) foster a college-going culture, 2) identify multiple postsecondary education pathways and facilitate smooth transitions, 3) improve college affordability, and 4) support credential completion.

About Michigan College Access Network
As the leader in the state’s college access movement, MCAN’s mission is to increase college readiness, participation and completion in Michigan, 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 four percent of Michiganders have a postsecondary certificate, bringing Michigan’s 2019 attainment rate to 45 percent.  Along with the State of Michigan, it is MCAN’s goal to increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60 percent by the year 2030. For more information, visit micollegeaccess.org

Media Contact: Christopher Tremblay
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
517-816-7774

Download Press Release (PDF)

Michigan College Access Network awards $25,000 grant to Oceana College Access Network

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

June 28, 2019 - LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) announced the Oceana College Access Network (OCAN!) will receive a $25,000 continuous improvement grant to support continuous improvement for the college access and success work in the county. 

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 Oceana LCAN will use this grant to focus on continuous improvement.  Specifically, the work will include the development of communication plans for the community, students and families, creation of new onboarding protocols for leadership team meetings and revising existing components like an asset map, fact sheet, and annual report.

“Timely and meaningful communication throughout all components of the network structure is crucial to ensuring movement toward common goals,” said Alyssa Merten, coordinator of the Oceana LCAN. “Our bottom line is simple – regardless of background or zip code, every student deserves the opportunity to further their education. The supports we’re implementing will better position the people who are helping students and their families understand how to navigate the college-going process.”

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.

In 2019, the Oceana College Access Network received The Flagship Award from the Michigan College Access Network. The Flagship Award recognizes those that develop sustainable college access networks. OCAN! has a strong focus on data disaggregation, with a specific focus on Latino students. Oceana CAN was recognized for their strong, engaged leadership team as well as their voice in advocacy.

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About the Oceana County College Access Network

Oceana CAN! is a collaborative of K-12 schools, businesses, colleges, and organizations focused on ensuring all students have resources and the mindset to pursue and complete higher education after high school. Oceana CAN! builds a culture within Oceana County focused on post-secondary education awareness, access, and attainment as a means to build and sustain a vibrant local economy and help alleviate poverty. In addition, the network works to provide an educated and trained workforce to meet local employer needs by lowering systemic barriers that prevent students from entering colleges and technical programs. Finally, it coordinates college access and mentoring services to students, particularly those who come from low income and/or first generation college-going families.

About Michigan College Access Network 
As the leader in the state’s college access movement, MCAN has a mission 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.  For more information, visit micollegeaccess.org

Media Contact: Christopher Tremblay
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
517-816-7774

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