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College Completion Corps coaches now at Bay College

ESCANABA — In December 2020, Bay College joined the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) to help first-generation, low-income, and/or students of color complete their degree or certificate. Now in its second year, this program has expanded to 40 College Completion Corps coaches across 31 schools due to the continued support of philanthropic partners, increased funding from AmeriCorps, and the Michigan Community Service Commission. Bay College is the home of two College Completion Corps coaches.

“We’re thankful for the opportunity to expand and improve this innovative program,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, MCAN executive director. “As Futures for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect are driving more Michigan residents to community colleges, it is crucial that these students get the support they need to achieve their educational goals and help us reach Sixty by 30.”

College Completion Corps coaches integrate into the campus support structure to help students connect with the resources they need. “Bay College is unique in that we offer a complete and wrap around support system for students through MCAN, faculty advisors, and student services.” says Jeremy Belanger, executive director of transfer and advising.

These past two years have been trying on students and community colleges nationwide. “The national community college enrollment rate average has dropped 21% in the past 2 years. At Bay, we continue to steadily increase our enrollment rate and this is heavily due to the support we provide students here.” states Belanger.

“Bay already has an advising model in place that’s proven successful for our students” says Jillena Rose, co-advisor and site supervisor of the completion coaches at Bay. “What we’re currently doing alongside the completion coaches is just another step in ensuring a student receives the support they need whether it’s academic, day-to-day life, or future career goals. It’s a more holistic approach.”

College completion corps coaches are assigned a 100-150 student cohort compared to an advisor who has upwards of 300 students. This means, these students receive double the amount of time from a dedicated coach on top of the support they receive from their co-advisor and in addition to their faculty advisor as well while at Bay.

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