Michigan College Access Network 2020 Annual Report

The Next 10

As we look ahead to the next 10 years, our strategic planning, partnerships, and initiatives are fueled by the momentum to reach Sixty by 30. Michigan’s postsecondary attainment rate has increased from 36.4% in 2010 to 45.5% in 2019, and our daily work is essential to meeting the 60% goal, no matter the barriers.

The COVID-19 enrollment crisis was a setback we could not have anticipated. While our pre-pandemic projection was that we needed to produce an additional 40,000 certificates and degrees per year to reach Sixty by 30, our current rates of enrollment and persistence will put pressure on that number and increase what’s needed per year for the rest of the decade. The State remains underinvested in student financial aid, ranking at or near the bottom in all national standings.

With these challenges in mind, we will continue to serve as leaders, partners, and a national exemplar in advocating for educational equity and achieving policy change. Through building stronger infrastructure in school districts, higher education institutions, and community-based organizations, progress is possible through community and government investment.

Futures for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect are bright spots for college access and our state’s residents, and with support from these scholarship programs, more low-income students, first-generation college-going students, and students of color can reach their education and career goals. In the months ahead, MCAN will oversee a brand new scholarship program for Michiganders who are unable to access federal and state financial aid. By prioritizing communities that have been historically excluded from higher education, this scholarship will address educational inequities and move us even closer to Sixty by 30.

In the next 10 years, we will continue to expand our work with priority students, and double down on our commitment to equity. Our organizational culture makes it possible to tackle what’s in front of us while simultaneously staying focused on larger systemic and infrastructure challenges.

Through that approach and each of our strategic initiatives, we are diversifying the voices around the table and furthering our work to ensure that every student in Michigan has the opportunity to attend college.

Some advice for MCAN’s next 10 years:

“Never stop taking risks. When I started the organization, that was a huge risk in itself. College Advising Corps and AdviseMI were also huge risks — but they also paid off. Keep your bold leadership style and never stop being tenacious. I point to that boldness as a reason why MCAN is so successful.”

— Brandy Johnson, MCAN founder and former executive director

“Keep up the fight. Keep advocating. Keep changing lives.”

— Bart Daig, president of Baker College and MCAN board member

“My advice for MCAN is to stay full steam ahead. We have a long way to go in convincing state policymakers that pathways to higher education are worthy of support, and to fill the equity gaps. Keep your foot on the gas and keep finding creative ways to support.”

— Caroline Altman Smith, deputy director of education at The Kresge Foundation

“MCAN is not the organization — it's the movement. At the heart of it are the students that we ultimately are cheering on and want to see thrive. When I think about MCAN and where we're going, I'm excited about how that movement continues to fortify, strengthen, diversify, and lift up all sorts of voices into this thing that we call college access through the everyday love and passion of so many people.”

— Maddy Day, consultant at the Annie E. Casey Foundation and MCAN board chair