High schools statewide kicked off Michigan College Month on Oct. 1. Michigan College Month aims to ensure that every graduating senior has submitted at least one college application and applied for Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) by the end of the month.
As part of the celebration, high schools will host concurrent college application and financial aid campaigns throughout the month.
“As the global economy increasingly requires more people with postsecondary skills, it’s important that we continue to support students in their efforts to pursue higher education,” said Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. “A 21st-century education is a valuable tool that can help prepare Michigan’s young people for future success.”
Hundreds of schools are now designated host sites, where activities will take place to guide seniors through completing a college application or applying for financial aid. Resources and materials will be provided to school counselors and educators by the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN), as schools dedicate classroom time to isolate the distinct parts of the application process and help seniors have a clear, step-by-step understanding of how to determine what fits their needs.
In collaboration with area high schools, many Michigan colleges are also waiving their application fees or removing financial barriers that hold students back.
“We want every high school senior to believe they’re college material by submitting at least one college application and applying for financial aid,” said Brandy Johnson, executive director at MCAN. “Navigating the college-going process is intimidating, and this will help students understand this process, particularly first-generation college students.”
In the past, the push was to submit college applications for one week in October. During the 2015 College Application Week, more than 48,000 college applications were submitted; graduating seniors participated in College Application Week activities at 81.5 percent, and 66 percent of students completed their first college application.
MCAN, partnering with the governor’s office, decided to expand the campaign from one week to a month, and combine applying for financial aid with applying to specific colleges.
“Since we kicked off our efforts in 2011, we have continued to see the needle move to increase the number of students pursuing postsecondary education,” Johnson said. “We hope expanding our efforts throughout the entire month of October will continue to grow our efforts to provide an educated and sustainable workforce for Michigan.”
As the leader in the state’s college access movement, MCAN’s mission is to increase college readiness, participation and completion rates — particularly among low-income students, first-generation college going students and students of color — to increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60 percent by the year 2025. For more information, visit micollegeaccess.org.