Press Releases

MCAN Executive Director to Join White House Task Force, Highlights Michigan Programs Boosting Number of College-Bound Students

Michigan College Access Network calls for communities to increase post-secondary educational attainment   

LANSING, MICH. - July 21, 2014 –
The nationally-recognized founder of the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN), Brandy Johnson, is joining “The White House Opportunity Agenda,” a task force lead by First Lady Michelle Obama on July 28th. The task force will focus on exchanging ideas and strategies to impact students’ college and career readiness, which aligns with Johnson and MCAN’s goal of making college attainable for all.

On a media roundtable call, she discussed MCAN’s efforts in Michigan to build a stronger base statewide targeting low-income students, first-generation college students and students of color.

“Our message is simple; college is for everyone,” said Brandy Johnson, executive director of MCAN. “As a first generation college student, I realized navigating financial aid and the college application process is overwhelming. It’s time we work to give school counselors and students the tools they need in order to be successful.”

Local college access networks (LCANs) are partnerships between school administrators, community leaders, non-profits and other groups to improve the number of college-going students. There are LCANs in more than 50 communities across the state, and many are beginning to show measureable results. The college enrollment rate of Port Huron High graduates is one example; since 2008, the enrollment rate jumped from 46 percent to 71 percent in 2013.

Michigan has recently experienced a small increase in the college attainment rate, from 36.8 percent of working-age adults (ages 25-64) with an associate’s degree, to 37.4 percent. However, our state still lags behind the national average of 39.4 percent, ranking Michigan at 34th in college graduates according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“We encourage other communities to set up an LCAN if they haven’t already. The data speaks for itself. An LCAN can mobilize a community to dramatically increase college-going rates,” said Dan DeGrow, St. Clair County Regional Education Service Agency superintendent and MCAN board member. “We’ve seen a domino effect in our community, highlighting how important it is to pursue education after high school.”

The task force will include experts from across the country. The group will consider new tools that could be used to expand the impact of school counselors and the partners that support them, and learning about community level initiatives that promote equity and opportunity for students’ post secondary education.

WE CAN! Newaygo County is a newer LCAN with a community-based college and career access alliance. Currently, 23 percent of Newaygo County residents have begun or completed postsecondary education. MCAN’s goal is to have 60 percent of Michigan residents with high-quality degrees or credentials by 2025, commonly referred to as “Goal 2025.”

“I’m an LCAN Coordinator because I know first-hand how important it is for students to have the support they need to navigate the college application and financial aid process,” said Melissa Miller, WE CAN! Newaygo County Coordinator. “As a first generation college student, I understand the process can be overwhelming. I’m passionate about increasing the number of college bound graduates in Newaygo County.”

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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, MCAN Consultant
Email: lisa at micollegeaccess.orgThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">Cell: 313-451-1387

 

MCAN Elects Curtis and DeYoung to Board of Directors

Lansing, MI – June 6, 2014 – Michigan College Access Network board of directors voted and unanimously elected Eileen Curtis, president and CEO of the Bay Area Community Foundation, and Janet DeYoung, past president and CEO of the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area, to the board of directors.

Curtis and DeYoung were identified as ideal candidates because of their commitment to college access and understanding of the disparities that exist among low-income students and first generation college-going students in Michigan. Both also bring with them a deep understanding of the role community foundations and the private sector can play in developing a community-wide strategy to improve college attainment rates.

 “The Michigan College Access Network is committed to increasing college readiness, participation and completion rates in Michigan, and Eileen and Janet bring the necessary expertise to ensure we reach our goal of increasing Michigan’s college completion rate from 37 percent to 60 percent by the year 2025,” said Amy Smitter, Michigan College Access Network board of directors chairperson.

