Of the 83 counties in Michigan, Ionia and Montcalm Counties are 68th and 70th respectively in terms of producing students who go to college. As a result of this discouraging statistic and some insightful planning from the community, the Ionia and Montcalm Intermediate School Districts are hoping to change that. The two ISDs, in conjunction with several community partners, have been awarded a Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) matching grant for $50,000 to create the Montcalm Ionia College Access Network (MICAN).
MICAN’s goals include increasing both post-secondary enrollment and degree attainment, assisting residents with FAFSA forms, and training counselors in the new state web-based portal. To meet these goals, the funds will be used to assist students in Ionia and Montcalm counties explore college options, apply for schooling, and seek financing for post-secondary instruction. To that end, the grant money will be used to increase awareness through college visits, mentoring and informational events. A mobile unit will also be purchased and outfitted to travel around the two counties providing services.
MICAN is advised by a Steering Committee representing multiple constituencies within the two counties. This Steering Committee meets on the second Monday of each month and is responsible for monitoring progress toward MICAN goals.