Blue Water College Access Network

St. Clair County's College Resource | October 2022

College Knowledge for EVERYONE

Welcome to your resource for planning, preparing, and going to college after high school. Blue Water College Access Network is here to provide information and opportunities that will ensure you graduate confidently prepared, with plans for career and college beyond high school. Whether you choose to go on to earn a bachelor's degree, an associate degree, or an industry credential, we can help you get there!

Each month, we will publish a newsletter to keep you on track, informed, and engaged in college activities provided by organizations across the county. To subscribe to the newsletter, submit your email address using this form. Past editions of the newsletter can be found at Contact Nick Beaudry with any questions you might have at

October is College Month

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Free College Application Information

Many Michigan universities and colleges offer free applications on a regular basis, but during College Month, several additional institutions waive their fees as well. Michigan College Access Network has compiled a guide to free Michigan college applications (below). MCAN also keeps a handy list of Michigan institutions so you can check out their specific updates such as financial aid and admissions at

Fall 2022 BWCAN Events and Resources

Careers in Manufacturing

Join us to learn about today’s high-skill, high-demand careers in manufacturing, skilled trades, robotics, and more. Take a tour of Magna International’s state-of-the-art facility at 1811 S. Range Road, St. Clair and hear directly from professionals working in these fields.


Senior Checklist

There are things high school seniors can do over the next several months to stay on track with their career and college plans for fall 2023.

How to College Crash Course Playlist: To College or Not To College?

Each month, we feature a video from the "How to College" series produced by the Study Hall Program, a partnership between Crash Course and Arizona State University. The Study Hall Program is in the process of publishing the 15-video series, and we will feature a video each month over the next 16 months.

In this month's video, How to Apply to College, Erica has some helpful ways to manage everything you need to keep track of, fill out, and even ways to save some money in fees.

Because there's a lot of information to keep track of when you're applying to college, Crash Course made an easy spreadsheet to help you compare schools, keep track of application requirements, and set your goals! Copy this free template and make it your own:

To preview upcoming topics, check out the episode guide.

From the Study Hall Program:

Dr. Erica Brozovsky (from PBS's Otherwords) hosts and breaks down how to apply for, succeed at, and graduate from college. We hope you'll join us for this journey and check out our all new Study Hall Channel where you can watch Fast Guides about college majors and even more series. Get a list of upcoming episodes for Fast Guides and How to College at

How to Apply to College | How to College | Crash Course


FAFSA is Open

2023-24 Free Application for Federal Student Aid

Michigan Priority Deadline: March 1

The 2023-24 FASA opened Oct. 1. Incoming and returning students can apply. The application will remain open until June 30, 2024, but Michigan students should complete the FAFSA before May 1, 2023, to get priority consideration for state-based scholarship programs. Financial aid deadlines at postsecondary institutions may be even earlier. Submitting the FAFSA is free and there is no income limit; please encourage all students to apply as soon as possible!

Learn more and complete the FAFSA →

Michigan Achievement Scholarship

In a press release, Governor Whitmer announced the Michigan Achievement Scholarship in October. Here is an excerpt from her announcement:

Michigan Achievement Scholarship

To make college more affordable for families, grow Michigan’s talent pool, and get the state closer to achieving its Sixty by 30 goal, the governor signed bipartisan legislation creating the Michigan Achievement Scholarship. This legislation builds on Governor Whitmer’s promise in 2019 to pass Michigan Reconnect and Michigan Opportunity Scholarships to reach the state’s Sixty by 30 goal of 60% of adults with a skill certificate or college degree by 2030.

Starting with the class of 2023, high school graduates will be eligible for more financial aid from the state, up to:

  • $2,750 if they attend a community college, per year
  • $5,500 if they attend a public university, per year
  • $4,000 if they attend a private college or university, per year

Students will be eligible if their family demonstrates financial need when they complete the FAFSA. The Michigan Achievement Scholarship will cover:

  • 94% of students attending community colleges
  • 76% of students attending a public university
  • 79% of students attending a private college or university

Want more information? Bridge Magazine published details about how to access the scholarship, beginning with the class of 2023. Read it here: and take the first step by getting started with the FAFSA.

Apply for Federal Student Loan Debt Relief

From Federal Student Aid

Eligibility for Debt Relief

What Is Federal Student Loan Debt Relief?

It’s a program that provides eligible borrowers with full or partial discharge of loans up to $20,000 to Federal Pell Grant recipients and up to $10,000 to non-Pell Grant recipients.

Who Qualifies?

  • Individuals who made less than $125,000 in 2021 or 2020
  • Families that made less than $250,000 in 2021 or 2020

If you filed federal taxes, your income requirements are based on your adjusted gross income (AGI), which tends to be lower than your total income. Your AGI can be found on line 11 of the IRS Form 1040.

How It Works

Apply today (but no later than Dec. 31, 2023). We’ll determine your eligibility and will contact you if we need more information. Your loan servicer will notify you when your relief has been processed.