Current board of directors members represent K-12, higher education, youth-serving nonprofit organizations, government, business and philanthropy. Members and their affiliations include:

  • Sharlonda Buckman, executive director, Detroit Parent Network
  • Laura Coleman, president, Bay College
  • Brandee Cooke, former college adviser, Michigan College Advising Corps
  • Eileen Curtis, president and CEO, Bay Area Community Foundation
  • Dan DeGrow, superintendent, St. Clair County RESA
  • Janet DeYoung, past president and CEO, Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area
  • Greg Handel, senior director of workforce development, Detroit Regional Chamber
  • David Lossing, president, Michigan Municipal League board of trustees
  • Catherine M. McNamara, CPA, assurance senior manager, BDO USA, LLP
  • Patrick O’Connor, college counseling department, Cranbrook
  • George E. Ross, president, Central Michigan University
  • Amy Smitter, director of institutional development, Campus Compact

MCAN leads the charge in changing Michigan’s culture to create an expectation that every student in Michigan continue learning after high school. Since 2010, MCAN has provided 50+ communities with more than $1.8 million. This seed funding is designed to help Michigan’s Local College Access Networks establish cross-sector collaborative leadership teams and action plans to dramatically increase the community’s college-going rate. LCANs set goals focused on student success, establish a system of data gathering and analysis, report results, and hold partners accountable for performance.

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.  

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Michigan High Schools Celebrate Seniors during College Decision Day

Lansing, MI – April 22, 2014 – High schools across Michigan and the nation will recognize high school seniors for their postsecondary plans through College Decision Day.  Held annual on or around May 1, College Decision Day is designed to coincide with the date that most seniors must inform a college of their plans to enroll. This year, more than 50 Michigan high schools have shared their intent to host a College Decision Day event.

“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 excellence as an athlete.”

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 College Decision Day type events for years, this is the first year there was a concerted effort for larger statewide involvement.  Resources were created for high schools to aid in planning a College Decision Day event.

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

To learn more about Michigan’s College Decision Day and the high schools hosting events across the state, visit the Michigan College Access Network website at www.micollegeaccess.org/events/college-decision-day

 

Download press release to see full list of high schools participating.

 

Media Contact
Lisa King, consultant
lisa at micollegeaccess.org
313-451-1387

100 School Counselors Participate in Inaugural School Counselor Postsecondary Planning Training Course

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Lansing, MI – October 15, 2013 – The Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) and Michigan Virtual University (MVU) recently launched the inaugural High School Counselor Postsecondary Planning Training Course, where 100 nominated High School Counselors have received a full scholarship to participate in the eight month, hybrid professional development experience that focuses on the college-going process.

School counselors are uniquely positioned to change the postsecondary trajectories for all students, yet many indicate they feel underprepared for the process. One of MCAN's strategic priorities is to provide professional development opportunities to those who work directly with students and families on the college-going process -- especially school counselors. 

“School counselors are expected to know the ins and outs of college admissions and financial aid, yet the vast majority never received formal training on this content.  MCAN is committed to ensuring all school counselors in Michigan are qualified to advise students on their college pathways,” said Brandy Johnson, MCAN executive director.

The course was designed collaboratively with support and expertise from Michigan Association for College Admissions Counseling (MACAC), Michigan Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (MACRAO), counselor educators from Michigan universities, Michigan Department of Education (MDE), Michigan Department of Treasury – Student Scholarships and Grants Division (SSG), Michigan School Counselor Association (MSCA), the Michigan Student Financial Aid Association (MSFAA), and the Southern Regional Education Board – Go Alliance.  Funding for this course was made possible through generous support from The Kresge Foundation.

MCAN’s work in this area has been largely informed by the 2011 and 2012 National Survey of School Counselors published by the National Office for School Counselor Advocacy (NOSCA).  The surveys were made possible by funding from The Kresge Foundation, and provided overwhelming evidence that more training is needed in the area of college and career counseling.  The majority of counselors stated their pre-service training and in-service professional development were insufficient.  College advising was identified as the area in most need of additional training.  Less than half of counselors (43%), for example, indicated that they have sufficient knowledge and training on "College Affordability Planning," which includes ways to provide information about college costs, financing, financial aid and scholarships. 

NOSCA recommended that states provide counselors with pre-service and in-service training that aligns counselors' work to the college and career readiness outcomes of their students.  Inspired to act based on this data, MCAN launched a school counselor training project with a focus on college access: the School Counselor Postsecondary Planning Training Course.  The course kicked off on September 26, 2013, with an exciting day-long event. The course will continue for eight months with in person and online components.

