Press Releases

Michigan College Access Network congratulates Wayne State University on its bold initiative to offer free tuition to Detroit graduates

WSU announces the establishment of the
Heart of Detroit Tuition Pledge for full-time students from the city

Statement from Michigan College Access Network Executive Director Ryan Fewins-Bliss:

The Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) is elated about Wayne State University’s new Heart of Detroit Tuition Pledge, which will provide free tuition to full-time students from the city of Detroit.

With this announcement, WSU is distinguishing itself as a statewide leader in making postsecondary education affordable and attainable. WSU’s efforts complement MCAN’s own mission of increasing college readiness, participation and completion in Michigan.

This initiative also will help close educational equity gaps in Michigan’s largest city with the most diverse student population. That is critical to Michigan’s future, as we need to increase diversity in higher education and the workforce.

We challenge more Michigan colleges and universities to follow WSU’s lead in making postsecondary plans for Michigan students more accessible, and we look forward to supporting programs that encourage enrollment and completion. Programs such as these are directly aligned with the state’s “Sixty by 30” goal, which aims to increase the percentage of Michigan residents who complete a postsecondary certificate or degree to 60% by 2030.

ABOUT MICHIGAN COLLEGE ACCESS NETWORK (MCAN)

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% 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 postsecondary certificate, bringing Michigan’s official 2019 attainment rate to 45%. MCAN’s goal is to increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60% by 2030. 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)

Michigan College Access Network invests $9,000 to support student success efforts at Mid Michigan College

Grant will support the launch and use of streaming technology in rural Michigan

October 24, 2019 - LANSING, Mich. — Students living in Huron and Tuscola counties soon will have more access to college coursework thanks to a $9,000 Innovative Program Grant awarded to Mid Michigan College by the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN).   

Using streaming technology, Mid Michigan College will expand its outreach by serving students where there is a lack of college coursework options. The goal of the initiative is to bring higher education opportunities to rural communities.

“We would like to pilot a streaming solution that facilitates one-on-one academic advising, student services and supplemental academic support,” said Scott Mertes, vice president of community outreach and advancement at Mid Michigan College. “Low-income students may especially benefit because the streaming technology solutions will be implemented throughout the community, which may help to ease transportation issues that rural students often face.”

“This initiative aligns with our goal of ‘Sixty by 30’ and increases college access in Michigan’s rural areas, where there is a lack of higher education offerings,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, executive director of MCAN. “We are looking forward to seeing how interactive technology can play a role in enrolling and supporting students in college.”

MCAN’s Innovative Program Grants are designed to fund programming that increases college readiness, enrollment and completion in communities across the state. Since these grants were introduced in 2016, MCAN has awarded more than $335,000 in 34 different Innovative Program Grants to organizations throughout Michigan.

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 MID MICHIGAN COLLEGE

Mid Michigan College (“Mid”), with campuses in Harrison and Mount Pleasant, has been serving students since 1965. With state-of the-art facilities, experienced faculty and knowledgeable counselors, Mid is dedicated to helping students get the most out of every class.  Mid offers nearly 50 degrees and credentials. Transfer programs are designed for students intending to transfer credits to baccalaureate degree-granting institutions. Career programs provide students with the necessary skills and related knowledge to qualify for skilled, technical and semi-professional positions in business, industry and the allied health fields.

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

Download Press Release (PDF)

Michigan College Access Network forms new collaboration with Michigan Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships

Agreement capitalizes on similar missions focused on increasing postsecondary attainment in Michigan

October 22, 2019 - LANSING, Mich.— In a first-of-its-kind partnership, the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) has signed an agreement with Michigan Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (MiCEP) to leverage resources and opportunities in support of increasing Michigan’s postsecondary attainment rate.

Through this partnership:

  • MiCEP members will join MCAN’s annual conference.
  • Joint webinars will be offered.
  • MiCEP will join MCAN’s College Access Alliance.
  • MiCEP will continue to serve as a sponsor of MCAN’s annual conference.
  • MiCEP will officially support the “Sixty by 30” statewide postsecondary attainment goal set by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
  • MiCEP members will contribute submissions to the MCAN-affiliated “Journal of College Access.”           

“This partnership signifies an enhanced commitment to each other and to students in earning college credits before graduating from high school,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, executive director of MCAN. “We are mission aligned, and this provides an opportunity to collaborate in new ways to increase college attainment.”

For several years, MiCEP has been a sponsor of MCAN’s annual conference.

“MiCEP is honored to join forces with MCAN to expand access and college credit opportunities for Michigan’s high school students. MCAN has long been recognized as a leader dedicated to increasing the percentage of Michigan residents with degrees or postsecondary certificates,” said DeeDee Stakley, president of MiCEP. “MiCEP is committed to supporting MCAN in the 60% by 2030 initiative.”

Stakley said MiCEP is committed to supporting college credit opportunities for Michigan high school students through the advocacy of quality initiatives including best practices and research that promote student access and completion, program development, professional development, communication and high-quality standards.

