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Detroit Drives Degrees Announces Student Resource Partnership with DCAN and Launch of Detroit Reconnect

Race to the FAFSA Line & Student Support

In the wake of COVID-19, Detroit Drives Degrees has partnered with the Detroit College Access Network (DCAN) to virtually support students by conducting a series of college access webinars and one-on-one virtual advising to high-school seniors in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties. We currently have seventeen students in the pipeline or who have completed their advising sessions and had their financial aid and first-year experience questions answered. Our current advisors are alumni of the Michigan State College Advising Corps (MSUCAC) and the University of Michigan College Advising Corps (MCAC). Our first advisor, Kennisha Williams, has also been supporting our Race to the FAFSA Line Challenge since January.

The Chamber’s Detroit Drives Degrees initiative – in partnership with the Michigan Association of State Universities (MASU), Michigan College Access Network, DCAN, Emagine Entertainment, Oakland Schools, Wayne RESA, Macomb Intermediate School District and several local college access networks – wrapped up its fourth year of the Race to the FAFSA Line Challenge at the beginning of March. We want to congratulate all of our school partners on the front lines who collaborated to prioritize FAFSA completion and support students as they navigate their plans after high school. Together we assisted 8,996 students in FAFSA completion in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties during the Race to the FAFSA Line Challenge. That adds up to over $112 million in federal student aid that students will be able to secure to finance their post-graduation plans!

This year, the Race to the FAFSA Line competition engaged a select number of schools to participate in the first “Sprint to the Finish” cohort. Participating schools received special data updates and resources, as well as opportunities to have a temporary FAFSA advisor placed into their school for several weeks. Two participating schools to note are Roseville High School and Southeastern High School who hosted a FAFSA advisor for a month. Over this period, the advisor worked with the counseling team to conduct classroom presentations and provide one-on-one advising with students to complete the FAFSA and assist with education and career exploration when needed. We are proud to say that six of the eight schools that participated in the “Sprint to the Finish” cohort have exceeded last year’s number of FAFSAs completed.

Adult Learner Support

We are excited to announce the launch of Detroit Reconnect – a service to connect adults who have completed some college education or who would like to attend college for the first time. Through Detroit Reconnect, our navigator Michelle Cyrus helps adult students with college and career exploration, financial aid support, connections to community partners that help support families, and more. Michelle has helped dozens of prospective students and connected them to colleges in the Greater Metro-Detroit area to learn more about the steps to enroll or re-enroll.

One of the most sought-after forms of informational support needed by prospective students is assistance with the regional debt-forgiveness program and college-transfer planning. Interested adults can complete the Reconnector Inquiry Form and schedule a 15-minute appointment. A member from the Detroit Reconnect team will reach out to discuss their educational background and the next steps in their academic journey.

We have also partnered with DetroitEd411, a 24/7 service that utilizes artificial intelligence to assist returning students by answering questions about their educational journey. Powered through Facebook Messenger, DetroitEd411’s chat bot “Spirit” has information about everything from financial aid and housing to childcare resources.