Regional College Access Initiatives

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According to the Detroit Regional Chamber’s State of Education Report, only 68% of the region’s graduates are enrolling into postsecondary education programs after graduating high school. We lose students at all stages of the pipeline, from financial aid (just over half of our students completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, in 2020), to key steps over the summer months that tend to trip up students. In fact, according to the National College Attainment Network, anywhere from 10-40% of college-intending high school graduates fail to show up to a postsecondary program in the fall following their high school graduation. Low-income students, students intending to enroll at community colleges, first-generation students, and students of color are among those most likely to be impacted.

To address this challenge and support students as they chart their paths beyond high school, the Detroit Regional Chamber Foundation, higher education, and community partners are facilitating a comprehensive college access strategy that supports students throughout every phase of the postsecondary process, building a strong talent pipeline. From FAFSA applications in the fall to summer supports following graduation, we will support thousands of the region’s students as they take a critical next step toward their future.

Summer Melt

Detroit Drives Degrees and the Detroit College Access Network are teaming up with school districts in the region to provide intensive advising to students over the summer months in an effort to combat summer melt, a situation in which a student applies for, gets accepted, and commits to a college but then ultimately does not show up in the fall. Every year, summer melt is a problem but this year, confusion and uncertainty caused by COVID-19 could make summer melt more prevalent than we’ve ever seen before. A recent poll of graduating seniors found that only 20% of respondents still plan to enroll in their first-choice school. D3 and our partners are working on initiatives to prevent students from experiencing summer melt and matriculating into college.

FAFSA Completion

Despite the hard work of school counselors and local college access networks last year, Michigan students left more than $206 million of federal aid on the table by not filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). According to the National College Access Network, high school graduates who complete FAFSA are 63% more likely to enroll in college.

Detroit Drives Degrees is providing several resources for schools, students, and families, including resources for Summer Melt and FAFSA completion. Check back often for updates as we are continually adding more resources to this site.

We welcome partners in college access to contribute to our series of presentations and suggest topics that help support a holistic college-going culture with our high school seniors. If you have any questions or suggestions, please reach out to Stephanie Iovan at siovan@detroitchamber.com.

For sponsorship information, please contact Jim Connarn at 313.596.0391 or jconnarn@detroitchamber.com.

Thank you to the Program Sponsors:

 

 

 

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