Press Releases

The Kresge Foundation awards $1.1 million for college access in Michigan

Michigan College Access Network projects propelled forward by The Kresge Foundation support

LANSING, Mich. - July 21, 2015 - The Kresge Foundation approved a $1.1 million grant for the Michigan College Access Network to continue its work improving the number of Michigan residents pursuing and succeeding in postsecondary education. The two-year grant will run from July 2015 through the end of September 2017.

The grant will support several existing programs furthering college access in Michigan, including the new effort AdviseMI, which connects high school students with well-trained college advisers to help students navigate the college exploration process.

"We are honored The Kresge Foundation recognizes and believes in our core mission to increase the number of students pursuing higher education in Michigan," said Brandy Johnson, MCAN executive director. "We believe postsecondary education is a necessity and are grateful for the Foundation's generosity. This grant will help us strengthen existing programs and increase our impact even further over the next two years."

MCAN has worked to build local college access networks, or LCANs, in communities across the state, spanning across different organizations representing philanthropy, government, business, nonprofits, K-12 and the higher education sector. All LCANs are committed to influencing change in their local communities and boosting the number of people enrolling in postsecondary education.

MCAN improves access to higher education for all Michigan residents by advocating for policy reforms that lower the barriers to college for students, sponsoring a number of statewide initiatives focused on increasing college access and delivering professional development that trains college access professionals to be highly qualified and effective college advisers.

The Kresge Foundation is a longtime supporter of MCAN. The Foundation's mission is to expand opportunities for low-income people in America's cities.

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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 40.0 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.

About The Kresge Foundation
The Kresge Foundation is a $3.5 billion private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America's cities through grantmaking and social investing in arts and culture, higher education, environment, health, human services, and community development efforts in Detroit. The focus of the Foundation's higher education grantmaking is to improve access to and through postsecondary education for low-income and students of color. For more information, visit kresge.org or follow @kresgedu.

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

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MCAN Begins Training of College Advisers for AdviseMI

New and innovative program kicks off training sessions to prepare advisors

LANSING, MICH. – July 8, 2015 - Training begins this week as the Michigan College Access Network prepares a cohort of 40 new advisers who will work out of 50 high schools across the state to serve as postsecondary education advisers, especially focusing on those with low college-going rates and low adult educational attainment rates.

The hired college advisers are recent graduates of 12 partner colleges and training is held in East Lansing. All college advisers will live together on the campus of Michigan State University for four weeks before heading to their assigned communities for the start of the 2015 school year. The innovative approach to training these advisers is to share both comradery and a common goal of assisting more Michigan students to pursue postsecondary education.

"We are excited to kick off the training portion of our new program and provide the necessary foundation for these new advisors to serve communities across the state," said Brandy Johnson, executive director of MCAN. "Our organization is dedicated to making college accessible for all and every one of these advisors shares our vision and commitment to influence positive change."

The training session brings together college access experts from across the state and country to discuss financial aid including state aid programs, how to help with the college application process, how to work with special populations and navigating other obstacles students sometimes find in the path to furthering their education. These experts will range from high school counselors to financial aid representatives to national organizations like the College Board and uAspire. In addition to classroom style learning, the college advisers will visit college campuses for tours and meet with financial aid and admissions staff.

These advisors are recent graduates from 12 partnering colleges and some will split their time between two high schools allowing 40 college advisers to serve 50 high schools across the state.

To learn more about AdviseMI, visit www.micollegeaccess.org/statewide-initiatives/advisemi.

For media interested in attending a training session, please contact Lisa King.

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Media Contact: Lisa King, Consultant
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Office: 517-316-1713
Cell: 313-451-1387

MCAN Announces Co-Directors of New College Adviser Program, AdviseMI

Adviser program aims to get more low-income and first-generation students into college

LANSING, MICH. - June 4, 2015 – MCAN announces the hire of two co-directors to lead their innovative AdviseMI program to place new college advisers in more than 40 high schools across the state. The co-directors, Bristol Day and Jacqueline Ruhland, started this week. The goal of AdviseMI is to place recent college graduates into high schools to serve as postsecondary education advisers in communities across Michigan, especially those with low college-going rates and low adult educational attainment rates.

"Both professionals are an excellent fit for these leadership positions," said Brandy Johnson, executive director of MCAN. "Their experience teamed with a passion to make college accessible for all will ensure this new program starts successfully."

Day and Ruhland will directly supervise advisers, evaluate and make improvements to advising services and manage relationships with partnering high schools and colleges.

Day holds a master's degree in student affairs administration from Michigan State University and is a former community director within Residence Education and Housing Services at MSU. At MCAN, she will oversee the internal operations of the AdviseMI program, including program compliance, training, and human resources.

Ruhland previously worked as a transfer student recruitment specialist at Olivet College and served as a college adviser for the Michigan State University College Advising Corps. She holds a master's degree in public administration from Oakland University and will manage external relations of the AdviseMI program, including adviser recruitment and college partnerships.

