“Race to the FAFSA Line” Challenge Returns to Boost Federal Aid Going to Macomb, Oakland and Wayne County Students

Detroit, Mich. (Oct. 1, 2018) – Today, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual “Race to the FAFSA Line” challenge opened for school participation in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties. The Chamber’s Detroit Drives Degrees initiative promotes the challenge to encourage high school seniors to apply for college aid and increase the regional completion rate.

The Chamber began the challenge in 2016, but despite the hard work of school counselors and local college access networks, Southeast Michigan students left potentially $167 million of federal aid on the table by not filling out the FAFSA. According to the National College Access Network, high school graduates who complete FAFSA are 63 percent more likely to enroll in college.

Any school in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties is eligible to participate in the Challenge led by the Chamber’s Detroit Drives Degree’s initiative. The challenge is a collaborative effort involving the following partners: Detroit College Access Network (DCAN), Emagine Entertainment, Michigan Association of State Universities (MASU), Michigan College Access Network (MCAN), Oakland Schools, Wayne RESA, and several local college access networks. The challenge is supported by DTE Energy, Grand Valley State University Charter Schools Office, Independent Bank and University of Michigan-Dearborn.

The goal is to increase FAFSA completion among high school seniors in the tri-county region to 65 percent and encourage them to take the next step to postsecondary education. One grand prize winner will be awarded an all-day senior class party and the four additional winners will receive VIP movie screenings, courtesy of Emagine Entertainment.

New this year, schools that sign up will also be registered for the College Cash Campaign through MCAN, the statewide FAFSA challenge that provides additional prizes to schools with improved completion rates across the state.

Schools can sign up and learn more about Race to the FAFSA Line at: http://www.detroitchamber.com/race-to-the-fafsa-line/register/.

About Detroit Drives Degrees

Detroit Drives Degrees works to improve education attainment to increase economic prosperity and social mobility in the Detroit region. An initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Forward Detroit economic development strategy, it is dedicated to increasing access to college for the region’s students and adults currently without degrees, improving college graduation success, and retaining talent. The Leadership Council, formed through the initiative, mobilizes regional leaders in business, education, government and the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors to increase the postsecondary degree attainment rate in the region to 60 percent by 2030. To learn more, visit detroitdrivesdegrees.com.

 About the Detroit College Access Network

The Detroit College Access Network (DCAN) is the coordinating body of cross-sector leaders and organizations in Detroit working together to ensure all Detroit students have the opportunity to attend college. It is a network of organizations – bigger than any one program or initiative – leveraging a collective impact model to align and connect existing programs, schools, businesses and community resources to improve college enrollment and graduation rates for all Detroit students. DCAN’s mission is to increase postsecondary readiness, enrollment and attainment so that all students in Detroit can achieve their educational dreams. To learn more, visit detroitcan.org.

About Emagine Entertainment

Emagine Entertainment’s affiliates currently own and operate luxury theatres in Michigan, Illinois, and Minnesota.  Emagine operates theatres with a combined 24,500 seats and 208 screens. Later this summer, Emagine will open an 8-screen theatre in the Town of Lyons, Wisconsin.  Emagine has led the way in bringing luxury theatres to the metropolitan Detroit market.  Emagine enjoys the honor and distinction of being named “Best Movie Theatre” for several years running by the Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, and WDIV-TV 4 television.

About Michigan Association of State Universities

The Michigan Association of State Universities (MASU) serves as the coordinating board for Michigan’s 15 public universities, providing advocacy and fostering policy to maximize the collective value these institutions provide in serving the public interest and the state of Michigan. MASU recently launched a new website and marketing campaign to support FAFSA completion and college-going across the state, GetMIDegree.org.

About the Michigan College Access Network

As the leader in the state’s college access movement, the Michigan College Access Network’s mission is to increase Michigan’s college readiness, participation and completion rates, particularly among low-income, first-generation college-going students, and students of color. For the seventh year in a row, Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate has increased – from 35.7 percent of 25- to 64-year-olds possessing at least an associate degree in 2008, to 39.4 percent in 2016. Additionally, it is estimated another 4 percent of Michiganders have a high-quality certificate, bringing Michigan’s official attainment rate to 43.7 percent. It is MCAN’s goal to increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60 percent by the year 2025. For more information, visit micollegeaccess.org.

