Press Releases

Sixty-two Michigan High Schools Selected for Innovative College Adviser Program

Second year of AdviseMI helping more low-income and first-generation students get into college

LANSING, Mich. – Sixty-two Michigan high schools were selected to host college advisers to help more students make it into college after being selected to join the Michigan College Access Network’s AdviseMI program. This is the second year of the AdviseMI program, expanding by nine additional college advisers serving eleven new schools.

The goal of AdviseMI is to increase the number of high school students who enter and complete postsecondary education by embedding well-trained, dedicated, near-peer college advisers into high schools across Michigan, particularly those with low college-going rates and low adult educational attainment rates.

Michigan high school counselors currently average caseloads of more than 700 students apiece, making it difficult for them to provide one-on-one college advising or help students navigate the complex process of college admissions and financial aid. The AdviseMI advisers will work alongside high school counselors and other school staff as a capacity builder to support students as they make the transition from high school to a postsecondary education institution.

MCAN’s college advisers will be ready to fill the gap starting in fall 2016 at the high schools selected to participate in AdviseMI. Some advisers will split their time between two high schools, allowing a broader reach in communities across the state. After an intensive four-week training period, advisers will be poised to help students navigate the complex college exploration process, retake college admissions tests, apply to colleges that are a good match/fit, complete the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA), secure financial aid and enroll in a postsecondary institution.

“We recognize personal contact is the key to guiding and supporting high school students as they evaluate their postsecondary education opportunities,” said Brandy Johnson, MCAN executive director. “MCAN is committed to placing well-trained recent college graduates in schools across the state to assist and supplement the dedication and hard work of high school counselors.”

The advisers will be recent graduates from 16 partner colleges, including Adrian College, Alma College, Calvin College, Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University, Kalamazoo College, Madonna University, Northern Michigan University, Oakland University, Saginaw Valley State University, University of Michigan-Dearborn, University of Michigan-Flint, Wayne State University and Western Michigan University.

The complete list of the 62 high schools selected through a competitive review selection process to receive the 49 college advisers is attached to this email. High schools new to the program are indicated by an asterisk and are in bold type.

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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 sixth 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 39.3 percent. Additionally, it is estimated another 4 percent of Michiganders have a high-quality certificate, bringing Michigan’s official attainment rate to 43.3 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
Media Contact: Lisa King
Email: lisa(a)micollegeaccess.org
Office: 517-316-1713 Cell: 313-451-1387

Download Press Release (PDF) 
Complete list of 62 participating schools

 

Michigan’s College Attainment Rate Increases for the Sixth Year in a Row

Lumina Foundation releases report highlighting increase to 39.3 percent in 2014

April 12, 2016 - LANSING, Mich. – Michigan’s college attainment rate has increased to its highest rate in more than six years according to new census data released from Lumina Foundation. In its 2016 report entitled “A Stronger Nation,” Lumina Foundation, the nation’s largest private foundation focused solely on increasing Americans’ success in higher education, reported Michigan’s degree attainment rate of 25-64 year olds increased from 38.4 percent in 2013 to 39.3 percent in 2014. This is the sixth year in a row that Michigan’s college attainment rate has increased in a one-year period. 

“The impact of increasing Michigan’s college attainment rate is gaining momentum, but we still have important work to do,” said Brandy Johnson, executive director of the Michigan College Access Network. “It’s exciting to see our efforts on a local level pay off, however we’re committed to reaching our goal of 60 percent of Michigan residents with a degree or postsecondary certificate  by the year 2025. Together through a statewide movement, I believe we can spark change to provide every Michigan student the opportunity to continue their education beyond high school.”

Lumina began reporting the attainment rate -- which includes associate degrees and higher -- in 2008. That year, the rate in Michigan stood at 35.7 percent. In 2014, the rate reached 39.3 percent. For the first time this year, there is nationally representative data on the number of Americans who hold postsecondary certificates. The report estimates that in Michigan, 4 percent of residents between the ages of 25 and 64 hold a high-quality certificate, which brings the state’s overall postsecondary attainment rate to 43.3 percent. 