Learn More About Student Loan Debt Relief

MI Future Educator Stipend

From MI Student Aid:

The MI Future Educator Stipend is a $9,600 stipend per semester to support Michigan’s hardworking student teachers as they continue their journey to being in the classroom full-time. This is a new program and the application is not open yet. Sign up to be the first to hear when the application becomes available. In the meantime, check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Eligibility Requirements:

To be eligible, the student must:

  • Be admitted in an eligible Educator Preparation Program (EPP).
  • Be working towards teacher certification.
  • Be participating full-time (or its equivalency if participating through an Alternative Certification Program) in required student teacher coursework.
  • Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).
  • Be in an unpaid student teaching position.
  • Not received the MI Future Educator Student Teacher Stipend before, unless your program specifically requires more than one semester of student teaching.

Up to $9,600 per semester to be paid towards allowable student teaching expenses (tuition, living expenses, childcare, etc.)

Additional Resources:

Frequently Asked Questions

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Grant helps put five TEC students through the Tri-Hospital EMT program

A partnership between St. Clair TEC and Tri-Hospital EMS is supporting five TEC students with the help of a grant from the Community Foundation of St. Clair County. Read about it here.
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Start Smart at SC4: Earn College Credits in High School

High school students in Michigan can save thousands of dollars by earning college credits at no cost to them through programs offered through their district and the state. Options at SC4 include dual enrollment, Blue Water Middle College, Career and Technical Middle College, and CL5. Learn more:
Start smart at SC4: Earn college credits in high school
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Prepare For Your Future With Plans - US

Counselor Corner

Each month, counselors can find current college and career counseling information and professional learning opportunities in the Counselor Corner section of the BWCAN newsletter. A running compilation of opportunities can also be found on the Counselors page at

MI Student Aid’s Counselors Corner Video Series

MI Student Aid’s Counselors Corner Video Series was created to provide High School Counselors with updates, reminders, and information in a quick and innovative format. The series is hosted by Emily Hurtado-Arboleda. View the most recent episode below.
2022-23 Counselor's Corner Episode 1
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MCAN responds to bipartisan approval of funding for Michigan Achievement Scholarship

MCAN applauds the Michigan Senate and House on their approval of funding for the Michigan Achievement Scholarship. On Wednesday, legislators passed the $560 million scholarship program, marking a historic investment in addressing the barrier of college affordability in Michigan. In its initial year, this increase will more than double the state's investment in student financial aid. Beginning with the class of 2023, high school graduates will be eligible for the following support at Michigan institutions:

  • Up to $2,750 per student per year at community colleges and tribal colleges
  • Up to $4,000 per student per year at private colleges or universities
  • Up to $5,500 per student per year at public universities
To be eligible for the Michigan Achievement Scholarship, a student's expected family contribution on the FAFSA must be less than $25,000. This will cover 94% of students attending community colleges and tribal colleges, 79% of students attending private colleges or universities, and 76% of students attending public universities. The scholarships will be a combination of first dollar and last dollar awards. The bill now awaits Gov. Whitmer's signature.

“Our state’s future depends on having a workforce that is ready for tomorrow’s jobs,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, MCAN executive director. “This historic investment will expand postsecondary access and lower barriers for students across Michigan — especially low-income students, first-generation college-going students, and students of color. By moving the state toward our shared Sixty by 30 goal, we can help build a brighter future for all Michiganders.”

Read Gov. Whitmer's press release →
View Senate Bill 842 →
Read Bridge Michigan's story →

MCAN Professional Development


Fall 2022 Admissions Updates

MCAN's Admissions Updates webinar series is underway. Representatives from postsecondary institutions will provide updates about their current admissions processes. The webinars will be recorded and available to earn SCECHs through Feb. 4.
Dates: Variable, though Nov. 3
Times: Variable

Learn more and register →


MCAN Annual Conference

MCAN's 11th annual conference, Doubling Down on Sixty by 30, is only a few weeks away! Register now to join educators, administrators, community leaders, policymakers, and other college access professionals from across the state. We'll discuss how to expand the scope of college attainment and completion efforts to build a better future for all Michiganders.
Dates: Nov. 9-10
Location: Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort, Mount Pleasant
Hotel promotional rate deadline: Oct. 18
Please note, once the discounted conference room block is sold out, lodging may still be available at the resort. Please inquire when making your reservation.
Conference registration deadline: Oct. 25

Learn more and register →


MCAN School Counselor Professional Development

MCAN is accepting registrations for its November College and Career Advising Mini-courses. The courses are facilitated by Michigan school counselors. Registration is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Registration deadline for November mini-courses: Oct. 23

Register →

Join the School Counselor Fellows

Applications are now open for the 2022 cohort of the School Counselor Fellows Program. Designed in partnership with San Diego State University's Center for Equity and Postsecondary Attainment, this program trains a select group of school counselors in advanced leadership and advocacy, specifically focused on postsecondary practices. The goal of this fellowship is to develop leadership and awareness of the counseling landscape in the state and country. Details and requirements are listed below. If you know a school counselor who would be a good candidate for this program, use this recommendation form and a member of MCAN's team will reach out to them.

