The AdviseMI host site application process is closed for the 2024-25 school year.
The request for proposals will open again in October-November 2024 for schools interested in hosting an adviser for the 2025-26 school year. Potential host schools are encouraged to have a conversation with Jenny McArdle, director of service strategy, before the RFP opens to help you prepare for the application.
The 2024-25 Request for Proposals is available for review. This can be used to help schools draft their application, but actual applications are to be submitted online.
New 2024-25 Partners
- Howell High School
- More coming soon
High School Cost Share Requirement
Year 1: $10,000
Year 2: $12,500
Year 3 and beyond: $15,000
We’d love to have a conversation to explore with you if either AdviseMI or MSU College Advising Corps is the right fit for your school and your students. Contact Jenny McArdle, director of service strategy, at email@example.com or 517-896-1776.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why would my school benefit from an adviser?
MCAN is committed to Sixty by 30, and equitably increasing college access and success is at the heart of everything we do. We know that high schools are trusted places for students to be to connect with caring adults who are invested in their success. At the same time, school staff and administrators wear many hats, and do not always have the ability to have dedicated, individualized, consistent conversations with students about their postsecondary plans, especially students who face the most college-going barriers. AdviseMI college advisers are highly trained, energetic individuals who hyper-focus on supporting priority students (students from low-income backgrounds, students of color, and first-generation college-going students) to explore their postsecondary options, complete the college-going steps, and ultimately matriculate to college. By engaging full-time college advisers in their buildings, schools can help Michigan achieve Sixty by 30 by getting more students to college than would be going without this dedicated support.
What do college advisers do?
The role of the adviser is to support students in exploring and defining their post-secondary plans, and in doing so, help create or sustain a college-going culture in a high school. AdviseMI college advisers can only complete the activities that are outlined in the federally approved AmeriCorps position description. These activities are:
- Interact on a daily basis with high school students and families in the assigned high school to provide relevant information about postsecondary education and the college choice/financial aid processes, including submission of admissions and financial aid applications.
- Organize group events that encourage students and their families to consider, plan for, and apply to colleges and universities, including classroom presentations, campus visits, and workshops.
- Track adviser and student data on college-going metrics.
- Build and maintain expertise in college access, admission and financial aid advising.
While advisers can support all students in a building, the goal of the program is to get more students to college than would be going without the adviser’s support, so the adviser focuses their time and energy on a cohort of students who have the most college-going barriers. Advisers may not fill other staffing gaps in a school and be responsible for “other duties as assigned,” as this puts the program in violation of federal AmeriCorps policy.
What is meant by a priority cohort?
Data continues to show that certain groups have the most college-going barriers: students from low-income backgrounds, students of color, and first-generation college-going students. Advisers will work with their on-site supervisor at the school to identify approximately 50 students who fall into one of these categories to spend dedicated, consistent time. Participating in a classroom presentation or have one 1-1 conversation is not going to move these students from not thinking college is for them to believing they are college material. Their parents may not be the ones to show up for FAFSA nights if they don’t know what the FAFSA is. So in order to best support these students and convey the message that college is for everyone, the adviser will meet with these students regularly and provide continuous, individualized support to students and parents to help remove barriers and make college attainable.
How long do advisers serve?
The AdviseMI program year runs from the beginning of August through the middle of June annually, and this is considered one service year. Advisers will serve full-time during this period, meaning at least 40 hours per week and totaling at least 1,700 hours. Quality advisers are encouraged to sign on for a second year of service. Due to recruitment, some advisers may not start at the beginning of August, but there are additional start dates in September, October, and January.
How are college advisers paid?
For a full service year, advisers receive a living stipend of $30,000 pre-tax, which to our knowledge, is the highest living stipend of any AmeriCorps program in Michigan. This equates to roughly $17.65/hour. This is paid to them bi-weekly throughout the service term. Advisers who start after August are paid a pro-rated amount.
At the completion of their service term, advisers who end in good standing receive an AmeriCorps Education Award, which can be used to pay down student loans or continue their education, and is tied to the maximum amount of the Pell Grant. For advisers serving in 2023-24, the Ed Award amount will be $6,895.
Advisers also receive health coverage for themselves, student loans can be put into forbearance, interest accrued on those loans during the period of forbearance will be paid off on their behalf, and childcare benefits are available.
Schools may not provide additional cash support to the advisers. However, they may provide in-kind support like housing or rental assistance, meal plans or food gift cards, and transportation support or gas gift cards. This is not required but does support recruitment efforts.
Who supervises college advisers?
Advisers have a dual supervisory support system. AdviseMI partnership managers are in place to support advisers and their host sites in meeting the goals of the program, navigating the evolving college access landscape, and ensuring compliance. Each school host site assigns an individual on staff to be the on-site supervisor. This person works with the adviser on a daily basis to navigate the school and community landscape, collaborate with other school staff, and be the primary liaison between the program and the school. The site supervisor will approve adviser timesheets on a bi-weekly basis and participate in the adviser evaluation process. The site supervisor is expected to participate in the program’s annual Site Supervisor Convening. In most instances, the site supervisor is a school counselor. While there are some situations in which an administrator can be the supervisor, experience has shown that administrators are not always the best fit to provide the level of support that advisers may need. As advisers serve full-time in-person, the site supervisor must also be a full-time in-person staff person.
Who recruits and selects college advisers?