Macomb, Oakland and Wayne County Students Participating in FAFSA Challenge to Receive Nearly $54 Million in Student Aid

Detroit, Mich. (April 3, 2018) – More than 6,500 students in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties that participated in the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual “Race to the FAFSA Line” challenge will receive an estimated $53.5 million in funding from completing their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). For the second year, the Chamber’s Detroit Drives Degrees initiative held the challenge to encourage high school seniors to apply for college aid and increase the regional completion rate.

The Chamber launched the challenge last year, but despite the hard work of school counselors and local college access networks, Southeast Michigan students left potentially $167 million in federal aid on the table by not filling out the FAFSA. According to the National College Access Network, high school graduates who complete the FAFSA are 63 percent more likely to enroll in college.

The goal of the challenge is to increase FAFSA completion among high school seniors in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties to 65 percent and encourage them to take the next step to postsecondary education. The current completion rate for the three counties is 50 percent, and will increase through the open application period, which closes on June 30.

Sixty-five schools throughout Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties registered for the competition. The 2018 winners include:

  • Grand Prize Winner for Overall Most Improved FAFSA Completion: Frontier International Academy (Detroit) 45 percentage point improvement.
  • Most Improved FAFSA Completion for Medium Schools: Cesar Chavez Academy High School (Detroit) 31 percentage point improvement.
  • Most Improved FAFSA Completion for Large Schools: Fordson High School (Dearborn), 11 percentage point improvement.
  • Most Innovative FAFSA Completion Strategy: Voyageur College Preparatory High School (Detroit) 65 percent completion rate.
  • Highest Overall FAFSA Completion Rate: Trillium Academy (Taylor) 84 percent completion rate.

As grand prize winner, Frontier International Academy will be awarded an all-day senior class party and the four other winners will receive VIP movie screenings, courtesy of Emagine Entertainment.

The challenge was a collaborative effort involving the following partners: Detroit College Access Network (DCAN), Emagine Entertainment, Michigan College Access Network (MCAN), Oakland Schools, Wayne RESA, and several local college access networks. The challenge was supported by: Chemical Bank, the Detroit Pistons, DTE Energy, Grand Valley State University Charter Schools Office, Independent Bank, Kerkstra Precast and the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

 About Detroit Drives Degrees

Detroit Drives Degrees works to improve education attainment to increase economic prosperity and social mobility in the Detroit region. An initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Forward Detroit economic development strategy, it is dedicated to increasing access to college, improving college graduation success and retaining graduates. The Leadership Council, formed through the initiative, mobilizes regional leaders in business, education, government and the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors to increase the postsecondary degree attainment rate in the region to 60 percent by 2025. To learn more, visit detroitdrivesdegrees.com.

About Detroit Regional Chamber

Serving the business community for more than 100 years, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the oldest, largest and most respected chambers of commerce in the country. The Chamber’s mission of powering the economy for Southeast Michigan is carried out through economic development, education reform, regional collaboration and providing valuable benefits to members. For more information, please visit detroitchamber.com.

About the Detroit College Access Network

The Detroit College Access Network (DCAN) is the coordinating body of cross-sector leaders and organizations in Detroit working together to ensure all Detroit students have the opportunity to attend college. It is a network of organizations – bigger than any one program or initiative – leveraging a collective impact model to align and connect existing programs, schools, businesses and community resources to improve college enrollment and graduation rates for all Detroit students. DCAN’s mission is to increase postsecondary readiness, enrollment and attainment so that all students in Detroit can achieve their educational dreams. To learn more, visit detroitcan.org.

About Emagine Entertainment

Emagine Entertainment’s affiliates currently own and operate luxury theatres in Michigan, Illinois, and Minnesota.  Emagine operates theatres with a combined 24,500 seats and 208 screens. Later this summer, Emagine will open an 8-screen theatre in the Town of Lyons, Wisconsin.  Emagine has led the way in bringing luxury theatres to the metropolitan Detroit market.  Emagine enjoys the honor and distinction of being named “Best Movie Theatre” for several years running by the Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, and WDIV-TV 4 television.

