Press Releases

Michigan College Access Network Thanks Gov. Snyder for Proposed Funding Increase

Proposed $3 million will support statewide college, career preparation initiatives for students

February 12, 2015 - Lansing, Mich. – The Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) is applauding Gov. Rick Snyder's proposal to increase funding to support statewide college access initiatives for students. Gov. Snyder announced a budget proposal Wednesday that will increase funding for the state's college and career readiness activities from $2 million to $3 million through the Michigan College Access Network.

Much of the increase will go to expanding college access activities for Michigan high school students. MCAN helps to fund the placement of dedicated college advisers in high schools and organizes outreach efforts to make students and parents aware of the steps necessary to pursue education beyond high school. Additional MCAN funding supports statewide college access campaigns, professional development opportunities, and grants to local college access networks.

"In addition to the proposed budget increase for college access, we also want to applaud the governor's commitment to increase funding to community colleges and public universities," said Brandy Johnson, executive director of MCAN. "We're particularly excited that the funding increase is based on student-centric, best practices of the colleges."

Part of the performance-based funding will be allocated through a formula that awards colleges with improved graduation rates and those that serve a significant number of students receiving Pell grants. The higher education budget proposal aligns with the mission of MCAN to increase Michigan's postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60 percent by 2025.

MCAN's funding will be distributed through the new Talent and Economic Development Agency and be used
to:

  • Support MCAN operations, programming and services to local college access networks.
  • Support local college access networks in their efforts to increase college participation and completion rates.
  • Support the "Advise Michigan" program to recruit, train, and place recent college graduates as college advisers in high schools that serve significant members of low-income and first-generation college-going students.
  • Provide mini-grants to high schools that systematize best practices related to building a college-going culture.
  • Support the Michigan College Access Portal, an online resource to help students and families understand the steps necessary to pursue postsecondary education.
  • Support public awareness and outreach campaigns and assist students and families applying for federal student aid.

Johnson noted that 70 percent of all jobs in Michigan will require postsecondary education by the year 2020, so the state must ensure that more of young people are enrolling in and completing postsecondary degrees and certificates.

"We are thrilled to work with the new Talent and Economic Development Agency," she said. "Both organizations are committed to investing in our talent in order to supply a workforce that meets future labor market demands."

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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 36.8 percent of 25-to-64-year-olds possessing at least an associate's degree, to 37.4 percent. However, Michigan's rate still lags behind the national average of 39.4 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.

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Innovative partnership brings one-on-one support to Michigan veterans attending college

Michigan Veteran Education Initiative aids veterans transitioning to civilian life, is the result of collaboration between MCAN and Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency

Lansing, MI – January 26, 2015 – Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) and the Michigan Veteran Affairs Agency (MVAA) today announced the creation of the Michigan Veteran Education Initiative, designed to support veterans transitioning to civilian life and aid in their pursuit of a college education.

An estimated 30,000 to 50,000 veterans will leave the military and move to Michigan in the next five years. This new program will provide one-on-one support to help the thousands of veterans who enroll in Michigan's educational institutions by providing outreach services, support and information.

"We're honored to offer this helping hand to the tens of thousands of men and women who have provided an invaluable service to our country," said Brandy Johnson, MCAN executive director. "This program gives veterans access to resources where it matters most, directly on campuses across the state, to truly create an environment for success."

Twelve veteran resource representatives have been hired to work at 14 college campuses around the state. These representatives will be housed on campus and will interact with student-veterans, assisting them as they complete benefits applications and navigate the higher education and financial aid processes. The list of participating campuses includes Baker College-Flint, Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Community College, Jackson College, MIAT College of Technology, Michigan State University, Mid-Michigan Community College, Kirtland Community College, North Central Michigan College, Northern Michigan University, Oakland Community College, Spring Arbor University and Western Michigan University.

MVAA hopes the extra guidance will encourage veterans to pursue a higher education and provide them with valuable networking opportunities when they return to civilian life.

"One of the most challenging obstacles our veterans face is transitioning back home to civilian life," said Jaimie Hutchison, MVEI program manager. "This initiative will help the men and women who have done so much for our country. Veteran resource representatives are an important step toward greater success for our veterans who attend institutions of higher learning and demonstrate that Michigan's educational institutions are leaders nationally."