The co-directors will lead AdviseMI in its charge to place 40 recent college graduates as advisers in Michigan high schools, starting in Fall of 2015. Advisers will work alongside school counselors and support students as they explore careers, apply to postsecondary education institutions, and secure financial aid.

These advisors will be graduates from 12 partnering colleges, and some will split their time between two high schools allowing 40 college advisers to serve 50 high schools. After an intensive four-week training period over the summer, advisers will be poised to help 35,000 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.

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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.

Download press release (MS Word)

Media Contact: Lisa King, Consultant
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Office: 517-316-1713
Cell: 313-451-1387

Michigan High Schools Celebrate Seniors During College Decision Day

LANSING, MICH – April 27, 2015 – More than 100 high schools across Michigan and hundreds across the nation will recognize high school seniors for making plans to continue their education on College Decision Day. This annual event is held on or around May 1 to coincide with the date that most seniors must inform a college of their enrollment decision.

 “College Decision Day is inspired by the NCAA’s National Signing Day,” says Brandy Johnson, Michigan College Access Network executive director. “We want to reinforce that academic excellence and achievements should be given as much pomp and circumstance as athletic excellence.”

The goal of College Decision Day is to mimic the NCAA’s National Signing Day excitement and celebrate all seniors going to college while encouraging younger students and families to prepare early for postsecondary education.

While some high schools have been hosting this event for years, last year was the first time Michigan College Access Network organized College Decision Day as a statewide event. More than 50 Michigan high schools participated in 2014.

Michigan has ranks among the national leaders in college readiness and enrollment along low-income students. Between 2002 and 2012, Michigan’s college participation rate for low-income students increased by 22.4 percent, ranking Michigan fourth among all states. Statewide events such as Decision Day will ensure this upward trend continues in Michigan.

 “We want to see College Decision Day grow across our state to where every high school hosts a celebration to recognize their graduating seniors,” Johnson said.

To learn more about Michigan’s College Decision Day and the 110 high schools hosting events across the state, visit the Michigan College Access Network website at www.micollegeaccess.org/statewide-initiatives/college-decision-day. Follow the conversation on Twitter at #DecisionDay and #ReachHigher.

To view of map of College Decision Day participants in MI, 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 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 www.micollegeaccess.org.

Download the Press Release (MS Word)

Media Contacts:
MCAN: Lisa King, Consultant
lisa(a)micollegeaccess.org or 313-451-1387

Michigan's college attainment rate improving

Lumina Foundation release report highlighting increase to 38.4 percent in 2013

LANSING, MICH. – Michigan's college attainment rate has increased at its highest rate in more than five years according to new Census data released from Lumina Foundation.

In its 2015 report entitled "A Stronger Nation Through Higher Education," Lumina Foundation-- a private foundation committed to expanding student access to and success in higher education-- reported Michigan's college attainment rate increased from 37.4 percent in 2012 to 38.4 percent in 2013, and increase by one percent in a one year period.

"We are thrilled to see our state's efforts to expand college access and completion are creating lasting results," said Brandy Johnson, executive director of the Michigan College Access Network which was created in 2010 to increase college attainment in Michigan. "Though this is a step in the right direction, we will continue to work to ensure that every Michigan student has the opportunity and desire to continue their education after high school."

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 five years, they've worked to:

  • Created and supported local college access networks that are increasing college participation and completion rates.
  • Supported college advising programs that recruit, train, and place recently graduated college advisors in high schools, focused on helping low-income and first generation college-going students.
  • Developed public awareness and outreach campaigns and assist students to families applying for federal student aid.

Michigan's college attainment rate has increased steadily during the past six years. The latest increase from 37.4 percent to 38.4 percent is the largest annual increase the Foundation has recorded in Michigan since it began collecting data in 2008. Lumina Foundation uses Census data to track the number of working-age adults (ages 25-64) holding a two or four-year college degree.

"We live in a world where furthering your education is vital to a person's success. The Presidents Council of State Universities is excited to see an increase in college attainment rates in our state," said Michael A. Boulus, executive director of the Presidents Council State Universities of Michigan, which represents the 15 public universities in Michigan. "Research shows the path to success and prosperity for individuals starts with continuing their education. The math is simple: High income states in our country have a high percentage of people who have an advanced degree."

Among Michigan's young adults aged 25-34, postsecondary education attainment increased a full two percentage points from 38.5 percent to 40.5 percent in one year.

To view the complete report, visit http://strongernation.luminafoundation.org/report/

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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 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 www.micollegeaccess.org.

Download the Press Release (MS Word)

Media Contacts:
MCAN: Lisa King, Consultant
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 313-451-1387

Presidents Council State Universities of Michigan: Michael Boulus, President
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 517-482-1563

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