About the Michigan College Access Network

As the leader in the state’s college access movement, the Michigan College Access Network’s mission is to increase Michigan’s college readiness, participation and completion rates, particularly among low-income, first-generation college-going students, and students of color. For the seventh year in a row, Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate has increased – from 35.7 percent of 25- to 64-year-olds possessing at least an associate degree in 2008, to 39.4 percent in 2016. Additionally, it is estimated another 4 percent of Michiganders have a high-quality certificate, bringing Michigan’s official attainment rate to 43.7 percent. It is MCAN’s goal to increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60 percent by the year 2025. For more information, visit micollegeaccess.org.

Macomb, Oakland and Wayne County Students Participating in FAFSA Challenge to Receive Nearly $54 Million in Student Aid

Detroit, Mich. (April 3, 2018) – More than 6,500 students in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties that participated in the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual “Race to the FAFSA Line” challenge will receive an estimated $53.5 million in funding from completing their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). For the second year, the Chamber’s Detroit Drives Degrees initiative held the challenge to encourage high school seniors to apply for college aid and increase the regional completion rate.

The Chamber launched the challenge last year, but despite the hard work of school counselors and local college access networks, Southeast Michigan students left potentially $167 million in federal aid on the table by not filling out the FAFSA. According to the National College Access Network, high school graduates who complete the FAFSA are 63 percent more likely to enroll in college.

The goal of the challenge is to increase FAFSA completion among high school seniors in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties to 65 percent and encourage them to take the next step to postsecondary education. The current completion rate for the three counties is 50 percent, and will increase through the open application period, which closes on June 30.

Sixty-five schools throughout Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties registered for the competition. The 2018 winners include:

  • Grand Prize Winner for Overall Most Improved FAFSA Completion: Frontier International Academy (Detroit) 45 percentage point improvement.
  • Most Improved FAFSA Completion for Medium Schools: Cesar Chavez Academy High School (Detroit) 31 percentage point improvement.
  • Most Improved FAFSA Completion for Large Schools: Fordson High School (Dearborn), 11 percentage point improvement.
  • Most Innovative FAFSA Completion Strategy: Voyageur College Preparatory High School (Detroit) 65 percent completion rate.
  • Highest Overall FAFSA Completion Rate: Trillium Academy (Taylor) 84 percent completion rate.

As grand prize winner, Frontier International Academy will be awarded an all-day senior class party and the four other winners will receive VIP movie screenings, courtesy of Emagine Entertainment.

The challenge was a collaborative effort involving the following partners: Detroit College Access Network (DCAN), Emagine Entertainment, Michigan College Access Network (MCAN), Oakland Schools, Wayne RESA, and several local college access networks. The challenge was supported by: Chemical Bank, the Detroit Pistons, DTE Energy, Grand Valley State University Charter Schools Office, Independent Bank, Kerkstra Precast and the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

 About Detroit Drives Degrees

Detroit Drives Degrees works to improve education attainment to increase economic prosperity and social mobility in the Detroit region. An initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Forward Detroit economic development strategy, it is dedicated to increasing access to college, improving college graduation success and retaining graduates. The Leadership Council, formed through the initiative, mobilizes regional leaders in business, education, government and the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors to increase the postsecondary degree attainment rate in the region to 60 percent by 2025. To learn more, visit detroitdrivesdegrees.com.

About Detroit Regional Chamber

Serving the business community for more than 100 years, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the oldest, largest and most respected chambers of commerce in the country. The Chamber’s mission of powering the economy for Southeast Michigan is carried out through economic development, education reform, regional collaboration and providing valuable benefits to members. For more information, please visit detroitchamber.com.

