Local colleges host "Financial Aid Nights" at high schools across the region. These nights are intended to help teens who are planning to attend college (and their parents) understand financial aid. Additional resources on financial aid are also available.
There was a time in the Upper Peninsula when a few high school students were considered ‘college material’ while many others found good paying jobs after graduation in industries like mining or logging that required only a high school diploma.
Those days are gone.
In fact, economic experts say in just six years nearly two-thirds of the jobs in Michigan will require some type of education beyond high school. However, only about one-third of Marquette and Alger County working-age residents have at least a two-year degree.
Marquette Alger College Access Network was formed to address this issue. Made up of more than 25 community leaders, the Network’s purpose is to help more of our young people succeed in education beyond high school. That education could include a four-year degree, two-year degree, or vocational or technical training credential.
Although the Network expects all young people to benefit from its efforts, particular emphasis is placed on helping those from low income or first generation college-going families, aging out of foster care, homeless or vulnerable due to other conditions.
It’s unrealistic to think that schools – especially in today’s climate of budget cuts and shrinking enrollment – can do this work alone. Marquette Alger College Access Network’s partners have stepped forward representing nonprofit and for profit businesses, government agencies and the faith-based community as well as K-12 and higher education.
The Network has adopted a model of ‘collective impact’ with each partner playing a distinct role while adhering to a shared set of measurable objectives – including the overall goal that by 2025, 60 percent of residents in Marquette and Alger Counties will have a degree or other postsecondary credential.
With facilitation by Great Lakes Center for Youth Development, the Network has identified barriers to higher education or training that too many of our young people face including low income, transportation issues and under-involved parents to name a few.
The Network is surveying the community’s existing services and continues to identify opportunities for greater collaboration while exploring new strategies to remove or overcome barriers.
To move this work from the planning stage to implementation, Marquette Alger College Access Network received a $50,000 startup grant from the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) in October 2012. MCAN has encouraged and helped support the formation of more than 50 local college access networks throughout the state. Marquette Alger College Access Network is the fourth in the U.P., joining the Eastern U.P. (Chippewa, Mackinac and Luce Counties), Keweenaw (Houghton, Keweenaw and Baraga Counties) and Delta County.
The grant enables Marquette Alger College Access Network to coordinate a comprehensive set of college access and career readiness services for our youth.
A sampling of strategies underway includes training community members as ‘college positive’ mentors to serve in schools and community organizations, participating in College Application Week in which community volunteers assist high school seniors in applying to at least one institution of higher education, and expanding programs that help students and families apply for financial aid.
Individuals, schools, agencies, organizations or businesses interested in partnering with Marquette Alger College Access Network may email GLCYD Youth Development Associate Linda Remsburg or call her at 906-228-8919 ext. 26.
-- Press release November 12, 2012: Marquette-Alger College Access Network Receives $50,000 Startup Grant (NEW)
-- Press release November 12, 2012: Gwinn High School seniors participate in College Application Week (NEW)
-- A story on the Upper Peninsula's Second Wave online magazine on February 29, 2012 : College Access Network aims to get more students into college
-- News release Dec. 2011: Planning begins for Marquette Alger College Access Network
-- Slide presentation from MACAN planning team meeting 1