Coordinating communities' efforts will increase number of college graduates
LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced the launch of the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) to accelerate the state's efforts to diversify the economy by doubling the number of Michigan's college graduates. The initiative will promote postsecondary education by supporting local college access programs, which help citizens learn about higher education options, get into college, and earn their degrees. The network is expected to be up and running in the fall of 2010.
"Michigan absolutely must produce the nation's best-educated workforce to create jobs and diversify our economy," Granholm said. "The Michigan College Access Network will mobilize the assets of every community in our state to give both our young people and adults the support and information they need to get a college education. We have to use every resource possible to help make higher education accessible and affordable for every Michigan citizen."
In announcing the launch of MCAN today, the governor followed through on a pledge she made during her State of the State address. The initiative is supported by a U.S. Department of Education grant and private organizations.
As part of MCAN, Michigan will launch a one-stop shop web site for students to plan, apply, and pay for college. It will also serve as a comprehensive tool for families, counselors, educators and others who are helping Michigan students access information.
Through the web site, students will be able to find the right college using side-by-side comparisons of Michigan universities and colleges; search for grant and scholarship opportunities; use career planning tools; measure their progress toward meeting college entrance requirements; submit all college-related documents, including admissions applications, financial aid applications, and transcripts; use free ACT test preparation resources; and more.
"There is no substitute for furthering one's education," said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan. "The college access portal will offer thousands of Michigan students each year a clearer and more direct path to improving their lives and the building of a better future for themselves and this great state."
While MCAN is intended to improve college participation rates among all groups, the community-based approach is often particularly helpful to low-income students and those who are the first in their family to pursue higher education. These students often need more support and information to make the transition from high school to college.
The MCAN is part of the governor's comprehensive plan to increase the education level of Michigan's students and workers in order to create jobs and diversify the state's economy by producing the most highly educated workforce in the nation.
The governor's other efforts to increase the number of college graduates in the state include:
- signing into law public-private partnerships called Promise Zones that will provide college tuition for children in high-poverty areas. The first 10 Promise Zones, enabled by legislation that Granholm signed in January, were announced on April 25.
- establishing a $4,000 Michigan Promise scholarship that is available to every Michigan high school student;
- establishing high-school graduation standards that are among the toughest in the nation;
- establishing standards in grades K-8 that are among the best in the nation and as our latest MEAP results have shown, our higher expectations for students are showing improved results;
- expanding our pre-school programs through the work of the Early Childhood Investment Corporation and Great Start Collaboratives to improve early childhood care and education.
- working to hold down the cost of college tuition.
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