About the Detroit College Access Network

The Detroit College Access Network (DCAN) is the coordinating body of cross-sector leaders and organizations in Detroit working together to ensure all Detroit students have the opportunity to attend college. It is a network of organizations – bigger than any one program or initiative – leveraging a collective impact model to align and connect existing programs, schools, businesses and community resources to improve college enrollment and graduation rates for all Detroit students. DCAN’s mission is to increase postsecondary readiness, enrollment and attainment so that all students in Detroit can achieve their educational dreams. To learn more, visit detroitcan.org.

About Emagine Entertainment

Emagine Entertainment’s affiliates currently own and operate luxury theatres in Michigan, Illinois, and Minnesota.  Emagine operates theatres with a combined 24,500 seats and 208 screens. Later this summer, Emagine will open an 8-screen theatre in the Town of Lyons, Wisconsin.  Emagine has led the way in bringing luxury theatres to the metropolitan Detroit market.  Emagine enjoys the honor and distinction of being named “Best Movie Theatre” for several years running by the Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, and WDIV-TV 4 television.

About the Michigan College Access Network

As the leader in the state’s college access movement, the Michigan College Access Network’s mission is to increase Michigan’s college readiness, participation and completion rates, particularly among low-income, first-generation college-going students, and students of color. For the seventh year in a row, Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate has increased – from 35.7 percent of 25- to 64-year-olds possessing at least an associate degree in 2008, to 39.4 percent in 2016. Additionally, it is estimated another 4 percent of Michiganders have a high-quality certificate, bringing Michigan’s official attainment rate to 43.7 percent. It is MCAN’s goal to increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60 percent by the year 2025. For more information, visit micollegeaccess.org.

Forward Detroit Quarterly Results

January – March, 2017 

 
Between January and March, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Business Attraction team assisted in closing three deals, which created 97 jobs and brought in an investment of $4.8 million to the Detroit region. Learn more about the Chamber’s Business Attraction efforts.
Investor Blog_D3_4.17
During the last quarter, the Chamber’s Detroit Drives Degrees (D3) initiative wrapped up the Race to the FAFSA Line challenge for Southeast Michigan. Since the kickoff of this challenge in October, 16,467 students in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties have completed their FAFSA. These students extend from 85 schools that participated and five were awarded for their outstanding completion rates. Learn more about the Detroit Drives Degrees.
MICHauto, Michigan’s first-ever strategic initiative dedicated to promoting, retaining and growing the automotive and next-generation mobility industry is a program under the Chamber’s Forward Detroit strategy. During the last quarter, MICHauto held a Legislative Tour and Reception during the North American International Auto Show, educating 32 elected officials on the industry. In addition, MICHauto held a Discover Auto career series event that exposed 72 Oakland University students to automotive careers with the participation of 12 automotive suppliers. Learn more about MICHauto.

 

Read more about what the Forward Detroit initiatives accomplished:

Education Advocates: Reform, More Training Opportunities Needed to Sustain Detroit’s Momentum

 

Tech Startup Lessons from Israel: Entrepreneurs Thrive with Collaboration, Government Support

Business and Education Leaders: College Access Programs Are Launchpad for Region’s Economic Prosperity

 

Forward Detroit Quarterly Results

Quarterly Investor Results

Oct. to Dec. 2016 

Investor Blog_Business Attraction
The Detroit Regional Chamber’s Business Attraction team assisted in closing six deals in the Detroit region, which created 254 jobs and brought in $103,750,254 of investment. Learn more about the Chamber’s Business Attraction efforts.

 

Investor Blog_D3
The Chamber’s Detroit Drives Degrees (D3) initiative introduce the Race to the FAFSA Line challenge for Southeast Michigan. Since the kickoff of this challenge in October, the D3 initiative trained 170 high school counselors on the Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) completion and recruited 80 students leaders to encourage FAFSA completion in their schools. So far, 13,630 students in the region completed the FAFSA in that quarter. Learn more about the Detroit Drives Degrees.