“Early access to college courses through concurrent enrollment, dual enrollment and early college high schools represent a vital bridge to postsecondary education success for students,” said Amy Williams, executive director of the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP). “NACEP is glad to see that MiCEP and MCAN — two organizations with a core focus on student success — have joined forces to expand and enrich their collective voice in this space.”

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 MiCEP

The Michigan Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (MiCEP) began in 2014 as a grassroots cadre of concurrent enrollment practitioners and advocates from across Michigan meeting to discuss best practices, opportunities and challenges. The purpose of MICEP is to support concurrent enrollment programs through the advocacy of quality initiatives including best practices and research that promote student access and completion, program development, professional development, communication and high-quality standards. MiCEP is affiliated with the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP).  For more information, visit nacep.org/micep.

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

Download Press Release (PDF)

Michigan College Access Network names new Executive Director

Ryan Fewins-Bliss selected after national search

October 17, 2019 - LANSING, Mich.− Ryan Fewins-Bliss has been named the next Executive Director of the Michigan College Access Network following a national search. Fewins-Bliss began serving as Interim Executive Director of MCAN in March 2019 and will start serving in the Executive Director role permanently beginning Nov. 1, 2019.  

Fewins-Bliss replaces MCAN’s founding Executive Director, Brandy Johnson, who became Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Advisor on Postsecondary Attainment and Workforce Development in March.

“Ryan’s lifelong commitment to college access and opportunity have made a world of difference in his previous work at MCAN,” said Patrick O’Connor, Ph.D., chair of the MCAN board of directors and associate dean of college counseling at Cranbrook Kingswood Upper School. “We look forward to Ryan guiding us to new levels of service and achievement in the years to come. We’re thrilled to have him as our new Executive Director.”

“I’ve been honored to work with Michigan College Access Network since the organization was launched in 2010,” said Fewins-Bliss. “I’ve had many roles at MCAN over time – consultant, part-time staffer, deputy director and am now pleased to continue serving this organization as its next leader.”

During his tenure at MCAN, Fewins-Bliss designed and led the Local College Access Network (LCAN) strategy across the state, expanded and refined the AdviseMI College Adviser Program and amplified MCAN’s work to a national audience through Lumina Foundation’s Talent Hub designation.

“With a new commitment to Sixty by 30, incredible partners and supportive elected officials, we are quickly launching into our next decade of work,” Fewins-Bliss said. “This is our collective opportunity to make sure Michigan is on the forefront of economic sustainability through workforce and talent development. I’m ready to continue MCAN’s leadership in rallying the state toward progress.”

About Fewins-Bliss

Most recently, Fewins-Bliss served as deputy director for community and partner mobilization at MCAN. In this role, he provided leadership to the nearly 30 Local College Access Networks in Michigan, specifically the use of the collective impact framework to increase postsecondary attainment rates in communities. He has managed millions of dollars in grants awarded to LCANs, high schools, colleges and non-profit organizations. Fewins-Bliss has also served as a national grantee coach and technical assistance provider through his work at Lumina Foundation. 

Prior to joining MCAN, Fewins-Bliss was an education and non-profit consultant and previously served at the Michigan Campus Compact and Saginaw Valley State University. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Central Michigan University. Fewins-Bliss is active in his community as the board treasurer of the Bath Township Public Library.

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% 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 the year 2030. For more information, visit micollegeaccess.org. 

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

Download Press Release (PDF)

Michigan College Access Network responds to Michigan’s membership in Complete College America

State joins national organization that promotes increased college access

Statement from Michigan College Access Network Interim Director Ryan Fewins-Bliss:

The Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) is excited by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s announcement today of Michigan’s membership in Complete College America (CCA). By joining a national organization that promotes increased college access and completion rates, Michigan, as a state, is placing a priority on postsecondary opportunity for all.

We stand ready to support Michigan’s higher education institutions in implementing the research-based strategies of CCA, including grants, training and advocacy.

The governor’s leadership on this issue and today’s action aligns with the mission of MCAN – to increase college readiness, participation and completion in Michigan, particularly among low-income students, first-generation college-going students and students of color. It also helps move us in the right direction toward Michigan’s goal of increasing the percentage of Michigan residents with degrees and postsecondary certificates to 60% by 2030.

We look forward to working with Michelle Richard and other members of the Michigan Higher Education Attainment Roundtable (MIHEART) on the initiatives related to Complete College America.

With Michigan’s membership in CCA and the state’s “Sixty by 30” goal, we aim to increase:

·      The percent of students enrolled in Michigan's community colleges completing, graduating or transferring within six years (currently at 45.8%).

  • The percent of students enrolled in a Michigan public university graduating within six years (currently at 73.3 %).
  • The percent of high school graduates who complete a postsecondary certificate or degree within six years (currently at 38.13%).

Michigan’s path to economic prosperity is closely aligned with college access and completion. Any steps we can take to support students are essential for our state’s growth and individuals’ opportunities.

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 the year 2030. 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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