The Michigan College Access Network

 

The MCAN initiative is expected to accelerate the state’s efforts to diversify the economy by doubling the number of Michigan’s college graduates.  The initiative will promote post-secondary education by supporting local college access programs, which help citizens learn about higher education options, get into college and earn their degrees.  The MCAN 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,” said Gov. Granholm in announcing the MCAN program. “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.”

The MCAN Web-based portal can be utilized by parents, students and high school counselors to help them plan for college all in one location.  Within the portal, students and/or their parents will be able to keep a record of high school grades, honors, test scores and activities; learn what careers match their interest and personalities; prepare for the SAT with free SAT prep materials; track progress toward meeting college entrance requirements; ask for advice from an expert on applications; find the right colleges for their needs; submit high school transcripts electronically and submit financial aid applications.

Through the MCAN web portal, students will also be able to find the right post-secondary institution using side-by-side comparisons of Michigan universities and colleges.

MCAN is modeled after a similar program in North Carolina which has been in existence since 1999. Results in that state in the past ten years have been astounding:

  • Eighty percent of middle school and high school parents are aware of the program and 84 percent plan to use it.
  • More than 2 million students have created accounts and more than 1 million college applications have been submitted on the portal.
  • North Carolina is #1 in the United States for increased participation rates from low-income students.

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 first in their family to pursue higher education.

As we move into the 21st century, the challenges of a highly sophisticated global economy continue to increase at an unprecedented pace.  Technology and science are taking us to new frontiers that demand higher levels of education.  Now, more than ever, the future of Michigan is inextricably linked to our young people having access to higher education.

The knowledge, skills and training acquired at colleges and universities across the land will enable our young people to meet these future challenges head-on, ensuring better futures for them, our state, and ultimately, our nation.

Michigan’s community banks are extremely important in this collaborative effort, which focuses on providing access to higher education for the people of Michigan. This is what corporate responsibility is all about, working together with the different sectors in the state for the common goal of empowering minds for the future of Michigan.

Paula D. Cunningham
Paula D. Cunningham is president and chief executive officer at Capitol National Bank.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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