Welcome to the Capital Area College Access e-newsletter!
Your source for college, career, and financial assistance resources to support
post-secondary attainment in the Capital Region.
CapCAN: Promoting College & Career Access
in the Capital Area
Cultivating Rural College Access
It's spring- a time to cultivate the soil and plant seeds. I think this is a good metaphor of the work we do at CapCAN to help cultivate a college-going culture in our community. Each time we work with a student or present a workshop we are planting an idea or seed with them to help grow their potential.

We have been extremely busy assisting seniors with their transition steps- finalizing FAFSA, completing Promise Scholarships, signing up for orientation. Thank you to LCC for hosting a ERESA Senior Star Day to assist the career center students with their transitions! LCC has written an article this month on their new outreach and engagement strategy. We hope this is helpful information for those of you who work with students to plan their transition to LCC.

Last month, we told you about an exciting opportunity to visit the UP universities on June 17-20. We will travel to Northern, MI Tech, Lake Superior State & Finlandia. Thank you for the generous contributions of our sponsors: Dean Transportation, Capital Region Community Foundation, the Michigan Association of State Universities, and Friends of CapCAN. If you have a rising junior or senior from an Ingham or Eaton High School who is interested in going on the trip with us, please email Ashley Justice for a registration packet.

The UP trip is the kickoff of our new CARS Initiative (College Attainment for Rural Students). We are delighted to tell you more about this initiative in the article and Podcast with Dr. Anne Hornak from Central Michigan University.

College Access Advocates from CapCAN stormed the capitol on April 17th with MCAN. We spoke to legislators about the MI Reconnect Program and Opportunity Scholarship proposed by Governor Whitmer in her 60 by 30 initiative to increase the number of adults with a postsecondary degree or certification by 2030. This bi-partisan effort aligns well with the CapCAN Common Agenda and collaborative work we have done within the Pathway to Potential Initiative to reach young adults who are disconnected from work and school. We encourage you to continue the advocacy for funding for college attainment.

May 1st was National College Signing Day! The Wilson Talent Center was the first to host a Decision Day in our community. You can post all of your 2019 Decision Day photos using the hashtags #ReachHigherIngham and #ReachHigherEaton to follow the celebrations.

Looking forward to visiting our high school partners to see their Seniors Blooms!

Michele Strasz, Executive Director

P.S. Our website is under re-construction! If you need any resources please email us at our new emails: strasz@capcan.org , justice@capcan.org , and tkaczyk@capcan.org.
#CapCANKnows : Episode 6 feat. Dr. Anne Hornak - "Barriers and Access for Rural Students"
#CapCANKnows: Dr. Anne Hornak
Anne M. Hornak is a professor in educational leadership at Central Michigan University. She has been at CMU since 2009, where she teaches courses in theories, ethics, student affairs administration, and social justice. She earned a Ph.D. at Michigan State University in Higher Education Administration. 

Prior to joining the faculty, she worked at multiple community colleges as a student affair professional. Her research focuses on understanding the needs of underserved and at-risk populations in higher education; rural students and financially strapped students.

Additionally she studies community college leadership and intercultural competency through study abroad. 
College Attainment for Rural Students Launched!
By: Ashley Justice, CapCAN School Liaison
On April 24, 2019, CapCAN officially launched a new action team, College Attainment for Rural Students (CARS). We have historically focused on college attainment among our urban schools, but as CapCAN merged with Eaton County this past year, it has become critical for us to take these lessons learned and start to understand and apply our learning to rural communities. The CARS action team will focus on reducing the barriers to college progression within our targeted rural high schools, thereby increasing college attainment of the class of 2020. The Action Team includes representatives from rural high schools, higher education partners, local business, college access leaders across Ingham and Eaton counties, and CapCAN board members.

The Action Team will begin by reviewing data across and with both Ingham and Eaton county leaders. We will survey students, and host focus groups of parents and key stakeholders to explore the baseline college knowledge and motivation of students and families. The CARS team will determine what are our shared rural community needs and opportunities are for joint action across the region.

Ashley will be attending the national Rural College Access Conference to bring back national data, trends, and best practices for us to share with our rural communities in the next two years. 

CapCAN has identified four initial goals for the CARS team:
  • Increase college enrollment rate of rural high schools in our region
  • Increase financial readiness and capacity of rural residents to pursue post-secondary education, with a focus on FAFSA completion and TIP utilization.
  • Enhance the college going culture at each partner school with support for students, principals, counselors, advisers, parents, and teachers
  • Increase the number of high school graduates who enroll and remain in college within 12 months of high schools graduation

