Success story: Confidence for fall

March 8, 2023

College Edge logoWith significant state scholarships and even free tuition for more students than ever before, college has never been a better deal, and Michigan just sweetened it even more for students planning to start this fall.

Debuting this summer, College Edge hosted by NMC is the latest investment the state is making in its student-age population. It’s a free, five-week program to help prepare students starting college at any school this fall in the core subjects of math and English. They’ll also learn tips and tools like time management and studying smarter that will help right away. For completing the program, they’ll earn a $1,000 scholarship toward fall semester tuition.

Edge joins the scholarship programs Michigan Reconnect for adults 25 and older, and Michigan Achievement for the class of 2023, in accelerating the state toward its goal of 60 percent of adults having a skills certificate or degree by 2030. Edge, however, aims to give students a head start even before they officially enroll. It’s partially a response to the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, which shuttered schools three years ago this month, and continues to ripple through student lives.

“It’s intended to address learning loss related to Covid disruptions,” said Jenny Shanker of the Michigan Center for Student Success. “This is a recruitment tool for colleges to #1 help students build their skills to be more successful in their first semester of college.”

The high school class of 2023 will graduate with the pandemic affecting all four years of their secondary education. Studies have shown learning loss and student achievement declines since the pandemic began in March 2020. More broadly, college attendance statewide has dropped 10 percent in just five years, from 62.5 percent in 2017–18 to 52.8 percent last year. While the Grand Traverse region’s picture is better, from 64 percent attending in 2017–18 to 57 percent in 2021–22, it still reflects the downward trend.

Math and English courses were chosen for College Edge because success in those gateway classes is associated with better college completion rates, Shanker said. Now the key is to reach prospective students.

“(This is for) those 50 percent of students who might not be planning to go anywhere to let them know that college is a possibility for them,” she said. “They can build their skills and enter further ahead than they might have thought.”

College Edge offers students a choice of two five-week, Monday–Thursday sessions June 5–July 7 or July 10–Aug. 11. Breakfast, gas cards for transportation and access to a laptop are all included at no cost to the student. College Edge is open to any student starting any college this fall. Those who complete a session hosted by NMC, however, will be eligible for a $1,000 scholarship.

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