About Michigan College Access Network

MCAN leads the charge in changing Michigan’s culture to create an expectation that every student in Michigan continue learning after high school. 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 35.6% of 25-to-64-year-olds possessing at least an associate’s degree, to 36.8%. However, Michigan’s rate still lags behind the national average of 38.7 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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Media Contact: Lisa King, Assistant Director
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: 517-316-1713

MCAN Highlights Port Huron High School Example of Network Efficacy, Show Dramatic Increase in College Bound Students

54 percent increase in five year period of students who are heading to college after utilizing Michigan’s College Access Network framework  

LANSING, MICHIGAN -
The number of Port Huron High School graduates who enroll in college has increased by 54 percent in a five year period after working with the Michigan College Access Network and partner organizations to develop a college access strategy. These statistics were compiled by the St. Clair County KnowHow2GO Initiative, a local college access network (LCAN) that launched in 2008.

The college enrollment rate for Port Huron High gradutes in 2008 was 46 percent, and in 2013 it increased dramatically to 71 percent. St. Clair County KnowHow2GO is a partnership that started in 2008 between the St. Clair County Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA), the county's K-12 public school districts, St. Clair County Community College, the Community Foundation of St. Clair County and other community leaders. St. Clair County KnowHow2GO is affiliated with the Michigan College Access Network, or MCAN.

“This is some of the most compelling evidence we’ve seen since launching MCAN four years ago that our strategy to boost college attainment rates works,” said Brandy Johnson, Michigan College Access Network executive director. “Education after high school is for everybody. These statistics reinforce our organization’s belief that when a community is unilaterally committed to increasing college attendance by students, we can work together to achieve great things.”

MCAN supports the creation of cross-sector community coalitions committed to increasing local postsecondary readiness, enrollment and completion rates. St. Clair County KnowHow2GO was one of the first communities to adopt MCAN’s strategy and model for local networks, or LCANs. Since 2010, MCAN has supported more than 50 communities in establishing a local college access network.

LCANs are part of the strategy to boost college attainment rates by utilizing partnerships, collaboration and network building. LCANs target low-income and first-generation students to establish a college-going culture. The partners who help in creating this culture are higher education institutions, business leaders, economic development organizations, students, their families and youth organizations. This work is crucial in a modern economy, job forecasting indicates that 62 percent of all jobs in Michigan will require post-secondary training by 2018.

St. Clair County KnowHow2GO’s leadership team recognizes the importance of data driven decisions to make the largest impact in their community. By utilizing the LCAN model, the leadership team is able to have a constructive dialogue about data successes and areas for improvement.

Port Huron High was identified by St. Clair County KnowHow2GO to receive a part-time college advisor in 2008 because its college enrollment rate was one of the lowest in the county at less than 50 percent. It also has the highest percentage of students whose family income levels make them eligible for free or reduced price lunches. 

“Going to college shouldn’t be dictated by ethnicity or your family’s income, but should be an opportunity we expand to all eligible students in Michigan,” said Johnson.

After observing early data improvement following the placement of the Port Huron High college advisor, St. Clair County KnowHow2GO implemented a strategy to provide college advisors at six high schools in the county. The college advisors are funded by the University of Michigan College Advising Corps, Michigan State University College Advising Corps, the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, St. Clair County RESA, Michigan College Access Network and through various local funds.

In St. Clair County, 58 percent of graduates enrolled in college in 2008. In 2013, the countywide percentage was 66 percent.

“KnowHow2GO has played a crucial role in emphasizing the importance of post-high school education, and the data demonstrates the program is working,” said Dan DeGrow, St. Clair County Regional Education Service Agency superintendent and MCAN board member. “We’re thrilled with the results, KnowHow2GO has truly been a team effort, spanning from school administrators to advisors to community leaders.”

To learn more about the effort to establish local college access networks and boost college attainment rates across the state, visit the Michigan College Access Network at micollegeaccess.org. Michigan College Access Network at www.micollegeaccess.org. The organization’s goal is to increase the percentage of Michigan residents with high-quality degrees or credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025.

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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.  

 

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