Program Details

Participants in the fellowship will:

  • Review current issues in education regarding mental health and wellness and how it relates to the postsecondary education plan
  • Receive training in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) to embrace equity-driven leadership
  • Learn to use data-supported, evidence-based research to align the college-going culture in their community
  • Receive advocacy development and training with an opportunity to meet with state legislators during MCAN’s College Access Advocacy Day
  • Network with local organizations, such as MACAC
  • Attend in- and out-of-state conferences for further professional development on college access, leadership, and advocacy
  • Connect with previous fellows, as well as school counselors from the national fellowship


Selected fellows agree to:

  • Make a two-year fellowship commitment (year two is mentorship)
  • Attend quarterly, in-person School Counselor Fellows meetings beginning Nov. 8, 2022
  • Complete approximately three hours per month of assignments, readings, and reflections
  • Design and complete an advocacy project related to a college access or success issue
  • Provide feedback and recommendations for the fellowship process



Please reach out to Cheyenne Peters, strategy manager for high school innovation, with any questions about the program or the application process.

School Counselor Professional Development

In order to better meet the needs of Michigan's hard-working school counselors, MCAN is proud to announce some big changes to our school counselor professional development offerings. We believe school counselors are uniquely poised to lead the charge in ensuring students are socially, academically, logistically, and financially prepared for postsecondary education. With that in mind, we have provided college access-focused professional development for school counselors since 2013.

This fall, we will continue to offer our established Foundations of Equity in College Advising, co-hosted by MCAN and the Center for Equity and Postsecondary Attainment at San Diego State University. Additionally, we're introducing College and Career Advising Mini-courses, which are designed for school counselors who want to engage in college access work but who can't commit to a rigorous, semester-long course.

Registrants will need to decide between enrolling in the Foundations course OR the mini-courses. Check out the descriptions below to see which option would be the best fit for your schedule and interests.

Foundations of Equity in College Advising

The Foundations of Equity in College Advising course is designed for school counselors, college and career advisers, and other educators. In this course, participants will build upon their knowledge of equity-centered counseling and advising practices in their efforts to support student postsecondary exploration, planning, enrollment, and persistence. The fall 2022 Foundations of Equity in College Advising course will run Aug. 22–Dec. 12.

The Foundations of Equity in College Advising course is designed as a graduate-level course. Registrants should anticipate spending a total of 30 hours on this course over the span of the semester, which is reflected in the awarding of SCECHs. Five hours will be spent in the monthly meetings, and the remaining 25 hours will be spent doing independent, online coursework between meetings. This breaks down to about six hours a month.

Learn more →

College and Career Advising Mini-courses

College and Career Advising Mini-courses are a new training format MCAN is offering beginning fall 2022. From Exploring Postsecondary Match and Fit to Career Development for the 21st Century Workforce and The FAFSA Step by Step, each course allows participants to join a group of peers for online discussions, see best practices in action, gain knowledge, and access and create resources to incorporate immediately.

There will be two mini-courses offered per month. Each mini-course is four weeks long with a mandatory live virtual meeting every week. DO NOT register for a course if you will not be able to attend on the scheduled day and time. Each class is made up of four sessions with an estimated total workload of 16 hours, which is reflected in the awarding of SCECHs. Individual course details, including topic, meeting times, and SCECHs, are available at the link below.

Learn more →

Registration and Course Cost

These courses are open to all school counselors, college and career advisers, and educators. Registrants who secure a seat in any of our PD opportunities will receive a scholarship to access the course at no cost.

Register now →


Please contact Kiersten Nolan, strategy assistant for high school innovation, with questions about any of the professional development courses.

College Bound Michigan Registration Now Open

Registration is now open for the 2022-23 cycle of College Bound Michigan, MCAN's suite of initiatives designed to build and support college-going cultures in high schools and their surrounding communities. This program helps school counselors, college advisers, and other educators create systems and practices that connect all students with the opportunity for formal education beyond high school, including postsecondary certificates and academic degrees.

CBMI brings together all of the statewide initiatives — Michigan College Month, College Cash Campaign, and College Decision Day — into one campaign to help bring Michigan closer to Sixty by 30. Click the register button below to learn more and sign up. Current CBMI sites, be sure to register to ensure you are included as a host site for next year! Registration will remain open through the fall, but signing up now ensures timely delivery of resources and takes something off your summer/fall to-do list.

Why should my school sign up?

As a CBMI Host Site, you will have access to:

  • Exclusive grant opportunities
  • Promotional materials
  • Student-facing, grab-and-go resources
  • Counselor/adviser-facing toolkits and implementation guides
  • Professional development opportunities



Contact Kiersten Nolan, MCAN’s strategy assistant for high school innovation, with any questions about CBMI eligibility or programming at 517-316-1713 or

Contact Nick Beaudry, Supervisor of Career and College Programs, St. Clair County RESA

Blue Water College Access Network

For more college-going information, resources, and events, visit the BWCAN website.