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Michigan College Access Network Announces $250,000 in Awards for Local College Access Planning and Startup Grants

Contact: Brandy Johnson-Faith, College Access Coordinator 517-335-5113

February 12, 2010

LANSING -The Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) today announced that 17 communities will collectively receive more than $250,000 to support student access and success in college.  These grant opportunities are designed to help Michigan communities establish local college access networks.  These networks will coordinate programs, services, and resources that lower the barriers preventing students, particularly low-income and first-generation students, from pursuing postsecondary educational opportunities.
Grant recipients and the communities they serve include:

-  Baldwin Community Schools - Baldwin
-  Battle Creek Community Foundation - Battle Creek
-  Bay Area Community Foundation - Bay County
-  Career Transitions, Inc. - Inkster and Wayne/Westland
-  Communities in Schools of Mancelona - Mancelona
-  Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area - Holland and Zeeland
-  Consortium for Community Development - Benton Harbor
-  Delta College - Midland & Saginaw Counties 
-  Early College Alliance - Washtenaw ISD - Washtenaw County
-  The Fremont Area Community Foundation - Newaygo County
-  Grand Rapids Community Foundation - Kent County
-  Mott Community College - Genesee County
-  Muskegon Opportunity - Muskegon County
-  Northwest Detroit Neighborhood Development - Brightmoor Neighborhood, Detroit
-  POH Riley Foundation - Pontiac
-  St. Clair County RESA - St. Clair County
-  Sturgis Public Schools - Sturgis

The first round of MCAN Grants was made possible by generous funding from The Kresge Foundation.  MCAN announced a series of college access grant opportunities in November 2009, which were to provide funding for planning and starting sustainable college access networks.  A second round of grants will be awarded in September.

"The Michigan College Access Network is mobilizing assets for communities across the state to help make higher education accessible and affordable for every Michigan citizen," Governor Jennifer M. Granholm said.  "In this 21st century economy, businesses require a 21st century talent pool, and that means Michigan needs to have one of the best-educated workforces in the world."
The Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) was established in 2009 in collaboration with the Office of Governor Jennifer M. Granholm, Michigan Department of Treasury, and a working group of key stakeholders representing K-12, higher education, youth-serving nonprofit organizations, state government, philanthropy, and business. 
MCAN is the statewide coordinating body for college access programs and works to establish, support and expand college access programs across the state. The Michigan College Access Network exists to dramatically increase Michigan's college participation and completion rates, particularly among low-income and first-generation college students.  The goal of the organization is to increase the proportion of Michigan residents with high-quality degrees and credentials from 34 percent to 60 percent by the year 2025.  MCAN will achieve its mission through several strategies, including advocacy, professional development, technical assistance, program development, and funding opportunities.
Local college access programs, such as those awarded grant funding, provide college admissions and financial aid advising, last dollar grants, career guidance, mentoring, tutoring, college entrance test preparation, campus visits, early awareness activities, and other college access and success services.
Fourteen of the grant recipients were awarded $8,000 planning grants.  These organizations will spend the next 6-12 months convening teams of education and community leaders to determine each community's college access needs.  They will then design a plan to deliver college access services such as mentoring, career exploration, tutoring, college placement test preparation, college admission advising, and FAFSA completion assistance.  Three of the grant recipients, serving Bay, Muskegon, and St. Clair counties, will receive $50,000 start-up grants to begin implementing their local networks.  All grant recipients must also design strategies to integrate two statewide initiatives - The Michigan College Access Portal (MiCAP) and KnowHow2GOMichigan - into their community networks.      
In April 2008, MCAN announced that it would partner with the state of Michigan to build MiCAP - a Web-based one-stop-shop to allow students and their families to plan, apply, and pay for college.  MiCAP is currently in its development phase and will go live in September 2010. 
KnowHow2GOMichigan is a public-awareness campaign designed to encourage and prepare low-income students and their families to take the necessary steps toward college.  The campaign's multimedia public service announcements urge young people to find someone who can help them get to college and direct students and their mentors to an interactive Website ( with additional resources.

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