The Michigan College Access Network is working to increase college attainment rates in the state of Michigan and driving home that college is for everyone. In six years, MCAN has accomplished the following:

  • Created and supported nearly 50 local college access networks that are increasing college participation and completion rates
  • Launched AdviseMI, an innovative program to place recent college graduates directly in high schools across the state to provide direct support for the college and financial application process, focusing on helping low-income and first-generation college-going students. 
  • Trained 350+ school counselors on how to be to be college counseling and postsecondary planning specialists.
  • Convened and participated in the Michigan Postsecondary Credential Attainment Workgroup, which published Reaching for Opportunity, a refreshed policy agenda and action plan to help Michigan reach Goal 2025.
  • Established annual College Application Week encouraging students across the state to apply for colleges.
  • Developed public awareness and outreach campaigns and assist students to families applying for federal student aid.
  • Celebrates College Decision Day, an event that plays on the NCAA’s national signing day for student athletes to celebrate students choosing to continue their education beyond high school.

To view the complete report, visit www.luminafoundation.org/stronger_nation2016. To view the Michigan brief, click 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. Michigan has recently experienced an increase in our college attainment rate -- from 38.4 percent of 25-to-64-year-olds possessing at least an associate degree, to 39.3 percent. However, Michigan’s rate still lags behind the national average of 40.4 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 www.micollegeaccess.org.  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Lisa King 
Email: lisa(a)micollegeaccess.org 
Office: 517-316-1713 
Cell: 313-451-1387

Download Press Release (PDF) 

Michigan College Access Network Honors 22 Organizations and Individuals with College Access Impact Awards

March 9, 2016 - LANSING, MICH. – The Michigan College Access Network held its sixth annual conference in Lansing and recognized numerous outstanding college advocates from across the state on Tuesday at their annual College Access Impact Awards dinner. Eight award categories recognized the hard work and dedication of 22 individuals and organizations that have gone above and beyond to improve postsecondary attainment.

“Every one of the individuals and organizations recognized from this year’s awards have played a vital role sparking change statewide and in their communities,” said Brandy Johnson, executive director of MCAN. “We know one of the most successful drivers for people is to hear personal accounts of perseverance when it comes to higher education. This year’s award-winners are a fantastic group of individuals and organizations who are on the ground and working to drive change by increasing the number of Michigan residents with postsecondary degrees and certificates in our state.”   

This year’s awards dinner honored outstanding college access advocates from across Michigan. The award recipients included:

The Steward Award – Dr. Patrick O’Connor
The Steward Award recognizes those who have dramatically contributed to increasing the skills, talent and knowledge of college access professionals in Michigan. MCAN selected Dr. Patrick O’Connor, the associate dean of college counseling at Cranbrook Schools, because of his leadership and outstanding work to further counselor education through MCAN’s counselor course and advocacy for legislative acknowledgement of the need for professional development. Additionally, he has provided leadership in MCAN’s Reach Higher efforts both locally and nationally.

The Flagship Award – Launch Manistee
The Flagship Award recognizes those who develop sustainable college access networks. Launch Manistee was selected as the recipient because of their dedicated to serving the organizations that support families and students in Manistee County, and for their focus on collective impact and network development.

The Compass Award - Sen. Geoff Hansen and Rep. Tim Kelly
The Compass Award recognizes relentless legislative advocates for postsecondary attainment. Sen. Hansen was honored for regularly demonstrating support for his local college access networks: WE CAN! Newaygo County, Muskegon Opportunity and Oceana County College Access Network. Senator Hansen also provided statewide support through legislation that allowed the growth and fiscal support of MCAN’s impact throughout Michigan that helped fund the launch of AdviseMI and Reach Higher High School programs.

Rep. Kelly chaired the appropriations sub-committee that approved an increase to MCAN’s total state support that allowed it to fund vital programs including AdviseMI, which placed 40 recent college graduates to serve as college advisers in 51 high-need high schools across the state as well as the Reach Higher program, awarding grant funds to 100 high schools.

