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New Student Success Grants launched to help students

Michigan College Access Network and Global Detroit have joined forces with the Office of Sixty by 30 tosupport Michigan community and tribal college efforts, ensure colleges and adult learners have the tools they need to increase completion rates

Lansing, Mich.—The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO), Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) and Global Detroit have partnered to offer $1.5M for two new grants that support Michigan community colleges and tribal colleges in their efforts to pursue innovative ways that increase success for adult learners, international, immigrant, refugee or first-generation students.  

“By investing in Student Success Grants, we can help community colleges across the state do what they do best – help more people get the skills and credentials they need to succeed in high-demand, high-skill jobs,” said Susan Corbin, LEO director. “By increasing our state’s college completion rates, we are making sure Michigan is prepared to compete in a globally competitive economy, and making sure all Michiganders have an equal path to build a better life for themselves and their families.”  

The two grant opportunities work toward achieving the same goal of equipping 60% of Michigan’s workforce with a degree or credential by the year 2030.  

“Michigan’s community colleges are critical partners in filling the state’s talent gap and helping Michiganders achieve prosperity and these grants will serve as meaningful supports for the institutions working hard to increase graduation rates,” said Sarah Szurpicki, LEO’s Office of Sixty by 30 director. “There are tried-and-true student success strategies out there, and we need to support Michigan’s colleges with the resources necessary to adopt or expand those best practices for Michigan students. We’ll see this pay off with higher graduation rates, a stronger labor force, and accelerated progress toward our Sixty by 30 goal.” 

The Office of Sixty by 30 administers the Futures for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect programs, which make community college tuition-free for adults without a degree. The student success grants build on the significant investment that these programs represent in increasing college access through financial aid. 

The Sixty by 30 Adult Student Success Grant provides grants up to $200,000 over two years to selected Michigan community and tribal colleges to implement new, or upscale existing, strategies to improve persistence and completion rates among adult students, with a particular emphasis on Futures for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect students. 

The Immigrant Student Success Grant provides grants of up to $150,000 over 18 months to selected Michigan community and tribal colleges to increase enrollment, retention, and program completion rates for international, immigrant, refugee, or first-generation students. 

Through College Completion Corps and other student success partnerships, MCAN has been committed to addressing the barriers that prevent students from completing their certificates or degrees. MCAN will provide administrative and communication support for this new grant opportunity.  

“Community colleges play a critical role in helping Michiganders reach their postsecondary goals, build a brighter long-term future and enhance our state economy,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, MCAN executive director. “We are proud to collaborate on an initiative that will support colleges’ efforts to increase adult, immigrant and refugee student success. As we work together to reach Sixty by 30 and strengthen Michigan’s workforce, we must ensure that all students — especially low-income students, first-generation college-going students and students of color — have the critical support needed to attain postsecondary certificates and degrees." 

Global Detroit provided $500,000 toward this funding for grants that support inclusion of immigrants and refugees. 

“Global Detroit is excited to pool funds with Sixty by 30 to bolster the success of immigrant, refugee and first-generation community college students,” said Steve Tobocman, Global Detroit executive director. “We are eager to support any community college interested in serving this population using $500,000 in grants and ongoing technical assistance from national experts. For the last 30 years, immigrants and refugees drove all of Michigan's population growth; for everyone’s sake it is critical that our community colleges adopt and build on the national best practices that have emerged to serve them.”  

Additionally, these grants will help support community and tribal colleges as they work to meet new Reconnect requirements that were passed into law in December 2022. The Reconnect amendments mandate that participating institutions must adopt and report on particular student success strategies.

"Michigan's community colleges are committed to efforts that maximize the success of our students," said Brandy Johnson, Michigan Community College Association President. "The state's student success grants will provide colleges an extra boost in efforts to improve equity, student basic needs programming, transfer work and more. We look forward to maximizing the impact these investments have across the state."   

Combined, these grants could provide up to $350,000 to Michigan community and tribal colleges that pursue both opportunities. Selected applicants will be notified by September 1, 2023.  

Eligible institutions can apply for one or both of these Student Success grants online at Applications are due July 31, 2023. Applicants can receive a pre-review if they submit by July 14, 2023. Download a PDF version of the application

The Sixty by 30 Office will be providing additional support to potential applicants and invite the community colleges to join an informational webinar on June 20 at 12-1:00 p.m. via Zoom. Subsequent drop-in office hours for technical support will be held weekly on Wednesdays, starting June 21 from 12-1:00 p.m. Office hours will not be held on July 5. 

Learn more about the State’s Sixty by 30 efforts at and Michigan Reconnect at