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New $45M Grant Program to Increase Student Success at Michigan’s Community and Tribal Colleges and Universities

Two grant opportunities launch today, more coming available in 2024

Today, the Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential (MiLEAP) announced the kickoff of a new $45 Million Student Success grant initiative, the state’s first ever grant program aimed at increasing student success rates at Michigan community and tribal colleges and universities, ensuring more Michiganders have the degrees and certificates needed to make it in Michigan.

“MiLEAP is excited to announce this substantial, first-of-its-kind investment in post-secondary education that directly supports student success,” said Michelle Richard, acting director of MiLEAP. “These grant opportunities will provide much needed support to all of Michigan’s public colleges, allowing them to change institutional practices and have the resources they need to best help their students across the finish line.”

MiLEAP’s Office of Sixty by 30 has created the state’s first ever funding opportunity for public colleges and universities to change institutional practices that will dramatically increase student graduation rates. With this transformational effort, they’ve issued the Student Success Competitive Grant Opportunities guide that highlights the five different categories of grants that will be available in 2024 to both colleges and universities as well as students. The grants will back research- and evidence-based solutions to improve student outcomes in areas such as critical course success, scaled reform of remediation, student mental health, scheduling reform, program redesign, and more.

Grant opportunities for colleges and universities, and nonprofits working in close partnership with higher education include:

  • Quick Start Grants: Funding to undergo an action-oriented assessment process to strengthen grounding in student experience and/or develop a coherent and strategic approach for removing institutional barriers to student success.
  • Student Success Grants: Implementing, improving on and scaling implementation of promising reforms of policy and practice associated with decreased time to credential, increased student persistence, improved completion rates for all learners and the elimination of equity gaps.
  • Barrier Removal – Direct to Students: Funding to provide emergency aid and other direct support to students aimed at removing life barriers such as childcare, transportation, housing, food, and costs for textbooks, internet or other program supplies.
  • Barrier Removal – Growing Institutional Capacity: Funding to strengthen institutional systems to eliminate barriers for students struggling to meet their basic needs.
  • Reconnect Community Action Grants: Funding for community colleges working with county-wide governmental entities in community partnerships to grow college enrollment and support adults on their post-secondary journeys.

Available Competitive Grant Opportunities

Each of the five grant opportunities under the College Success grant umbrella will have a single application but multiple application cycles and deadlines, allowing Michigan’s colleges to apply when they are ready for whatever opportunities make the most sense for the particular needs of that institution. The first two grant opportunities are live today:

  • Quick Start Grants, with application deadlines on March 22 and May 8.
  • Barrier Removal – Direct to Students grants, with the first cycle closing March 22. Additional cycles will close on June 7, Aug. 16 and Nov. 8.

Applications can be found as they are released at

Specific evaluation criteria in each grant category will be released with the applications. But across all opportunities, proposals will be evaluated based on: 

  • Commitment to centering the interests and experiences of learners 
  • Commitment to the courageous examination of the impacts of institutional policies and practices on the experiences and outcomes of students
  • Commitment to approaching students from an asset-based perspective and to being tenacious in the work of removing institutional barriers to student success.
  • Commitment to rigorously evaluating impact and sharing learning
  • Demonstration of awareness of evidence-based best practices, research, and other networks/resources available to inform the work.

The Sixty by 30 team will be hosting a webinar on Feb. 27 from noon to 1:00 p.m. for an overview of five categories of new competitive grants. Those who are interested in attending can register here.

To learn more these grant opportunities visit, Interested parties can also subscribe to email updates on these opportunities at

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