The Beacon Award – 12 Partner Colleges from the AdviseMI program, including: Alma College, Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University, Madonna University, Oakland University, Saginaw Valley State University, University of Michigan-Dearborn, University of Michigan-Flint, Wayne State University and Western Michigan University.

The Beacon Award recognizes those who strengthen success through partnerships. This year the partner colleges that provided financial and programmatic support for the kick-off of the AdviseMI program were selected. It is these 12 colleges that have earned MCAN’s Beacon Award through their philosophical and financial support of MCAN’s mission and activities through the AdviseMI program to place their best and brightest alums as college advisers in high schools that serve significant numbers of low-income and first generation college students across the state.

The Cardinal Award – Holton High School
The Cardinal Award recognizes those who rally communities by promoting campaigns that create a sense of urgency around the postsecondary planning process. Holton High School received this award for creating the foundation for a positive college-going culture in the high school, a willingness to take on several programs or initiatives to support students in their postsecondary pursuits and integrating a college adviser into their building and community.

The Chief Mate Award – Robert Drake
The Chief Mate Award goes to Robert Drake, the counselor at Jonesville High School, for his commitment to prioritizing college access, building a college-going culture at his high school, and creating a supporting environment to foster students’ postsecondary aspirations.

The Board of Directors Award – Lumina Foundation
The Board of Directors Award goes to Lumina Foundation for their unconditional support of the LCAN concept and commitment to public policy change in Michigan. Additionally, they made an investment in Detroit, Jackson, Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids through their Community Partnership for Attainment grant program.

The Ombudsman Award:

  • John Lockwood, AdviseMI
  • Ellen Goedert, Michigan College Advising Corps
  • Ashley Justice, Michigan State University College Advising Corps

Placing well-trained college advisers in high schools across the state creates strong partnerships with counselors and principals to embed a college-going culture in their building. The Ombudsman Award honors three college advisers for their on-the-ground efforts in high schools and passion for college access. 

In addition to the award ceremony, the Michigan College Access Network hosted more than 450 college access professionals and leaders during the two-day conference. The conference theme, “College Changes Everything,” focused on highlighting personal stories and showcasing the impact postsecondary education makes in our communities and in our personal live through a pre-conference, 35 breakout sessions, and three keynote speakers.

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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 college readiness, participation and completion rates in Michigan, particularly among low-income students, first-generation college-going students and students of color.  For more information, visit www.micollegeaccess.org. You also can find MCAN on Facebook at www.facebook.com/micollegeaccess.

Media Contact
Lisa King, Consultant
Email: lisa(a)micollegeaccess.org
Office: 517-316-1713
Cell: 313-451-1387

Download press release (PDF) 

Michigan College Access Network to Host Sixth Annual Network Conference

March 7, 2016 -  Lansing, Mich.- The Michigan College Access Network is excited to announce an expansion of the annual network conference this year from one day to two days packed with break-out sessions, flexible package options and comprehensive programming to support students, counselors and schools. Flexible package options allow participants to attend various programming, including pre-conference, conference and awards dinner or just the conference and awards dinner.

What: Sixth Annual Michigan College Access Network Conference

Theme: College Changes Everything

The conference theme, “College Changes Everything,” will focus on highlighting personal stories and showcasing the impact postsecondary education makes in our communities and in our personal lives.

When: Tuesday, Mar. 8 from 9:00 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
           Wednesday, Mar. 9 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Where: The Lansing Center, 333 E. Michigan Ave. in Lansing.

Social: Follow the conversation on Twitter at: #MCAN2016, #ReachHigher and #CollegeChangesEverything. You can also download this mobile app to have conference details at your fingertips.

