GRCF gets funds for college access

October 18, 2010
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The Michigan College Access Network recently announced that 14 communities will collectively receive more than $350,000 to support student access and success in college. According to a news release, the MCAN grant opportunities are designed to help Michigan communities establish local college access networks. These networks will coordinate programs, services and resources that lower the barriers preventing students from pursuing postsecondary education.

For the implementation of the Kent County College Access Network, Grand Rapids Community Foundation is receiving a $50,000 MCAN grant. For its part, the Community Foundation will serve as the fiduciary and convener of KCCAN. 

Prior to applying for the MCAN grant, the KCCAN leadership team participated in a six-month planning process to identify the mission and goals for a local college access network. The team is focused on supporting and enhancing collaboration and efficiency among programs that inspire and motivate low income and/or first generation students and their families to access, enroll and succeed in college. Its three goals aim to address significant barriers to college success:

  • Remove financial barriers: Increase families’ financial awareness and help students apply for financial aid.

  • Remove awareness barriers: Engage and assist students in completing the critical steps for college entry, using the KnowHow2Go framework, a public-awareness campaign designed to encourage and prepare low-income students and their families to take the necessary steps toward college.

  • Remove aspirational barriers: Build and support students’ college going aspirations.

Work toward achieving these goals is to begin in mid-October, with the launch of a community campaign and coordinating events slated for early 2011.

KCCAN will serve all of Kent County; however, the focus will be on the city of Grand Rapids and the inner-ring suburbs. “In order to sustain a vibrant economy in Michigan, our communities must be built on the foundation of a highly educated population,” said Brandy Johnson, director of MCAN. “A high school diploma simply isn’t enough to compete in the 21st century economy. Every Michigander needs to enter the labor market with a college degree or valuable credential in hand.”

Funding from The Kresge Foundation and a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education made this round of MCAN grants possible.

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