CapCAN is excited to begin this new chapter with our Ingham and Eaton county leaders. Watch our monthly newsletters and our social media for more updates as we move through this process. If you are interested in participating in the CARS team please contact Michele Strasz, CapCAN executive director, at strasz@capcan.org
If you are interested in supporting the work of college advisers in our community contact
Ashley Justice at justice@capcan.org or by phone 517-203-5011.
College 101
By: Treandra Thomas, College Advisor (Woodcreek Achievement Center & Wilson Talent Center)
The common misperception is that students should know exactly what they want to do when they graduate high school. This is not true for the average high school senior with high grades and multiple avenues of resources for college preparation.  It is also not true for the average underrepresented student with minimal, if any, resources for college preparation. There should be increased efforts to help those who need more than a presentation about what it means to go to college. There needs to be encouragement and hope where most students cannot find it for themselves. This is why College 101 was so important.
On March 15th a group of students from Woodcreek Achievement Center went on a visit to Lansing Community College to attend College 101 . This event was created specifically for underrepresented students who lack resources and encouragement to even complete high school. They get so caught up in the day-to-day struggles they face, that they never push themselves to think beyond high school because even that is difficult for them to navigate and be successful at. 
College 101 gave these students a different perspective. Instead of having people who they cannot relate to come to talk to them, they had people present to them that not only looked like them and talked in the way they understood and would listen to, but actually finished high school and pursued college. This showed them that they really could do it. The students were given encouragement, a tour of the college campus, and a film that made them think deeply about their future. After the film, they all made posters and talked about their own dreams and goals for their lives. Some of the students even said they felt that they were listened to and that meant a lot to them.
Some of the students left this event with more knowledge than they ever had of college. Even the students who never talk in school were asking a lot of questions about how college works and if they could apply and one day go. Jonathan Rosewood, the Diversity Project Coordinator at LCC who led the event, used his story and his background to give back to a community that needs it. College 101 will forever be remembered by Woodcreek students. If the students do not take anything else from this day, they know that they have people who believe in them and they know that if they call Jonathan and ask for help, he will be there to support them. There is a saying that all we need is one person to love us and to motivate us. This event gave each student just that. We are all glad that we participated in this day.
Changes at LCC Promote Persistence and Retention in College Students
By Blake Bowen, LCC Student Engagement Coordinator
As Lansing Community College (LCC) prepares for the upcoming summer session (first session begins May 16 th) and fall 2019 semesters ( begins August 22nd, registration opened April 29th) I wanted to take a moment to inform you of some exciting changes we’ve made to the LCC new student onboarding process. We have a new Dean of Students ( Ronda Miller) and Associate Dean of Students (Gary King), who have worked in conjunction with the Student Engagement Coordinators to create a new outreach model based on intentionality and personalized communication. 
Our relatively low enrollment allows us to focus our recruitment efforts on a micro level, targeting every interested party as opposed to marketing to entire communities or locales as we have done in the past. Every student that fills out an inquiry form on our website will not only receive the requested information in the mail, but will also be contacted by a member of my team to assure every question is answered by an administrator or program official. It is our goal that every student interested in LCC be offered the chance to visit campus through one of three options.  

  1. Admissions Visit: The newest addition to our outreach plan, the admissions visit allows one-on-one interaction between a student with guests and a member of the admissions team. Before bringing that student to campus we will first create a list of desired outcomes and then design an individualized plan so that those expectations are met. Do they want to talk to a program adviser? Apply to the school? Fill out FAFSA? Transfer an IEP? Using the small size of our college to our advantage provides a variety of resources for students to utilize and it’s my team’s job to make those connections as easy and enjoyable as possible. Additionally, each student will receive a personal tour of campus highlighted by the programs and resources of interest. This is not a general tour but one that is designed to that particular individual. This is the type of service we speak of when we talk of “intentionality.” Soon you will be able to sign up for these visits on our website. Until that goes live, you are welcome to email the engagement team at lcc-engagement@lcc.edu.
  2. Campus Tour & Information Sessions: Offered twice a week at both our Downtown and West Campuses and open to the public, these sessions give a general overview of the LCC student experience followed by a campus tour led by a student leader here on campus. These sessions are well attended throughout the year and are one of the cornerstones of our outreach plan. We’ve found that many returning adults are amazed at the transformation LCC has made in recent years in both renovations and mission. Students, parents, spouses, friends, and family are welcome to join because we know that choosing your institution of study shouldn’t be a decision made alone. We want to make sure that every question is answered by all interested parties. Signing up for this visit is simple. Just visit click the “visit” tab on the left of the screen at LCC’s home page.
  3. Orientation: Designed for students committed to attending LCC, any student new to the college experience is required to attend orientation before registering for classes. Returning, guest, and transfer students aren’t obligated but are welcome to attend. In past years we have mirrored our orientations to that of a four-year institution with half-day, two hundred seat sessions detailing every aspect of the LCC experience and culminating in mass registration workshops. This tended to overwhelm many of students that LCC serves. We now offer more frequent orientations, capping each session at forty students, and focus more on the resources and tools that allow for a well-rounded education. Our Success Team is front and center leading the orientation, providing an ideal introduction to the coaches that will be supporting our students through their academic career. New students also speak with Financial Aid and Academic Advisers before being personally assisted through the registration process. 

We’ve developed this new model based on the feedback from students, parents, college advisers, and working professionals like yourselves. Thank you to the community and CapCAN for supporting students as they transition from high school to college. We appreciate you and the work you do. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or feedback you may have.

Blake Bowen
Student Engagement Coordinator
Lansing Community College
C apCAN in the Community
CapCAN is here, there and everywhere talking to students, parents, and community members about the importance of a post-secondary education.

Senior STAR Day at Lansing Community College's Main Campus
Program and Career Showcase
Wilson Talent Center Decision Day 2019
Congratulations Seniors!
Advocacy Day 2019
Metro Detroit College Fair!
Capital Area College Access Network | 517-203-5011 | capcan.org
Readiness. Access. Retention. Empowerment