Press Releases

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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President Obama proclaims November National College Application Month

State-wide efforts across the state during Michigan College Application Week

LANSING, Mich. – November 3, 2014 - A nationwide effort to support college application week has been declared by President Barack Obama, who proclaimed November National College Application month and in our state by Governor Snyder who recently declared Nov. 3-7, 2014 Michigan College Application Week. These efforts across the country can be seen on a local level at nearly 300 high schools and career technical centers across the state. As part of the nationwide American College Application Campaign (ACAC) initiative launched by American Council on Education (ACE), Michigan College Application Week seeks to increase the number of students applying to college in their senior year, with a focus on first-generation college-going students, low-income students and minority students who may not otherwise apply to college.

During Michigan College Application Week, seniors at participating high schools and career technical centers will be assisted as they complete college applications during the school day, with the goal of every graduating senior submitting at least one college application. Students may apply to any in-state or out-of-state college or university of their choice. School staff and volunteers will work with seniors to complete and submit their application successfully.

A number of Michigan's community colleges and public universities with application fees have elected to waive their application fee during the week. Many other institutions already offer free online or paper applications.

"We're thrilled the White House and Michigan's governor support our efforts to increase the number of students applying to college," said Brandy Johnson, Executive Director of MCAN. "This is a crucial step on the pathway to college. At least 70 percent of all new jobs in Michigan will require at least an associate's degree by 2020."

The initiative is supported by Governor Rick Snyder, who proclaimed Nov. 3-7, 2014 Michigan College Application Week, and President Barack Obama, who declared November 2014 National College Application Month.

Region Number of Participating Schools

  • Upper Peninsula 13
  • Northern Lower Michigan 30
  • East Central Michigan 30
  • East Michigan 37
  • West Michigan 46
  • South Central Michigan 28
  • Southwest Michigan 16
  • Southeast Michigan 35
  • Metro-Detroit (Wayne, Oakland, Macomb Counties) 60
  • Total 295

In 2013, 208 high schools and career technical schools participated in Michigan College Application Week. Of the 182 schools that reported data, 16,279 seniors participated with 20,975 applications submitted. 47 percent of the students indicated applications submitted during MCAW were their first applications, and 37 percent indicated they would be the first in their families to attend college. Most applications were submitted to in-state colleges and universities (19,719).

An interactive map of participating schools can be found at www.micollegeaccess.org/2014-host-sites or a list can be emailed to you by request. For more information on Michigan College Application Week and MCAN, visit www.micollegeaccess.org/statewide-initiatives/college-application-week.

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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: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Cell: 313-451-1387

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MCAN Founder Receives National Award

Lansing, MI – September 16, 2014 – Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) Executive Director and Founder Brandy Johnson was honored with the Executive Leadership Award of Excellence by the National College Access Network (NCAN) at their national conference yesterday in Phoenix. Johnson is one of only three award recipients nationally, being recognized for her contributions and leadership in sparking the college access movement in Michigan.

“I’m incredibly humbled to be receiving this recognition—from both the national organization and my colleagues and peers in Michigan,” said Brandy Johnson. “As a first-generation college student myself, I’m inspired every day to keep working toward our goal of having 60 percent of Michigan residents with high-quality degrees or credentials by the year 2025.”

In less than a decade, Johnson has cemented MCAN’s foundation by aligning the critical players and institutions and partnering with organizations ranging from philanthropy to government to business. Under her leadership, MCAN has raised over $3.5 million in federal and state funds to invest in Michigan’s college access movement. Johnson and her team have accomplished big things over the past several years, including establishing almost 50 local college access networks, providing direct training to hundreds of K-12 counselors, hosting a 450-person annual conference, and growing programs like College Application Week, Decision Day and FAFSA completion that touch tens of thousands of Michigan students each year.

Johnson’s work is making an impression nationally—earlier this summer, 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 addition to being recognized with this award, Johnson is also a featured speaker at NCAN’s conference this week. Johnson’s session, called “Mobilizing Cross-Sector Leaders for College Access & Success,” highlights different tactics to rally community leaders to be champions in the college access movement. In Michigan, MCAN has successfully mobilized the governor, legislature, state superintendent and other relevant players to support college access statewide.

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Michigan College Access Leaders to Speak at National Conference

Lansing, MI – September 10, 2014 – A national conference focused on college access and success will feature two speakers from the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN).

The National College Access Network (NCAN) National Conference assembles college access professionals from across the country to discuss a variety of issues related to higher education. MCAN Executive Director Brandy Johnson and Assistant Director for Network Development Ryan Fewins-Bliss will be two featured speakers during the three-day event that runs Sept. 15-17 in Phoenix.

Johnson’s session, called “Mobilizing Cross-Sector Leaders for College Access & Success,” will highlight different tactics to rally community leaders to be champions in the college access movement. In Michigan, MCAN has successfully mobilized the governor, legislature, state superintendent and other relevant players to support college access statewide.

Johnson is no stranger to speaking on the national stage. 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.

Fewins-Bliss will lead a panel called “Increasing Post Secondary Attainment Through Local Networks.” The panel will share different strategies on how to create and sustain local college access networks. Michigan currently houses approximately 50 local networks with nearly 800 leaders and community members participating.

The NCAN National Conference is an annual event that provides attendees with a variety of opportunities to extend networking and learning opportunities. This year’s theme, “New Heights for College Access and Success,” will feature sessions related to best practice sharing and professional development around increasing post-secondary enrollment and success of first generation, low income and minority students.

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