The Michigan Veteran Education Initiative is making strides to help MCAN achieve Goal 2025, an effort to increase the percentage of Michigan residents with high-quality degrees or credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025. MCAN works toward achieving this goal by advocating for policy reforms that lower the barriers to college for students, sponsoring a number of statewide initiatives focused on increasing college access, delivering professional development to train college access professionals to be highly qualified and effective college advisers, and strengthening like-minded and mission-aligned statewide college access and success initiatives.

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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 36.8 percent of 25-to-64-year-olds possessing at least an associate's degree, to 37.4 percent. However, Michigan's rate still lags behind the national average of 39.4 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.

About the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency
MVAA serves as the central coordinating point for Michigan veterans, connecting those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, and their families, to services and benefits throughout the state. Learn more at MichiganVeterans.com or call 800-MICH-VET (800-642-4838).

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

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MCAN Director, National Education Leaders Pledge New Action to Expand College Access at White House Event

Lansing, MI - Dec. 4, 2014 – Today, Brandy Johnson, executive director of the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN), will join President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden along with hundreds of college presidents and other higher education leaders to announce new actions to help more students prepare for and graduate from college.

The White House College Opportunity Day of Action helps to support the President's commitment to partner with colleges and universities, business leaders, and nonprofits to support students across the country to help our nation reach its goal of leading the world in college attainment.

The Michigan College Access Network has committed to helping Michigan achieve the following:

  • Expand the quantity and quality of college access professionals working in Michigan high schools
  • Achieve a rate of 90 percent of seniors from partner high schools that complete at least two college applications by December 31, 2015
  • Ensure that 70 percent of seniors from partner high schools complete the FAFSA by June 30, 2016
  • Ensure that partner high schools achieve at least a 6 percent college enrollment rate increase from the 2013 graduating class' baseline by December 13, 2016
  • Support 81 advisors who serve 100 high schools and 61,610 students, 59 percent of whom are low-income
  • Double the number of schools and students served by college access professionals


"MCAN is thrilled to participate in such collaborative, constructive conversations with a president who shares our vision for expanded college access," Johnson said. "Today marks an important step for leaders and groups across the country to commit to expand college access and opportunity."

John Austin, president of the State Board of Education in Michigan, also promised to take actions that will help students prepare for college. Austin pledged to seek new state investments to build the capacity, increase the numbers and the quality of college and career counseling available to Michigan high school students. He also pledged to challenge and partner with Michigan school districts to "Reach Higher" – setting and reaching an ambitious goal to increase the percentage of students on track for post-secondary success.

Today's participants were asked to commit to new action in one of four areas: building networks of colleges around promoting completion, creating K-16 partnerships around college readiness, investing in high school counselors as part of the First Lady's Reach Higher initiative, and increasing the number of college graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

President Obama will announce new steps on how his Administration is helping to support these actions, including announcing $10 million to help promote college completion and a $30 million AmeriCorps program that will improve low-income students' access to college. Today's event is the second College Opportunity Day of Action, and will include a progress report on the commitments made at the first day of action on January 14, 2014.

Expanding opportunity for more students to enroll and succeed in college, especially low-income and underrepresented students, is vital to building a strong economy and a strong middle class. Today, only 9 percent of those born in the lowest family income quartile attain a bachelor's degree by age 25, compared to 54 percent in the top quartile. In an effort to expand college access, the Obama Administration has increased Pell scholarships by $1,000 a year, created the new American Opportunity Tax Credit worth up to $10,000 over four years of college, limited student loan payments to 10 percent of income, and laid out an ambitious agenda to reduce college costs and promote innovation and competition.

Other Michigan education leaders attending the summit John Dunn, president of Western Michigan University, Daniel Little, chancellor of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Sue Dynarski, University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, Dr. Dale Pehrsson, dean of Central Michigan University's School of Education, Dan Varner, chief executive officer at Excellent Schools Detroit, Melissa Miller, director of WE CAN Newaygo County and Monica Moser, president and CEO of the Jackson Community Foundation.

Today's convening will be live streamed starting at 9:00 am EST at WhiteHouse.gov/College-Opportunity.

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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 36.8 percent of 25-to-64-year-olds possessing at least an associate's degree, to 37.4 percent. However, Michigan's rate still lags behind the national average of 39.4 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.