The program utilizes a dual recruitment strategy. MCAN employs a recruitment coordinator who is responsible for advertising the position, recruiting candidates, conducting initial screenings, and passing on quality candidates to schools to fill the 56 positions in the program throughout the state. We also rely on and require host site participation in the recruitment process. With very few exceptions, individuals are looking to serve close to home, so host sites are expected to share the position locally, including with alumni, staff, and the community, as the local reach is critical. MCAN provides recruitment materials and language to make this easy. Once a candidate goes through the MCAN screening process, we will set up an interview between the school, the program, and the candidate. MCAN provides the questions and will share the candidate materials to the school ahead of time. The school is expected to make the site supervisor and other relevant staff available for interviewing. Together, the school and the program decide on the best candidate, and MCAN proceeds with the hiring.
For AdviseMI, adviser candidates are prioritized if they are from one of our partner colleges. For MSUCAC, adviser candidates need to be either an alum of MSU or of the high school where they will be serving.
Can an adviser work with younger grades or only seniors?
The program metrics and what we are required to report on per our federal AmeriCorps grant,are all outputs and outcomes that are driven at the 12th grade level.
Outputs: college applications completed, FAFSAs completed, scholarship dollars secured, etc.
Outcomes: college acceptances
Therefore, it is essential that advisers spend the vast majority of their time supporting 12th graders and, in the spring, rising seniors. While advisers can do some work to build a college-going culture in younger grades, all of the students in the priority cohort but me 12th graders and the adviser must be spending their time helping students with the college-going steps to ultimately increase college acceptances.
How do advisers work with school counselors?
MCAN values school counselors, and we believe that full-time, trained school counselors are the gold standard support for students in this area. We also recognize that schools find themselves lacking the resources and talent pool to employ enough counselors to adequately serve all students, especially post-pandemic. AmeriCorps members, with quality training, can provide the appropriate and focused intervention, without supplanting these important staff members in a building. In most instances, the school counselor is the site supervisor for the adviser, meaning that they work extremely closely together to support students. In partner schools, counselors have come to rely on advisers as an important part of the student support team.
But don’t just take our word for it. Here is what a school counselor in Michigan says:
"We are on our fifth advisor at our high school [having been a partner with AdviseMI for several years]. I have a hard time seeing a time when our school culture does not have an MCAN Advisor at the school.”
AmeriCorps member are not allowed to replace or supplant school staff. Therefore, it is a requirement that high school who participate in the program maintain the counseling staffing they had at the time of their application. Reductions in counseling staff are a violation of terms of the program and will result in removal of the adviser.
Can advisers teach classes?
No, advisers are not teachers, and their role is not to teach classes or manage classrooms. However, they can help provide some content on postsecondary planning and they can do classroom presentations for classes where they can get in front of groups of students. But advisers cannot be expected to provide and deliver regular lesson plans, be the teacher of record, or sub in when a teacher is absent.
If your school is interested in incorporating a college and career readiness into your curriculum, not facilitated by the adviser, consider checking out MCAN’s college planning course, Your Future Matters.
Can advisers split their time between multiple high schools?
Schools with small senior class size are encouraged, though not required, to apply alongside a second school of equal or smaller class size that is geographically close so that they can share a single adviser. No more than two schools can share an adviser.
Why is there a high school cost share?
The full cost to AdviseMI/MSUCAC to place an adviser in a school for a year is between $45,000 - $50,000. This includes the member living stipend, benefits, all member training and professional development (including travel, food and lodging), employing staff to manage the program, providing a robust data system, and more. To sustain this, several entities contribute to the cost, including philanthropic partners, partner colleges, and the high school host sites. All of this funding is braided together to serve as match on the federal AmeriCorps funding that contributes to keeping program costs low. It is because federal AmeriCorps funding supports the program and the advisers that all adviser activities need to be in AmeriCorps compliance and program functions.
AdviseMI and MSUCAC have slightly different cost share requirements. For AdviseMI, the costs are $10,000 for year one, $12,500 for year two, and $15,000 for year three and beyond. For MSUCAC, there is a flat $15,000 for each year of participation.
A site supervisor in the program had this to say about the cost share:
“The $15,000 that our school district provides for the adviser is a drop in the bucket and well worth the investment for meeting our students' needs."
Does my school qualify?
AdviseMI/MSUCAC prioritizes serving in schools that have higher than state average FRL and lower than state average college-going rates. The program is in place to serve students that have historically been marginalized in the college process (students of color, students from low-income backgrounds, and students who would be first in their family to go to college). In some instances, we have partnered with large schools who, in general, have disqualifying data, but when the data is disaggregated, our priority students are being left behind. In these instances, the adviser does not take a whole-school approach but hyper-focuses on serving students in our priority populations. If you would like to talk more about your school’s eligibility, we’re happy to think through that together.
Who can be an AdviseMI college adviser?
Advisers do not come into the role with years of experience in college advising and student support. In many instances, they are recent (1-3 years out) college graduates who are relatively new professionals. In some instances, they are transitioning into this area from another career field or have taken time off professionally for education or familial commitments. Advisers bring with them an enthusiasm for learning new things and helping others, a dedication to equity, and experience of having navigated college themselves. All advisers are required to have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher, with preference given to advisers from our partner colleges. Advisers must be available to serve full-time, must be able to pass a federal background check, and must live within 45 minutes of the host site.
Can the adviser also do another role at our school?
No. Advisers may hold jobs in addition to being an adviser, as long as they still serve full-time as an adviser during the school-day schedule, but they are not allowed to be employed by the school/district at which they are serving as an adviser.
Can advisers serve remotely?
No. There are unique instances in which the program staff will work with advisers to approve service hours on evenings/weekends or during extended school breaks to ensure the adviser meets their required service hours, and we recognize that some out-of-school opportunities may be great ways to connect with families and the community. However, advisers may not have a remote schedule, as all service hours must be verifiable and success in the role is contingent on the adviser being available to students and families during appropriate times at the school. The program staff will work with the adviser and the school on setting a schedule, and any exceptions to the schedule need program pre-approval.