The Kresge Foundation has announced a grant of more than $1 million to the Michigan College Access Network to help make postsecondary education more accessible, particularly among low-income and first-generation college students.
MCAN will use the funds to help communities set up their own local college-access networks through planning grants of up to $8,000, start-up grants of up to $50,000, and expansion grants of up to $25,000. At the local level, the money will be used to bring together community leaders from academia, business, the nonprofit sector, philanthropy, and government to plan, start, and expand their respective networks. The balance of the funds will be used to challenge local community foundations to raise additional funds to sustain new networks in Michigan, where only one in three working-age adults possess a college degree.
Local college-access networks coordinate a broad array of educational support services, from high-school course planning and ACT test prep to assistance with the college application process and financial aid advice. Within their communities, the networks will promote a college-going culture while serving as the leader, advocate, and authority on college-access issues.
"This is a first-of-its-kind grant for Kresge, which is promoting college-access networks by strengthening the grassroots organizations that are performing this important work," says Caroline Altman Smith, Kresge's program officer for education. "Making the grant money available through the Michigan College Access Network is an effective way to get much-needed dollars out into the state quickly."