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Innovative Program Grants


Michigan College Access Network recognizes the great work of college access programs across the state to move Michigan closer to our goal of Sixty by 30 – to increase the percentage of Michigan residents with degrees or postsecondary certificates to 60 percent by the year 2030. While MCAN’s primary strategy to achieving Sixty by 30 remains the development and support of Local College Access Networks, MCAN will now also provide grant funding to direct service programs for innovative work in support of this goal. 


Funding and Administration 

Innovative Program Grants will fund programming that increases college readiness, enrollment, and completion in local communities and across the state through grants of up to $10,000. Grants require 50 percent match funding, of which 50 percent can be in-kind and at least 50 percent must be cash. For example, if an applicant requests $10,000, match funds of at least $5,000 must be provided. Of that $5,000, up to $2,500 may be matched by in-kind support. Innovative Program Grants are not intended to be renewable or long-term funding for a program. MCAN staff will work with grantees to design sustainability plans for programming, if desired.

Applying For Grant Funding

Proposals are only accepted using Michigan College Access Network’s online grants system, SurveyMonkey Apply. To apply for an Innovative Program Grant, click on  the "Apply Here" button above.

If you would like to review the online application components, you are welcome to review this document. You cannot submit the application using this PDF. This is only for review purposes.



Innovative Program Grants are available on a rolling basis until allocated funding is depleted within the fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1 annually. Please contact MCAN when considering an application for confirmation that funding is still available. No grants will be awarded between Sept. 1 and Sept. 30. Grants received during that time will be considered for funding after Oct. 1. 

Grant applications should be submitted with an expected implementation of no more than 12 months from award date. No-cost extensions may be considered on a case-by-case basis upon request of a grantee.

Local College Access Networks  

Preference will be given for applicants or programs that are connected to a Local College Access Network as a comprehensive approach to increasing postsecondary attainment within a community. This includes the work of action teams, network members, individual schools, etc. that operate within an LCAN. Other organizations and programs are also eligible to apply.  

This funding is not meant as a means of supporting network development. Please see MCAN’s LCAN-specific grant programs.


Contact and Application Assistance

You are encouraged to contact MCAN to inquire about eligibility and to request technical assistance. Please contact Jenny McArdle, director of service strategy, for assistance with your application or for help with the online application portal.  

Award Decisions 

MCAN staff will review proposals and provide written feedback. Final decisions regarding awards will be contingent upon the recommendations of the staff and available funds. MCAN is committed to reviewing grants and providing a response to applicants in 90 days or less. Please adjust your application schedule to accommodate this review timetable.


Example Awardees

El Centro Hispano de Oceana (The Oceana Hispanic Center)
El Centro Hispano de Oceana’s funded program consists of two parts: 1) intensive coordination with educational outreach personnel by providing materials specific to the needs of the Hispanic population (one example being translation of existing college access materials), and 2) contracting with existing school-based Migrant Outreach Workers to expand their services to include a focus on the value of a postsecondary education, leveraging existing relationships.


Grand Valley State University
This Innovative Program Grant helped fund the creation of a graduate assistantship placing a GVSU graduate student in a local high school to work alongside school counselors, teachers, and administrators to help students navigate the college-going process, improve postsecondary enrollment rates, and continue building a college-going culture in the school building. This program replicates the successful components of current MCAN sponsored college advising programs while leveraging local capacity and resources.


Washtenaw Futures
The Community Scholars Program is a new partnership of the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, Washtenaw Futures LCAN, and local two and four years higher education institutions. This program not only offers scholarships to first-generation college-going, low income, and/or minority students within Washtenaw County, but it pairs the scholarship with a Success Coach who provides academic and personal support for recipients. These Success Coaches maintain relationships with students regardless of the institution they attend, helping ensure they maintain their academic progress and financial aid eligibility and helping recipients find and navigate on-campus supports and resources. 


West Michigan College of Art and Technology
This Innovative Program Grant is supporting the expansion of the West Michigan College of Art and Technology’s Prep Year and Step Year programs. Prep Year engages local high school students with one-on-one college planning, family workshops, on-site admissions and financial aid counselors, and campus visits. The Step Year program combines work experience with classes at Grand Rapids Community College while apprentices receive support services, career exploration experiences, and skills development programs.