Read more about what the Forward Detroit initiatives accomplished:

Taking a Data-Driven Approach to Increasing Graduation Rates for Low-Income, Minority Students

Detroit’s Next Opportunity: A Premier Destination for Health Care Innovation, Investment

Industrial Space, Talent Attraction Impacting Detroit’s Sustainable Growth

For Auto Industry, Attracting and Retaining Millennial Talent Requires an Inclusive Company Culture

 

For more information on Forward Detroit, contact Marnita Hamilton at 313.596.0310. To view a full list of investors and past Investor Exclusive content, visit our Investor Resources page. For more information on Business Attraction, contact Justin Robinson at 313.596.0352. For more information on Detroit Drives Degrees, contact Greg Handel at 313.596.0331.

Counselor Perspectives: Strategies for Boosting FAFSA Completion at Your School

By Keri Moorehead

To continue the momentum of the Detroit Drives Degrees “Race to the FAFSA Line” challenge, we decided to highlight approaches that counselors have taken to get their students excited about completing the FAFSA. Cass Technical High School, located in Detroit, has been remarkably successful since the challenge began in October. Currently, out of the school’s 556 seniors, 310 students have completed FAFSA (56 percent completion).

Cass Tech counselor Monica Jones underscores the importance of this work: “Completing the FAFSA is one of the big steps into the world of college for students,” she said.

Jones shared the following strategies to encourage FAFSA completion:

  • Counselors should visit classrooms to discuss the college application process with students.
  • Encourage the senior class to visit a career center. Cass Tech’s career center provides assistance for students who need help with the college application process.
  • Host a “senior scholarship lock-in,” where students spend time completing the FAFSA, as well as receive more information on various scholarship opportunities.

Cass Tech is a school that also stresses the importance of parent involvement, as many of its current students have parents who are alumni of Cass Tech. The parents are just as involved as the students,” said Jones.

“We want students and family to all be on the same page.”

19 minutes away, University High School Academy (UHSA), located in Lathrup Village, has seen similar successes during the competition. According to UHSA Dean Marcia Williams, 77 percent of UHSA seniors have completed their FAFSA.

“We are pleased with 77 percent of our seniors completing the FAFSA,” said Williams. “Of course we are aiming for 100 percent but this is a great accomplishment this early on.”

Like Cass Tech, UHSA is strongly involved with the parents of the students.

“We arranged a meeting with senior student families prior to the FAFSA window opening,” said Williams. “Our main goal was to make sure that parents and students were well informed about the college application process and FAFSA.”

Williams has also implemented an email that is sent weekly urging students to take the next step for their future and complete the FAFSA and college applications.

“We understand that students and families are busy around this time of the year,” said Williams. “Sometimes a simple email reminder can be extremely helpful.”

Each school has also used different forms of social media to encourage students to complete their FAFSA. Student ambassadors at both Cass Tech and UHSA use the app GroupMe, a mobile group messaging app, to remind their classmates about the competition.

We invite you to pass along your tips for increasing FAFSA completion, which we can share in future newsletters, by writing mdevelyn@detroitchamber.com. Thank you and good luck to you all.

$90 Million in Aid Left Behind by Michigan Students? FAFSA Challenge Can Help

Building on a key pillar of its Forward Detroit strategy to increase the number of adults in the region with postsecondary degrees, the Detroit Regional Chamber recently launched its “Race to the FAFSA Line” challenge. Through its Detroit Drives Degrees initiative, to date, the Chamber has signed up 66 schools in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties that have pledged to increase FAFSA applications in the coming year.

FAFSA completion is correlated to a 90 percent college attendance rate upon high school graduation. The challenge supports low-income and minority students in taking their next step to earning postsecondary education. Last year, only 52 percent of high school seniors in the region successfully filled out the FAFSA. The regional goal of the competition is to achieve 60 percent completion by the end of the year.

Emagine Entertainment Inc. will provide a grand prize of an all-night senior class party and other prizes to winning schools.

“We are thrilled to support the Chamber’s efforts to increase regional higher education attainment through the FAFSA competition. This addresses a significant problem for high school students aspiring to continue their education. Michigan students left over $90 million of federal aid on the table last year,” said Emagine CEO and Chamber board member Paul Glantz.

For more information on Detroit Drives Degrees, contact Melanie D’Evelyn at mdevelyn@detroitchamber.com.