Press: The conference is open to the media. We ask that you please RSVP to Lisa King at lisa(a)micollegeaccess.org or (517) 316-1713. If you are unable to RSVP, please check in at event registration. Event highlights follow. A full schedule is available at: http://www.micollegeaccess.org/events/2016-conference

Reception & Awards Dinner: MCAN will be recognizing individuals and organizations at an awards and dinner reception to recognize the hard work and dedication of those who go above and beyond to improve postsecondary attainment.The reception and awards dinner will take place at the Lansing Center on Tuesday, March 8 at 6:30 p.m.

Breakout Sessions: Attendees of the conference are invited to attend our breakout sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 8 and 9. With more than 35 breakout sessions to choose from, attendees will select from topics like: strengthening school counseling and college advising, closing the gap by working with a lens for equity, college affordability and more.

Keynotes: Join us for three special keynote speakers, including: Dr. Damon F. Arnold who is a consultant, author and motivational speaker as the lunch plenary on Tuesday, Mar. 8, Gregory M. Darnieder, senior advisor to the Secretary of the College Access Initiative, U.S. Department of Education as the Wednesday, Mar. 9 morning keynote and John Bebow who is the president and CEO of the Center for Michigan as the Wednesday, Mar. 9 lunch plenary. Our speakers will share their personal journeys and share insights on the current college-going culture in our state and country.

Thank you to the following Platinum Sponsors for the generous support of the 2016 Michigan College Access Network Conference: Central Michigan University – President’s Office, FHI360, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and The Skillman Foundation.

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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. Michigan has recently experienced a modest increase in our college attainment rate -- from 37.4 percent of 25-to-64-year-olds possessing at least an associate’s degree, to 38.4 percent. However, Michigan’s rate still lags behind the national average of 40 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


Media Contact: 
Lisa King, Consultant
Email: lisa(a)micollegeaccess.org 
Cell: (313) 451-1387

Download press release (PDF)

MCAN Announces New Hires in Expansion of Team to Improve College Attainment in Michigan

Operations assistant and program assistant demonstrate growing team at MCAN

January 8, 2016 - LANSING, MICH. – MCAN announces the hire of two assistants to their growing team. These individuals will help with the organization's goal of increasing the number of students in Michigan pursuing postsecondary education. Connor McLaughlin, program assistant, and Dawn Stemen, operations assistant, both started this week. In the past year, MCAN has nearly doubled its staff of dedicated individuals who are working to serve communities across Michigan, especially those with low college-going rates and low adult educational attainment rates.

"Our team is growing, along with our commitment to increase the number of Michigan residents with high-quality degrees or credentials," said Brandy Johnson, executive director of MCAN. "These two new professionals are excellent additions to our staff as we work to touch even more lives in 2016. Their experience will ensure we start the New Year off on the right foot."

Connor McLaughlin previously worked as the Dr. Kathy A. Agard Fellow in Community Philanthropy with Our State of Generosity project at the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy, conducting research on the history of Michigan's philanthropic infrastructure by archiving historical documents and oral history interviews. Connor holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Grand Valley University. At MCAN, McLaughlin will work to support MCAN's local community investment work through multiple high-impact programs developing the infrastructure and activity to increase Michigan's college attainment rate.

Prior to joining MCAN, Dawn Stemen served as director of educational partnerships and site director for Olivet Nazarene University's School of Graduate and Continuing Studies. She's also the office manager for the Church of the Nazarene's Michigan District. Dawn received her undergraduate degree in Office Administration from Mount Vernon Nazarene University of Mount Vernon, Ohio. At MCAN, Stemen will work under the director of finance and operations and ensure day-to-day support in the office, along with maintaining constituent relations.

MCAN is also hiring a newly created position, the director of finance and operations, which will manage financial, human resources, administration and operational functions for the organization.

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. Michigan has recently experienced a modest increase in our college attainment rate -- from 37.4 percent of 25-to-64-year-olds possessing at least an associate's degree, to 38.4 percent. However, Michigan's rate still lags behind the national average of 40 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.

Media Contact
Lisa King, communications consultant
Email: lisa(a)micollegeaccess.org
Cell: 313-451-1387

Download press release (PDF)

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