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

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MCAN Director, Michigan education leaders to attend White House College Opportunity Day of Action

December 3, 2014 - Lansing, MI – Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) Executive Director Brandy Johnson will attend a national conference on Dec. 4 to celebrate action for increasing access and success in college for low-income and disadvantaged students.

The day-long summit will be hosted at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C., and will feature panel discussions and seminars related to increasing college access to our nation's students, including a session hosted by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

"This event is an important convening of academics, industry leaders and politicians, all of whom are committed to expanding opportunity for more students to enroll and succeed in college," said Brandy Johnson, executive director of MCAN. "I'm thrilled to accept this invitation and spend an afternoon discussing new ideas and best practices to expand college access."

Other Michigan education leaders attending the summit include John C. Austin, president of the State Board of Education, John Dunn, president of Western Michigan University, Daniel Little, chancellor of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Dan Varner, chief executive officer at Excellent Schools Detroit, Melissa Miller, director of WE CAN Newaygo County and Monica Moser, president and CEO of the Jackson Community Foundation.

Johnson has been an important participant in previous events hosted by the White House. In July, she was invited to join "The White House Opportunity Agenda," a task force led by First Lady Michelle Obama that focused on the vital role of school counselors in impacting students' college and career readiness. Johnson also spoke at the White House's higher education summit in July. In November, she along with a team of Michigan school counseling advocates traveled to San Diego State University to focus on creating and implementing measurable action plans for improving school counseling preparation, programs and practices with the goal of increasing college access 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. Michigan has recently experienced a modest increase in our college attainment rate -- from 36.8% of 25-to-64-year-olds possessing at least an associate's degree, to 37.4%. However, Michigan's rate still lags behind the national average of 39.4 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.

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

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Four Michigan high schools part of new college enrollment initiative, Future Corps

Select seniors will lead campaigns to help peers apply to college

LANSING, Mich. - November 13, 2014 – This weekend, two Future Corps students and their faculty sponsor from their host high school will travel to Big Bear Lake, Calif. near Los Angeles to participate in the National Future Corps Workshop, an intensive, four-day residential leadership and training program.

Future Corps is a student driven initiative to increase college enrollment through targeted campaigns and innovative technology. Detroit Edison Public Academy, Flint Northwestern High School, Hillsdale High School and Warren Mott High School were selected for the two-year pilot program running September 2014 through August 2016. Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) and College Summit, a national nonprofit dedicated to connecting low-income youth to college and career, partnered to bring Future Corps to Michigan.

Each high school selected eight ambitious and passionate seniors to serve on the Future Corps team, receiving leadership training and support from College Summit and MCAN as they move through the college application process. Two of the eight students were chosen to attend the National Future Corps Workshop.

During the school year, Future Corps students lead their peers through the college application process, train faculty and students on the latest mobile college app technologies, and organize, design and conduct three peer-to-peer campaigns focused on college applications, FAFSA completion efforts and a "Big Idea" movement addressing a pressing community need.

Students also participate in Future Corps Leadership curriculum and monthly meetings with College Summit staff to develop strategies for their campaigns, and to analyze and learn from their work.

"MCAN has worked for several months now to bring College Summit's innovative programs to Michigan," said Brandy Johnson, Executive Director of MCAN. "Future Corps is a phenomenal resource to help high schools make the college-going process reach the next level, and increase school-wide college application and FASFA rates."

As part of the Future Corps program, each school receives:
• Opportunities to increase school-wide college application and FAFSA rates.
• Participation in the four-day National Future Corps Workshop for two Future Corps students and their faculty sponsor.
• Professional development training for the faculty sponsor.
• Leadership sessions with College Summit coaches and student leaders.
• Trainings for staff and students on college access and success technology.
• Engaged student leaders to serve on locally-run school improvement committees.
• College Access and Leadership curriculum that equips Future Corps students to effectively research, design, run, and evaluate peer-to-peer campaigns.

To participate in Future Corps, high schools:
• Sponsor a counselor or teacher as a Future Corps team advisor.
• Host a professional development session for Future Corps students to train faculty on the latest college access technologies.
• Organize meetings with the school principal and Future Corps students to review campaigns and progress.
• Provide College Summit feedback for improving the program
• Pay $5,000 per year for travel/meals, training and technical assistance and programming funds. An additional $5,000 will be matched from MCAN.

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