Press Releases

Michigan Veteran Education Initiative Seeking New College Partners

Program provides outreach and transition services to Michigan veterans

April 20 - LANSING, Mich.− The Michigan Veteran Education Initiative (MVEI) is accepting applications for two new partner institutions to provide outreach and transition services to veterans during their transition from military to college life.

The program offers public colleges and universities the opportunity to host veteran resource representatives in their campuses, who connect veterans to appropriate institutional, local, state and federal resources. More than 13,500 student veterans and their dependents utilized GI Bill and other federal education benefits in 2015 in Michigan.

The VEI program was launched in 2014 as a partnership with the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency and the Michigan College Access Network to benefit student veterans and service members attending institutions of higher education. These students tend to be older and are more likely to be first-generation students and students of color than students who didn’t serve in the military. Currently, 12 veteran resource representatives serve at 15 college campuses around the state.

“From the battlefield to the classroom is a big jump. We encourage institutions to apply for this partnership in order to help student veterans achieve success on college campuses,” said Brandy Johnson, MCAN executive director. “Our veterans have given so much to their country, and it is a small token of our appreciation to dedicate resources to ensuring they have a successful transition from military to civilian life.”

Once the campus partnerships are awarded, veteran resource representatives will be assigned to campuses depending on the veteran population and needs of the campus.

The deadline to apply is Friday, May 27, 2016. To  apply, visit www.micollegeaccess.org/statewide-initiatives/mvei.

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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 in 2014. 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.  

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).

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 adds staff as it heads into its sixth year

 Organization restructuring, board changes and new hires to expand MCAN’s reach

April 19 - LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) is kicking off its sixth year with staff updates and an organizational restructuring intended to put MCAN in the best position to carry out its mission of increasing Michigan’s college readiness, participation and completion rates.

Cheryl McPherson has been named to the new position of director of finance and operations, bringing a wealth of experience in financial management, budgeting and human resources to MCAN. In this position, McPherson will manage MCAN’s internal operations with the support of Dawn Stemen, operations assistant, who joined MCAN in January.

“Given our exponential growth of services to students across the state over the last year, we knew our staff needed to grow,” said MCAN Executive Director Brandy Johnson. “We’re happy to welcome Cheryl McPherson to our staff.”

Before joining MCAN, McPherson worked for Oakland University School of Nursing as an assistant dean for finance and administration. Cheryl received a bachelor’s degree in public resources management from Michigan State University and a Master of Science Administration degree from Central Michigan University. She is also an active community volunteer and member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

Earlier this year, MCAN launched a new organizational structure to streamline operations and build in more capacity. The aim of the restructuring was to allow the organization to work efficiently and effectively toward MCAN’s goal to increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60 percent by the year 2025. Michigan has recently experienced a modest increase in its college attainment rate, from 38.4 percent of 25-to-64-year-olds possessing at least an associate degree, to 39.3 percent.

MCAN’s strategic approach is still guided by the 11-person board of directors, which also has new members. Montcalm Community College President Robert (Bob) Ferrentino and Daniel Mitchell, who serves as an MSU College Advising Corps member in Northern Michigan.  

With its four new departments – capacity building, community investment, partnership and advocacy, and operations and finance – MCAN continues to grow in its ability to offer services to high school students making it easier for them to gain additional education after high school.  

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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, according to census data, 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 in 2014. 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)

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) 

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